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Anxiously Attached: Understanding and Working with Preoccupied Attachment

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Author: Linda Cundy (Editor)

Publisher: Karnac Books

Published: 11th Aug 2017

ISBN: 9781782205197

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Anxiously attached individuals feel chronically insecure and their relationships are often intense, angry, and enmeshed. In the spectrum of anxious attachment, some people tip into states of acute rumination following specific life events, while an extreme manifestation may be thought of as “borderline borderline” – inescapable brooding, raging, and inability to separate. Preoccupied clients can be difficult to work with, and these therapies often feel stuck or end badly.

Anxiously Attached contains four papers presented at a conference in February 2016. They address the origins of anxious attachment in specific features of parent-infant relationships, findings from research about developmental aspects, typical features, concerns, and defences in adults, and how these may be presented in psychotherapy. Enmeshed dynamics in adult relationships, including the therapeutic relationship, are also highlighted, where threat of separation and loss activate intense attachment seeking.

The aim is to increase understanding of preoccupied clients from an attachment perspective, to recognise the nature of their anxieties and resistances, and propose specific skills for therapeutic work.

Contributors are Dr Amanda Jones (parent-infant psychotherapist), Dr Steve Farnfield (attachment researcher and child therapist), Linda Cundy (attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist) and Anne Power (attachment-based psychotherapist with individuals and couples). Dr Maggie Turp provides the Introduction.

REVIEWS

This delightful book is reminiscent of a perfectly balanced Haydn quartet: clear, lively, and original. Exchanging ideas about a new–found harmony of psychoanalytic practice and attachment research, each performer reveals profound emotional and clinical depths. Therapists of all ages will resonate and learn from this little gem.’
—Professor Jeremy Holmes, University of Exeter, UK

‘A fascinating, rich and surprisingly rare array of thinking about the therapeutic implications of working with ambivalent attachment styles. This book is full of clinical wisdom and is a very helpful bridge between the science of attachment theory and direct work with a very challenging clinical group.’
— Graham Music, Consultant Child Psychotherapist and former Associate Clinical Director at the Tavistock Clinic in London