This book combines attachment theory and research with clinical experience to provide practitioners with tools for engaging with individuals who are indifferent, avoidant, highly defensive, and who struggle to make and maintain intimate connections with others. Composed of four papers presented at a Wimbledon Guild conference in 2017, this text examines the origins of avoidant attachment patterns in early life, describes research tools that offer a more refined understanding of this insecure attachment pattern, explores the internal object worlds of "dismissing" adults, and considers the impact on couple relationships when one or both partners avoid intimacy or dependency.
Each chapter contains case studies with children and families, adolescents, adults and couples that acknowledge the challenges of engaging with these "shut down" individuals, with authors sharing what they have learned from their patients about what is needed for effective psychotherapy. It is an accessible book full of clinical richness and insight and will be invaluable to practitioners who are interested in deepening their understanding and clinical skills from an attachment perspective.
"These clinically rich and empathic studies of those depending on the cold comforts afforded by dismissing attachment to protect them against the fear of social engagement provide vivid insights into the predicament they face, especially when they find themselves on the threshold of therapy. Engaging the reader with this often hard-to-reach group they offer a valuable theoretical and practical resource for those helping them come out of the cold."
Christopher Clulow, PhD, Senior Fellow, the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London.
"Although many people inflict horrific cruelty upon their partners, the vast majority cause pain as a result of emotional unavailability, fuelled by avoidant attachment structures. In this superb book, Linda Cundy provides us with four remarkable master classes in the understanding of this often invisible, yet devastating, form of interpersonal interaction. Drawing upon extensive clinical experience and empirical research, the authors offer us a truly comprehensive textbook which will enlighten all of our clinical practices."
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow at Tavistock Relationships, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Child Mental Health, London, Consultant in Psychology at The Bowlby Centre, Trustee of the Freud Museum London
Introduction Maggie Turp 1. Avoiding Avoidance: Neglecting Emotional Neglect And Deactivated Relationship Styles Graham Music 2. Not Trying to Avoid the Bridge: Avoidant Attachment From Research to Clinical Practice Andrea Oskis 3. Avoidant People in Relationships: Why Would They Bother? How do Partners Fare? Anne Power 4. Masters in the Art of Defence: Shame and Defences Against Intimacy Linda Cundy