Exploring in Security : Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy book cover
1st Edition

Exploring in Security
Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

ISBN 9780415554152
Published December 3, 2009 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

Winner of the 2010 Goethe Award for Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Scholarship!

This book builds a key clinical bridge between attachment theory and psychoanalysis, deploying Holmes' unique capacity to weld empirical evidence, psychoanalytic theory and consulting room experience into a coherent and convincing whole.  Starting from the theory–practice gap in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the book demonstrates how attachment theory can help practitioners better understand what they intuitively do in the consulting room, how this benefits clients, and informs evidence-based practice.

Divided into two sections, theory and practice, Exploring in Security discusses the concept of mentalising and considers three components of effective therapy – the therapeutic relationship, meaning making and change promotion – from both attachment and psychoanalytic perspectives. The second part of the book applies attachment theory to a number of clinical situations including:

  • working with borderline clients
  • suicide and deliberate self-harm
  • sex and sexuality
  • dreams
  • ending therapy.

Throughout the book theoretical discussion is vividly illustrated with clinical material, personal experience and examples from literature and film, making this an accessible yet authoritative text for psychotherapy practitioners at all levels, including psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses and counsellors.

Table of Contents

Part I: Principles. Assuming. Mentalising. Attaching. Meaning. Changing. Empowering. Repairing. Poetising. Part II: Practice. Sex and Loving. 'Borderlining'. Suicide and Self-harming. Dreaming. Ending. Epilogue.

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Jeremy Holmes is a Psychiatrist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, UK.  He has published prolifically in the field of Attachment Theory and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Now retired from the NHS, he co-runs the postgraduate degree and qualifying course in psychodynamic psychotherapy at Exeter University, and has a small private practice. In 2009 he received the prestigious Bowlby-Ainsworth Award for his contributions to the field of attachment.


"This is a stunning book, a tour de force. Both a brilliant scholar with an extraordinary reach, and a wise and deeply humane clinician, Holmes is unique in his ability to truly integrate the diverse voices of psychoanalysis and attachment research using the prism of the clinical process. This book is extraordinary for its complexity as well as its simplicity, because, finally, it is about the work of psychotherapy, which Holmes embraces in the most lively compassionate, and loving way. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again." Arietta Slade, Professor of Clinical and Developmental Psychology, The City College and City University of New York, USA.

"This is an outstanding book. Jeremy Holmes, like an artisan weaving the weft and warp of a fine tapestry, eloquently interlaces attachment, psychoanalysis, and clinical practice, to create a convincing and accessible picture of the principles and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Long a leader in the field of psychotherapy, he draws on his broad knowledge of the literature, combining it with exemplary clinical understanding to show psychotherapy not only as an integration of both art and science but also as an effective method to help people in distress. For the practitioner this book is full of practice-orientated suggestions to be used in the consulting room; for the academically-inclined there is no shortage of discussion about the intrinsic psychological processes of therapy."  Prof Anthony W Bateman Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London.

"The richness of this book lies in the way that Holmes uses and reflects on a diverse range of theory... Holmes does not take one theoretical perspective and build from this but rather interweaves and critically engages with analytic theorists in relations to his attachment based concepts. His aim, which he certainly fulfils, is to go not just beyond a conversation about theory but to develop a framework of psychoanalysis within the therapeutic community and build and develop both theory, and perhaps more importantly, practice in relation to therapeutic work."Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 55, 2010

"Exploring in Security concentrates on clinical uses of attachment theory within individual psychotherapy. Like its predecessors, it rarely disappoints... As he writes about these clinical lessons, what he offers is rich, complex and balanced in ways that soften conceptions of new or old." - Chris Mace, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 197, 2010