1st Edition

Safety, Danger, and Protection in the Family and Community A Systemic and Attachment-Informed Approach

Edited By Szymon Chrząstowski, Arlene Vetere Copyright 2024
    254 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an analysis of the meaning of safety and security across the contexts of community and public life, throughout the life span, and within a therapeutic framework, examining threats and the strategies for coping with them.

    The book starts in Part I with a discussion of general safety and security concepts in the socio-cultural context. Part II of the book details the role of a sense of security in psychological assistance, psychotherapy and supervision, while Part III centres on safety and security at different life stages. Drawing on the tenets of modern attachment theory and trauma theory, chapter authors address questions of safety, danger, and protection for both individuals and groups, across a variety of fields of knowledge and expertise. Themes such as loneliness, play and exploration, evil and forgiveness, health and death, and spirituality and healing are discussed as practice examples, learning points, and tips.

    A wide range of health and social care professional practitioners will find this book useful in exploring social, interpersonal, and psychological aspects of safety and security.

    Part 1: Safety and security in the world

    1.       The need for safety and security

    Bibi van den Berg

    2.       Looking for a safe Self in a dangerous world. The place of psychotherapists: citizens - observers - beacons

    Barbara Józefik and Bogdan de Barbaro

    3.       When home becomes a threat. Polish experience of homo-, bi- and transphobia

    Daniel Bąk

    4.       Living with climate change and environmental crisis. Between climate anxiety and new collective narratives

    Magdalena Budziszewska

    5.       Ecocultural context of attachment security, sense of safety, and trust

    Katarzyna Lubiewska

    Part 2: Safety and security in the community context

    6.       “I am still scattered”: Attachment security and belonging after forced migration

    Lydia Guthrie

    7.       “We will keep you safe”: Reflections on caring relationships in children’s residential homes

    Laura Ogi, Andy Glossop and Olivia Polisano

    8.       Safety and danger in an intensive care context: Psychological and systemic approaches to staff support during the COVID-19 pandemic (and beyond)

    Jennifer Wallis

    9.       Safety and security in psychotherapy practice and supervision

    Arlene Vetere

    10.   Spirituality – A meaningful philosophy of life and a “lifeline” in times of crises

    Åse Holmberg and Per Jensen

    Part 3: Safety and security in a couple & family context

    11.   Caregiver Roles in Children’s Threat and Safety Learning: Neuroscientific Evidence and Real-World Implications

    Jordan L. Mullins and Kalina J. Michalska

    12.   ‘Beyond Sensitivity’: Understanding caregiving compromises in adverse contexts using the Meaning of the Child Interview

    Ben Grey

    13.   Safety in the home-school system with relation to autism: The SwiS approach

    Tara Vassallo, Rudi Dallos & Rebecca Stancer

    14.   ‘and nothing but the Truth’

    Chip Chimera

    15.   Second Phase Parenting: Attachment and parenting adult children

    Myrna Gower

    16.   Polyamorous relationships: Inspirations in the search for new ways of understanding safety and security 

    Szymon Chrząstowski

    17.   Dying, death and bereavement

    Jo Wilson


    Szymon Chrząstowski, PhD, is a lecturer at Warsaw University and has an independent psychotherapy practice. He specialises in attachment narrative therapy and his research focuses on safety/security as an everyday experience. He resides in Poland and Portugal.

    Arlene Vetere, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and systemic psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. She is Professor Emeritus of family therapy and systemic practice at VID Specialized University, Oslo, Norway. She resides in the UK.

    'The texts in this book are both touching and enlightening. We comprehend through this volume how our basic needs for security and safety are intertwined with culture, politics and the influence of anthropocentrism on nature. We zoom in from the global level to the community, and then to family relations. The foresight and the courage of editors and authors must be highlighted. I wish this book a wide readership as it is an extremely rich and precious compendium for further thinking and acting.' 

    Maria Borcsa, PhD, Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen, Germany. Past President of the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA).  

    'The times they are a-changin", Bob Dylan sang.  We live in a world of unprecedented adversity and unpredictability at a global scale. This book compels psychotherapists to think, reflect and act in adversity (climate changes, migration, pandemics, war) across different contexts (global, community, and couple-family). To face this challenge, one must navigate safety and security, as proposed by the Editors. Arlene and Simon guide us through a most wonderful voyage in a systemic-attachment ship where some authors share ideas to fight people’s vulnerability. An inspirational, useful, and respectful expedition.'

    Ana Paula Relvas, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

    'We live in a world with a  desperate need to understand and ameliorate dangers at every level of human life. This fascinating book is rooted in the extensive experience of Arlene Vetere in family violence and the shared base with her co-editor Szymon Chrząstowski in attachment narrative therapy. It coordinates the rich experience of its diverse authors in progressive contexts of the world, the community and the family. The book offers a sophisticated and carefully coordinated understanding of the wide ramifications and considerations of safety and security at each level of context. This structure will equip readers to understand the sources of danger at each level and to know what resources are available or could be mobilised for people and communities.'

    Peter Stratton, Emeritus Professor of Family Therapy, Leeds, UK.