Attachment-based therapy is a process-oriented and brief form of psychological counseling. The client-therapist relationship is founded upon trust and centers on expressing emotions. An attachment-based approach to therapy take into consideration the connection between an infant’s early attachment experiences with primary caregivers (like parents) and the infant’s ability to develop and form healthy emotional and physical relationships as grown-ups. Attachment-based therapy attempts to build or rebuild a trusting, supportive relationship that will act as a shield for anxiety or depression.
What to expect?
The aim of ABFT is to repair the family relationship, the therapist works with the individual adolescent client alone, and separately with the family as a group. The therapist works with individual adults, aiming to help the client overcome the effects of negative early attachment issues by establishing a secure bond between the client and the therapist, he/she works with the family to build and strengthen the parent-child bond and help the child to develop into an independent, self-sufficient adult. Upon solidification of this relationship, the therapist proceeds to help the client interact openly, exploring and better understanding how their current feelings and behaviors are rooted to earlier experiences. Attachment-based therapy is not unproven, unconventional, and potentially harmful treatments referred to as "attachment therapy" that involve physical manipulation, deprivation, restraint, boot camp–like activities, or physical discomfort of any kind.
How It Works?
Attachment-based therapy was conceived in the works of British psychologist John Bowlby from the 1960s , who first opined that strong early attachment to at least one primary caregiver is necessary and a mandate for children to have a sense of security and the supportive foundation they need to freely interact with their environment, to learn from new experiences, to explore, and to connect with others.
In absence of a healthy foundation, babies might develop to be fearful, confused, and insecure, gradually leading to depression, even suicidal as adolescents. When trusting relationship with parental figures or with the therapist is established, the client is better predisposed to form strong bonds in other relationships. Attachment-based therapy may be used alongside with other forms of therapy.
When It's Used?
An attachment-based approach can be used for an individual, in a family, couple, and group therapy, with both children and adults, to assist clients mend and/or recover from poor family relationships. Children in foster care, adoptees, children of depressed mothers, and victims of trauma, such as children who have been sexually abused or children of divorce or otherwise mistreated, specifically at the hands of a caregiver finds extreme benefit from attachment-based therapy. Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) has also been found to be helpful in treating adolescents who are depressed and/or thinking about suicide.
Role of an Attachment-Based Therapist
An eligible attachment-based therapist is a clinical psychologist training in an attachment-based treatment approach and field experience, with a RCI licence to pursue practice in India. The therapist facilitates the session through rapport building and aims at establishing transference to ensure betterment of client.
Dozier M. Attachment-based treatment for vulnerable children. Attachment & Human Development. 2003; 5(3): 253-257.
Cicchetti D, Toth SL and Rogosch FA. The efficacy of toddler-parent psychotherapy to increase attachment security in offspring of depressed mothers. Attachment & Human Development. 1999; 1(1): 34-66. Published online 2 June 2006.
Daniel S. Adult attachment patterns and individual psychotherapy: a review. Clinical Psychology Review. December 2006; 26(8): 968-984.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Adult Attachment Relationships.