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Attachment Related Fear and Psychotherapy: Developing Heard and Lake’s Theory of Attachment Based Exploratory Interest Sharing

Winter, Patrick Arnold (2014) Attachment Related Fear and Psychotherapy: Developing Heard and Lake’s Theory of Attachment Based Exploratory Interest Sharing. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This qualitative study uses Stile’s theory building method to explore the nature and influence of attachment-related fear within a therapeutic setting. Its starting point is the Theory of Attachment Based Exploratory Interest Sharing; an attachment focused approach to adult psychotherapy developed by Heard, Lake and McCluskey (2009/2012). To critique this approach, the study draws on literature linking attachment theory, complex systems, psychotherapy and shame. Eight case studies were drawn from analysis of transcripts taken from seventeen sessions (fifty hours) of two experiential groups. These groups were the principal focus of two training courses attended by professional caregivers (mostly counsellors and psychotherapists) who met at monthly intervals with a facilitator using McCluskey’s approach to group facilitation. Their aim had been to explore their own attachment experiences and apply their learning to personal and professional development. The method of group facilitation places Heard and Lake’s (1997; Heard et al., 2009/2012) model of attachment at its core; creating an analogue of the therapeutic encounter in dyadic exchanges between facilitator and each group member. The study aims to develop Heard and Lake’s theory so that it reflects findings about the link between attachment-related fear and other critical factors (principally shame, defensive exclusion and attachment styles). Findings: Attunement is a complex two-way process in which the client sometimes adapts to regulate the facilitator; theory can also serve to regulate the group facilitator, obscuring occasions when the ‘client’ is adapting to the needs of the ‘therapist’; attachment-related fear is frequently linked to shame, therefore, regulating fear requires a way to recognise and regulate shame. The study recommends changing the model of facilitation so that attunement within the groups is not dependent on one individual. Although the study begins with Heard and Lake’s theory, its findings are relevant to other therapeutic approaches and helping professions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: attachment-related fear; behavioural system, affect-regulation, attunement, exploration, attachment styles, pride, shame, intersubjectivity, therapeutic change, theory
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.659055
Depositing User: Dr Patrick Arnold Winter
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2015 11:17
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9385

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