This book is written primarily for psychotherapists and other practitioners; it describes a new and effective form of dynamic therapy designed for working with adults and with adolescents. The theory, on which the new form of therapy is based, is centred in a paradigm that extends and crucially alters the paradigm for developmental psychology opened by the Bowlby/Ainsworth attachment theory. It describes a pre-programmed process, the dynamics sustaining attachment and interest sharing, which is activated as soon as people perceive that they are in danger. This process is made up of seven pre-programmed systems which interact with one another as an integrated whole. They include Bowlby's two complementary goal-corrected behavioral systems: attachment (also referred to as careseeking) and caregiving. Whenever the process is able to function effectively, it enables people to adapt more constructively and co-operatively to changing circumstances.
The process is essentially interpersonal. It only functions effectively when one person in a dyad or a critical mass in a group (which can be as small as two persons or occasionally one) has the capacity to act in a manner that demonstrates mature Caregiving, while engaging in “play” with others, as Winnicott has defined the activity. He considered “play” as a key aspect of effective therapy. The components of the process that are the most active in enabling Winnicottian play to be enjoyed with one or a small group of others are the systems for interest sharing between peers in its exploratory form and the Caregiving system.
The book shows how the process functions by including diagrams which show the order in which systems are assumed to become motivational, or have their motivation overridden (especially the system for interest sharing with one’s peers in the exploratory form), after a person has perceived that he or she is in danger; and how through the mediation of effective Caregiving, a person’s capacity to enjoy exploratory interest sharing and affectional sexuality with his or her peers can be restored.
All aspects of the process are communicated between people through information transmitted by means of the emotive non-verbal signals of body language, which are usually, but not always, accompanied by speech. The kind of emotive non-verbal signals sent during therapy between therapist and client demonstrate whether the interactive process is functioning effectively or not. The way the process functions during therapy can be demonstrated and studied from records or split-screen photographs accompanied by aural records or therapeutic sessions.
"This book should appeal to a very wide audience. All of us seek to understand one another and in doing so we all draw on a kind of biological insight into what behaviour ‘means’. Watching children from another culture and with another language we understand instinctively much of what their behaviour is about. This is a book that draws systematically on watching people and thinking about behaviour in a biological way. It is both thoughtful and fascinating. It is surely a foundation on which others will want to build."
- Ian Sinclair, OBE, Professor Emeritus , University of York
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
FOREWORD: Ian Sinclair
PART I: THE THEORETICAL BACKGROUND FOR AN AUTONOMOUS SELF THAT IS IMMERSED IN THE DYNAMICS OF ATTACHMENT AND INTEREST SHARING
1) Introducing a new attachment paradigm
2) How the self communicates: the emotive nonverbal signals of body language and interactions between people
3) Introducing a new conceptualization of the self: the autonomous self immersed in the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing
4) The defensive self
5) The careseeking self
6) The caregiving self
7) The exploratory interest sharing self
8) The sexual self
9) Diagrammatic representations of the interplay between the systems with interpersonal goals and the danger/fear system following a threat to wellbeing
10) The self under threat and alone: supported or unsupported by the sixth and seventh systems
PART II: THERAPY GUIDED BY THE NEW ATTACHMENT PARADIGM
11) Transition from theory to practice: the principles underlying exploratory therapy
12) Effective and ineffective caregiving: analysis of patterns of interaction
13) Working with an individual adult client with a focus on her defensive identity
14) The structure and composition of exploratory group psychotherapy for professional caregivers
15) Exploratory group psychotherapy: the task of the facilitator
16) Exploratory group psychotherapy: personal and professional applications
APPENDIX 1: Bowlby’s contributions to attachment theory
APPENDIX 2: How the concept of security became part of attachment theory
APPENDIX 3: The strange situation test
APPENDIX 4: The evolution and importance of the Adult Attachment Investigation (the AAI)
APPENDIX 5: Comparisons and contrasts between Lichtenberg’s motivational systems and Heard and Lake’s goal corrected systems