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| All Comments |
NP0008 The Great Attachment Debate
NP0008, Attachment, Session 4, David Schnarch
I appreciated the clear and intriguing presentation by Dr. Schnarch. As an attachmented based therapist I do have to disagree with a couple of his basic premises. Attachment based therapy does have space for dealing with "disgusting" behaviors. Disgusting and traumatizing behaviors are rampant in families with Disorganized Attachment systems, and these patterns of interacting then become programed into the brain, and become generational. There is always the presence of attachment. Attachment Theory is not based on the abssence of something. It is based on understanding the type of attachment system, and seeking to change it. In the process, people might need to be confronted, but the concept of trust and security helps people do this, it doesn't hinder it or rule it out. I take strong issue with the statement that Attachment Theory is not based on science. It certainly is, as Dan Siegel and others explains eloquently. Attachment Theory talks about developing autonomy which can also be referred to as differientation. Attachment science proves that autonomy or differientation grows out of appropriate dependency, and if one has never had appropriate dependency, or a secure enough attachment figure, they do need to have the experience to grow their own autonomy. Development cannot skip steps. One cannot shock or push someone into having something they have not already developed, and science shows that it is the dependency that leads to autonomy or a strong sense of self.
It seems that Dr. Scharch is acutally supporting secure attachment when he is encouraging people to be in touch with themselves and to be true to themselves--in other words don't discount your sense of yourself (or betray yourself) to please your partner. To have a strong sense of self is attachment based. Dr. Siegel talks about mindfulness being one tool which can repair one's insecure attachment--and thus strengthen one's relationship with one's self.
Being attuned to another in relationship (to use attachment languate) is not about coddling, or interferring with differentiation. It's about knowing when to welcome and be close, and to encourage being on one's own.
In my humble opinion, it seems that Dr. Scharch misrepresents some of the basic assumptions of attachment based therapy.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity to hear Dr. Scharch's viewpoint, and I appreciate the Networker for providing the forum for this attachment debate.
Christine Walker, LCSW
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