Adult Attachment and Couple Psychotherapy: The 'Secure Base' by Christopher Clulow

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By Christopher Clulow

Grownup Attachment and Couple Psychotherapy brings learn and perform views to endure at the grownup couple courting, and gives a framework for assessing and dealing with safe and insecure partnerships. The booklet makes use of shiny illustrations from scientific and neighborhood paintings and provides stimulating interpreting for all these keen on this box who desire to re-assess their types of perform.

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Additional info for Adult Attachment and Couple Psychotherapy: The 'Secure Base' in Practice and Research

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If and when such security and comfort are available, the individual is able to move off from the secure base provided by the partner, with the confidence to engage in other activities’ (Ainsworth, 1991: 38). Attachment relationships are distinguished from other adult relationships as those that provide feelings of security and a sense of belonging, without which there is loneliness and restlessness. This is in contrast to relationships that provide guidance or companionship, sexual gratification, opportunities to feel needed or to share common interests or experiences, feelings of competence, alliance and assistance (Ainsworth, 1985, 1991; Weiss, 1974, 1982).

In this system, the child becomes an extension of the parent as well as an object for alleviating the parent’s own distress. When the parent is inconsistently responsive the child has the experience that sometimes its needs are met, whereas at other times they are either rejected or ignored. Thus the child learns to Patterns of relating in the couple 23 exaggerate and intensify the bid for help in order to elicit a response from the parent. The child may also become hyper-vigilant about the presence of the attachment figure and feel chronically deprived.

Couples in which the partners have a capacity to tolerate such anxieties in themselves and in each other – in which each can express dependency needs and tolerate the other’s dependency – can be described as secure. There is, of course, much more to say about a psychoanalytic understanding of these dynamics, and about the notion of complex couple attachment. All we mean to do with these introductory observations is to suggest how research and therapy can work towards a satisfying and constructive marriage Patterns of relating in the couple 27 between frames of reference which are often felt to be antithetical.

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