Attachment, Interest Sharing and the personally created External Environment
A one-day workshop with Dr Una McCluskey
London, 4 February 2017 (Saturday)
Attachment Theory, as interpreted by Dorothy Heard and Brian Lake, and operationalised and researched by Dr Una McCluskey, explains a dynamic connection between the original attachment systems identified by Bowlby - careseeking and caregiving - and the biological systems of self-defence, sexuality, interests and the personally created external environment.
At this practical workshop, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists, and counsellors, Dr Una McCluskey draws on her internationally recognised, attachment-based therapeutic models to address the often neglected areas of interests, interest-sharing with peers and the personally created external environment (our home, its location and organisation). Most of our time as therapists is taken up with a person’s internal environment and the impact of earlier experience on current relationships at home and in the workplace. However, we can sometimes fail to address a person’s interests or the absence of interests in their lives or indeed pay any attention to whether the home that they have created for themselves is supportive or unsupportive of their wellbeing.
The workshop offers us an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the Theory of Attachment-Based Exploratory Interest Sharing (TABEIS) and the concepts of Goal-Corrected Empathic Attunement (GCEA). Through illustrative video vignettes and case examples, the workshop highlights how we can effectively utilise vitality affects instead of theoretical interpretations and how the implications of TABEIS can find effective use in our therapeutic interactions.
About the speaker
Dr Una McCluskey is a part-time Senior Research Fellow at the University of York and a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (UKCP). Best known for her extensive research in the field of empathic attunement in adult psychotherapy, Dr McCluskey introduced the concept that the ‘offer to treat’ arouses the dynamics of attachment in both the careseeker and the caregiver. This concept forms part of the emerging therapeutic model called ‘Exploratory Goal-Corrected Psychotherapy’, (EGCP). She has published numerous articles in the field of couple, family and group psychotherapy and is the author of: To be Met as a Person: The Dynamics of Attachment in Therapeutic Encounters, Karnac Books, 2005, and Attachment Therapy for Adolescents and Adults: Theory and Practice Post Bowlby, Karnac Books, 2009 (co-authored with Dorothy Heard and Brain Lake).
Dr McCluskey regularly speaks at a number of international conferences, including the American Group Psychotherapy Conference. In June 2014, she gave a keynote address at the International Conference on Dementia, ‘Risky Business’ in Sydney. She was presented with the VIDA Award by the Group Psychotherapy Association of Southern California in appreciation and recognition of her contribution to the field of psychotherapy.
10:00AM: Session 1: Theory of Attachment-Based Exploratory Interest Sharing (TABEIS) – an introduction
In the first session, we comprehend how the core self-other relations for our clients are dependent on:
- Affect attunement
- Assuagement and
And how these factors have an inherent interplay with Attachment dynamics. We look at:
- Video vignettes that illustrate the direct relationship between careseeking, self-defence and interest sharing
to understand the vitality affect associated with interest sharing. We get to grips with these concepts through reflective exercises and group work, so that we comprehend the implications for our clinical practices.
11:30AM: Coffee Break
11:45AM: Session 2: Understanding the biologically-based goal-corrected system
Our discussion in the second session then examines how goal-corrected empathic attunement is the key process for enabling a shift in vitality states (which can be applied in therapeutic interactions as alternatives to a reliance on interpretations). Keeping Attachment tenets in mind, we examine how typical care-giving and care-seeking approaches can be recognised as patterns of interactions which can help us address non attunement-dysregulation. We also identify how three of these patterns are effective for therapy while six are ineffective, with a view to focussing on the key effective pattern of goal-corrected empathic attunement (GCEA).
In this session, we look at video vignettes as illustrations of how these concepts can be applied in therapy.
1:00PM: Lunch Break (a light lunch is provided as part of the seminar)
2:00PM: Session 3: Creating a personally supportive external environment
The dynamics of attachment consist of several goal-corrected systems. These are careseeking, caregiving, sexuality, exploratory, interest sharing with peers, the personal system for self-defence, the internal supportive or unsupportive environments and the personally created external supportive environment (home/lifestyle). The Theory of Attachment-Based Exploratory Interest Sharing (TABEIS) suggests that these systems work together as a single process to contribute to and maintain maximum wellbeing.
Equipped with our understanding of Attachment patterns as they relate to GCEA, we learn in this session how TABEIS can be incorporated and developed in our work with clients.
3:15PM: Coffee Break
3:30PM: Session 4: Plenary
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