Countdown to Connection - Attachment Theory...Decoding the Dance

Attachment Theory… Decoding the Dance

by William Bumberry, PhD 

There are moments when those of us in the “helping professions” need a little help ourselves.  As clinicians, we’re invited into the inner chamber of the deepest, most profound of human emotions.  We not only give witness to but also participate in the dance of couples most intense, powerful, relationship shaping experiences.  In our presence and with our assistance, couples strive to find a path that’s life-giving not life-depleting.

 The opportunity to participate in their most intimate moments is a privilege.  We’re honored to be in the arena with them.  But with privilege comes responsibility. It’s our role to not only be present but to also bring a perspective, a “knowing”, an understanding of the drama of human relationships that offers them hope and provides direction.  We need to be able to experience their swirling, roiling, painful dance and help them begin to see another way.  To do so we need both a compassionate heart and a map that allows us to make sense of their struggle.  We need to be able to see pattern in the midst of chaos.

 Attachment theory, given birth by John Bowlby and elevated by luminaries such as Mary Ainsworth, Mary Mane, Sue Johnson, Dan Siegeland a cadre of others, might just be the most powerful, parsimonious map we have to truly understanding both “the struggle within and the struggle between” distressed couples.  Attachment theory is an elegant, comprehensive, ever-evolving model of human connection.  It offers us a simple, yet powerful way of watching the couples struggle … then guiding them to the safe harbor of one another’s embrace.

 Attachment theory is a map, a model of core human needs and the music we all move to.  It reveals the dance and decodes the struggle from the perspective of need and longing, rather than pathology and dysfunction.  This is the one map you need in your back pocket as you settle in for an hour with a distressed couple. 

 This framework will allow you to see what was previously invisible.   Viewing couples’ interactions through the lens of “attachment significance” … what their words and actions say to each other about, “how you feel about me”, deciphers their dance.  We suddenly see it.  We get it.  What once seemed incomprehensible or reactive now makes sense. 

 Creating Connections is the perfect place to get the newest app of this map.  Throughout this event you’ll be updated about cutting edge research and innovative clinical interventions that are emerging from this model.  You’ll learn how to understand and work with couples more effectively. 

 This event represents the new wave of what professional conferences need to be … up-to-date, innovative and interactive.  Join us for a stimulating experience with  the leading clinicians and researchers in the field of Attachment theory.  Be there as they present their latest research findings and newest clinical ideas.  The focus will be on blending theory with practice and using research to guide clinical work.

 Join us in Washington and become a better therapist.