John Bowlby on Attachment and Psychotherapy
by John Bowlby
In this rare 1984 lecture in London, John Bowlby, founder of Attachment Theory, presents his impactful ideas on the role of the early parent-child relationships in development across the lifespan.
John Bowlby understood the critical role of early child-caregiver attachment in the development of mental health and healthy relationships. Safety and security in that early relationship as opposed to fear and uncertainty, made the difference between emotionally healthy and unhealthy children, and the adults they would become.

Clinicians can become sidetracked by the client’s presenting problems. By expanding your clinical focus to include early and ongoing attachment bonds, you will deepen your understanding of pathology to assist your client in navigating relationships. By applying attachment principles to the psychotherapy relationship, your clients will deepen their self-understanding as well as their relational roles and expectations.  
In Depth
For John Bowlby, accessible, available and responsive parents raise securely attached children who grow into self-aware and trusting adults. Conversely, inattentive, self-focused and disengaged parents raise fearful children who become untrusting, self-doubting, and symptomatic. These early attachment relationships, whether positive or negative, form inner working models our clients use to evaluate themselves and others.

Responsive, consistent and reliable psychotherapists can provide clients with a secure, empathetic and reliable base, and from it, an emotionally corrective experience. From this secure base, clients will explore the role of early ties in current relationships, how they evaluate themselves and their worldview. The attachment-informed psychotherapist can also utilize the transference/countertransference relationship to deepen their ability to connect with their client and the client’s ability to connect with self and others.

Length of video: 1:22:43

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-580-7

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-580-9

John Bowlby, MD, was a British psychiatrist, psychologist and psychoanalyst whose early career experience with wartime children separated from their families influenced his foundational work in attachment theory. The impact of his teaching, writing and clinical work has helped clinicians integrate attachment theory into their therapeutic response as well as their client’s self-awareness and interpersonal ties. His seminal 3-volume series, “Attachment and Loss” (1969, 1973, 1980) has inspired generations of clinicians across disciplines working with children, adults and families.
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