Attachment Centered Therapy Manchester, London and Guildford
I am Charley Shults and I have been practicing counselling and psychotherapy since 1987. I provide:
Addiction Counselling Manchester
Relationship Counselling Manchester
Family Therapy Manchester
Attachment Centred Therapy Manchester
I provide these at Hampden House Psychotherapy Centre in Manchester as well as 10 Harley Street in London.
Healing The Broken Bond:Is a book that I am working on and I will be posting regular excerpts from the book online. Further below is the next next installment from Chapter 1.
Since you are here, you probably have an interest in attachment and what it is about. There are 3 basic strategies, A, B, and C, that, in broad terms, determine how you relate to those closest to you.
A’s tend to deny their own needs and feelings and are pre-occupied with meeting the needs of others. They rely primarily on facts in processing information, to the exclusion of emotional information, particularly negative emotions.
C’s tend to dismiss the needs and feelings of others and are pre-occupied with their own. They rely primarily on their own emotional state in processing information.
B’s use a balance of both facts and feelings in processing information about relationships.
I have created 3 sayings, one for each category, that are designed to help them to reprogram, except for the B’s who don’t really need much help and rarely show up in a therapy office.
For A’s: Logically, it makes sense to be more emotional.
For C’s: Emotionally, it feels good to be more logical.
For B’s: I am comfortable using both facts and feelings in making choices in relationships.
Attachment Centered Therapy Manchester and London:
As a part of my work with individuals, couples and families I provide
Relationship Counselling Manchester
Addiction Counselling Manchester
Family Therapy Manchester
as well as providing these services in London.
These are offered either separately or as an integral part of Attachment Centred Therapy, since I find that difficulties in these areas almost always spring from attachment difficulties. I also find that this work has a global effect, so that those clients who do this work experience changes in all areas of their life's functioning.
Relationship Counselling Manchester and London: Over decades of working with clients, and training in many areas of specialisation, I am convinced that the problems that most people present in therapy settings grow out of difficulties in their attachment relationships. These attachment experiences determine how we relate to other people in our lives, particularly those most close to us, and also how we deal with the difficulties that life presents us. I believe that by correcting these difficulties with attachment people are enabled to make the changes that they want to make and do the things that they know they need to do. My experience tells me that this is so.
Family Therapy Manchester and London: I also use an attachment based approach for working with families. Family work can be done with an entire family, or with different configurations of people from the family.
Addiction Counselling Manchester and London: I believe that most addictive disorders are due to attachment difficulties that result in unmet needs and feelings not being dealt with in an effective manner. The addictive disordered behavior develops because it is a vain attempt to meet unmet needs. While the addictive behavior provides the illusion of making things better by making the negative feelings that come from unmet needs go away, this is only temporary and so those unmet needs come back stronger than before, often leading to an escalation of the addictive behavior.
Attachment difficulties lead to other common problems, such as:
My practice for Attachment Centered Therapy, Addiction Counselling, and Relationship Counselling is in Manchester and London. My Manchester practice is within easy reach of Cheshire. I also have offices available in London, Harley Street.
Thank you for the work you are doing for me and for Isabella*. To my surprise she has told me about her "compulsive self reliance" and even read to me some data from the website you have kindly advised to look at.... I see this... as a big step forward in her life for which I am grateful to you. We are so lucky to have a professional person like you!
Sent from my iPad
Healing the Broken Bond: how attachment difficulties creates problems and what to do about it.
The Past, Experience
The Pat Crittenden System
It was when I encountered the study that I mentioned previously, the one where an A grandmother with an A daughter has an A grandchild, and so on, that I threw up my hands in desperation, figuratively speaking, and decided that just reading the research on my own was not going to get me where I wanted to be, and that was to be able to understand attachment in depth. Not the theory of attachment – that is easy enough to understand – but rather the practicality application of it to people. It now seemed patently obvious to me that the assumption on which Mary Main had predicated her research were wrong, and if so then the subsequent trend of her work and the development of her system, would also be profoundly wrong. That would explain why subsequent research based on these assumptions went astray and no longer made sense.
Even though I have very little scientific training, I have had legal training, and in the law the emphasis is on making the theory fit the facts, and not the other way round. And it seemed perfectly obvious that Mary Main had created a theory and then made the facts fit it, thus her system broke down as it was pushed further. Because a good theory ought to be able to predict outcomes, and if it doesn’t, then you’d better rethink the theory.
How, one might ask, could a prominent (and one could add well-funded) researcher make such a fundamental and egregious error? I suppose the dread ‘researcher bias’ or confirmation bias creeps in, unintended and uninvited by the researcher. I don’t know. I wasn’t there and it is pointless for me to speculate. It seems that she could just as easily have taken the other course. However, if you would like to read an interesting book about a hard science researcher and the vagaries of academic research and publication, then read Candace Pert’s, Molecules of Emotion. You may also want to read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions which is a fascinating study of how things change in science, and both books give insight into the entrenched nature of ideas as positions that are fought for and against by those who have something to win or lose in the struggle. I can think of other areas of research where the same fundamental errors have been made, but back to attachment.
I began to look for a training course where I could learn more about attachment in general and specifically about the AAI. My idea for using attachment as a part of treatment strategy and intervention had begun at least as early as 2003. I am sure of that date because I remember the office that I was in when I began the intentional and obvious use of attachment theory in my clinical practice. Simply explaining the theory to clients was beneficial. One client said, ‘Wow, you’ve just explained my whole life to me,’ and another said, ‘Oh, you mean I’ve become attached to my drug of choice instead of to a person.’ Actually, I meant no such thing. I was just explaining the theory. The client fitted it to his facts. I thought that it was a good sign of progress that he could see it that way. And it also meant that simply explaining the process, and the theory, had helped them both to think about their problems in a whole new way.
Not long after, I attended a conference and was recruited to help start a treatment centre in England. I was intrigued by the idea of helping to start a treatment centre and I was encouraged enough by this limited success to be excited by the idea of using attachment ideas in the designing of the two components of the treatment program for which I would be responsible: the family week program and the Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect week. I was also ready to get the hell out of Alabama for reasons best summarized by the saga of Governor Bob Reilly’s failed attempt to reform Alabama’s feudal taxation and governmental system, of which you can read elsewhere if you desire. I also asked my friends and family if they thought it would be a good idea, and they all thought so without exception. Then I realized: they were trying to get rid of me! Just kidding.
Unfortunately, this had limited success from a treatment program perspective, because I failed to get the managers of the treatment program on board for what they considered to be an idea that had not been tried and tested elsewhere previously. What they wanted to do was copy what had already been done, and what I wanted to do was something that had never been done anywhere, so far as I knew. I would still like to have a shot at a treatment centre approach based on an Attachment Centred Therapy basis.
After my two-year contract with the treatment centre was ended I concentrated on my private practice. I had already started a private practice at my home in Guildford, Surrey, and had a fair number of clients and I had been using in my practice the information that I was gaining from my research. I had been very fortunate in my private practice establishment in Birmingham, Alabama, having gone from start to full time in 6 months, and I was fortunate in being able to do that again in England, starting in my home in Guildford, and eventually adding a Harley Street, London, office as well in order to meet the needs of a growing clientele.
In the two years that I had been at the treatment centre, I had learned a great deal about attachment through self-study, and one of the things I had done was a presentation, in 2006, at the annual conference of the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals Association in San Francisco. As a result of that research into the literature, I had found a limited number of papers that dealt with the AAI and gave some information about it: enough that I felt confident in being able to go beyond merely explaining the theory to actually using it in a practical way to help determine, and also change, the attachment strategies of my clients. Although today I look at the initial stages of explaining the theory to clients as the equivalent to telling them about the idea of space flight, and the phase that I was entering into now as building a rocket in one’s garage and then taking it to a field somewhere and blasting it off, it was a start: enough to convince me even further of the rightness of the approach. The launch was successful, and now the phase I am in is actually being part of a team that blasts off a manned vehicle into orbital flight. Although my early information was sketchy, it was enough to get me started and to my very pleasant surprise to actually help my clients to achieve their goals, which usually had to do with being able to achieve successful attachment relationships in their lives.
I was fortunate in my clients who sought me out either through referrals from other clients or from my website, in that several of them were young women, in their late twenties or early thirties, who were tired of dead end relationships and wanted to find something fulfilling, that would last, and that would meet their needs. Lo and behold in the first few years of using this system I found that they were getting better and were achieving their goals. I think a couple of factors went into that success: women generally value long-term, satisfying attachments more than men do, especially in the younger, child-bearing years; and the younger the age the easier to reorganize in the direction of security, or the B3 position. Please bear in mind that reorganizing toward B3 moves the person in the direction, more and more, even though they may not be there yet.
In addition to my own homegrown system, I had also read Jeremy Holmes’ book, The Search for the Secure Base, in which he propounded his home grown system, the BABI. I found the first three chapters very interesting, but then he became more and more psychoanalytical in his orientation and I lost interest toward the end, until I came to the very end where he had the BABI, the Brief Attachment Based Inventory. To his credit, he gave it a unique name, and I thought the name he came up with to be a clever one, as one could pronounce it as ‘baby’, and having to do with attachment I thought it was cleverly appropriate. Unfortunately, it was a dud for me.
The BABI reworked the AAI, using many similar questions to those on the AAI. I gave it a try. I quickly realized that it would not work. The intention of the BABI is to give it to the client in written format and then have them answer the questions in writing. But you can’t do an attachment assessment that way. I won’t bother to explain why right now, suffice it to say that the questions have to be answered on the spot, spontaneously, otherwise you will not get what you need to assess attachment strategies. If you want to know why, take Pat’s training. She will tell you. Otherwise, just take my word for it. That is one of the reasons why you will not find the AAI in this book, nor do I think the questions on it should be widely available. The questions need to take the interviewee by surprise. The other is: that is not the purpose of this book. But back to my quest to learn about the AAI.
After encountering the obvious anomaly of the research study purporting to prove that A grandmothers produced A mothers who produced A children, I knew that I needed to find help in understanding attachment theory, and also practice, if there was one, but so far as I could tell there wasn’t. More importantly, it would really be helpful to get training in administering and interpreting the AAI. I began to look around at what was available. I knew Mary Main’s name, of course, from all of the research articles and also the writings about the evolution of attachment theory. But there were two problems there. First, she was in California, and I was in England, and it is a long way there and back and also the training takes weeks to complete. That wasn’t terribly daunting as I had already travelled to California for many weeks of training in NLP, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, and Time Line Therapy, and also to Oregon for a couple of weeks training with John and Julie Gottman, but that was from Alabama, not England.
The second problem was that Mary Main was the lady who had concluded, before she had done any formal research, as to the A to A to A progression that I have already spoken of, which both my personal and clinical experience told me was incorrect. Still, I wanted to get the training.
In the meantime, as I pondered whether to go to California for training with Mary Main or not, I had also come across someone else’s name, not as prominently, and not feted by others as was Mary Main, but nevertheless someone who had contributed significantly to the attachment literature and who had also studied with and been a protégé of Mary Ainsworth, and that lady was, and is, Pat Crittenden. In my internet searching I came across her website offering training in attachment and the AAI, and so I gave her a call. Two things attracted me to her instead of Mary Main, and those were that first of all Miami, Florida is a lot closer to England than is California, and second her information on her website said, or at least implied – I don’t remember the exact wording – that her training and her approach, which was based on the Dynamic Maturational Model of attachment, or the DMM, was much more clinically useful than the standard ABC+D model.
I took the bait, called and spoke to Pat, and she hooked me, reeled me in, and landed me, not all at once, but in the process. First she explained something of what I have already shared with you in the previous section about the Mary Main model. There were only two categories for the majority of the clinical population that visits therapists’ offices, social service agencies and so on, and those, as already shared, are ‘disorganized’ and ‘cannot classify.’ Two as opposed to the 6 categories of A in the DMM clinical population, 6 categories of C, AC and the A/C (which is not strictly speaking a distinct category but can be made up of various combinations) for a total of 14 different categories, without even considering the potential myriad combinations of classifications available in the DMM and even more variability when you start adding the modifiers such as depressed, etc.
Then came the clincher, the trainings were available in Europe. And England is much closer to Europe than it is to the USA, so I, being ever the pragmatist and focusing on what works rather than on some theory or idea or other, was leaning heavily in the direction of training with Pat Crittenden. Then came the even better clincher, she was offering the first week of the course, which was not properly training in the AAI but rather what at the time she called her ‘Attachment and Psychopathology’ course in Brighton, which is just a hop, skip and a jump down the road from Guildford. I signed up for the course which I took in 2007, but unfortunately the training in the AAI would not be available in Europe until 2009. But that was okay. After all, the training would be in Italy, in a small Italian town or village called Reggio Amelia, and imagine what an ordeal that was: the main entertainment being sitting around in the plaza in the evening after a meal of delicious Italian food, drinking delicious Italian wine, and talking with colleagues on the training course, clinicians from all over the world, who were fast becoming friends.
I completed all three weeks of training in the DMM version of the AAI, plus two additional weeks of advanced clinical training. Those were 6 day weeks with lots of homework. Plus, attending a weekend planning session in Florence for the development of an attachment treatment model by the Family Relations Institute. While I was happy to contribute to that effort, I also continued to develop my own model of treatment, which I am calling Attachment Centred Therapy, or ACT, presented in part two of this book, The Present: The Here and Now.