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White, K. (2008). Routes to Relationality: An Attachment Theory Perspective. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 2(2):vii-x.

(2008). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 2(2):vii-x


Routes to Relationality: An Attachment Theory Perspective

Kate White

Since our inception in 1989, what is now the Centre for Attachment-based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CAPP) has had its own particular theoretical integration, which drew selectively from those writers who had emphasized the role of the external world in shaping our sense of personal identity. They included Ferenczi, Fromm, Horney, Winnicott, and Alice Miller. This was combined with the growing trauma literature: for example, Judith Herman and Bessel van der Kolk. There was the child development literature and the work of Dan Stern on the development of intersubjectivity, and feminist writers exemplified in the work of Susie Orbach and Luise Eichenbaum. John Southgate, a central figure in the founding of CAPP, always held the view that there was a radical psychoanalysis to which we were entitled to belong, hence our provocative title in those days, The Institute for Self Analysis, a reference to Freud's own self analysis in his correspondence with Fleiss. We were also very involved in the recognition of the extent of childhood sexual abuse and allied ourselves with the emerging survivor groups and the self-help movement of that time. To this was added the study of attachment theory, which we felt brought a clear, distinct, and researched account of human development and the centrality of relationship.

We had thoroughly studied and were using attachment theory as a guiding framework to our clinical work at CAPP. The centrality of understanding our clients' difficulties as arising from trauma and misattunements in early attachment relationships, separations, loss, and mourning were key components to informing our work. We had Bowlby's later writings on clinical practice to refer to, and his humane and sensitive approach to often complex and challenging therapeutic relationships.

A patient's way of construing his relationship with his therapist is not determined solely by the patient's history; it is determined no less by the way the therapist treats him. Thus the therapist must strive always to be aware of the nature of his own contribution to the relationship which amongst other influences, is likely to reflect in one way or another what he experienced himself during his own childhood. (Bowlby, 1988, p.

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