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Kahr, B. (2015). John Bowlby as a Secure Base: Attachment Practitioners in Search of Common Ground. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(2):117-120.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(2):117-120

John Bowlby as a Secure Base: Attachment Practitioners in Search of Common Ground

Brett Kahr

Earlier today, I checked my e-mails.

Amid the flurry, I received quite a wide range of advertisements, requests, and postings. An organisation in the United States of America invited me to train on-line in the newly emerging field of “disaster mental health”. A local British institution offered me a discounted rate to become an emotionally-focused psychotherapist. A Scandinavian colleague on a List-Serve asked for a recommendation for a systemic family therapist in Oslo. Another colleague requested the name of a good Texas-based relationally-orientated psychoanalyst who specialises in the treatment of child sexual abuse. A journal in China offered me the opportunity to submit any article that I might have written related to any aspect of psychology whatsoever, irrespective of topic.

I suspect that this potted survey of some recent e-mails offers only a tiny glimmer into the profusion of different theoretical orientations, specialisms, and modalities which characterise the contemporary mental health field. In a charitable state of mind, one might regard this smattering of practices as evidence of the rich diversity of contemporary psychotherapy. But in a more sceptical frame of mind, it seems to me that such a barrage of variegated e-mails indicates first and foremost that we inhabit a deeply fragmented profession, bedevilled by too many sects, too many divisions, too many so-called “core” trainings, and too many accents.

Those of us who have become drawn to the field of attachment theory might believe ourselves to be immune from all of the infighting and splintering for which the mental health profession has become renowned. After all, anyone reading this journal will, in all likelihood, have developed a deep appreciation of the basic tenets of attachment-based psychology, and especially its fundamental premise that early caregiver-infant interactions shape and mould our mental health, our relational health, and even our physical health in later life.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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