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McCluskey, U. Gunn, J. (2015). The Dynamics of Caregiving: Why are Professional Caregivers Vulnerable to Anxiety and Burnout, and How Do We Support Their Well-Being?. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(2):188-200.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(2):188-200

The Dynamics of Caregiving: Why are Professional Caregivers Vulnerable to Anxiety and Burnout, and How Do We Support Their Well-Being?

Una McCluskey, DPhil. and James Gunn

This paper considers the effect of early attachment patterns that affect the work dynamics of those who train and work as professional caregivers, such as psychologists, social workers, nurses, doctors, counsellors, psychotherapists, and others. The roots of these processes are explored from early attachment experiences. It addresses the issue of defensive caregiving as an assuagement of unmet early care-seeking needs and the implications of this for interprofessional cooperation, exhaustion, or restoration. It highlights the complexity of the dynamics of caregiving and makes a case for a new paradigm and set of skills to sustain this demanding work for the well-being of both practitioners and those they support. It challenges old habits and is an invitation to refocus and reframe how such work impacts and might be enabled with a different approach.

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