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Purser, G.S. (2015). The Work Goes on …. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(3):xiii-xiv.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(3):xiii-xiv

The Work Goes on …

Gülcan Sutton Purser

John Bowlby would be so pleased to see that attachment theory is being applied and incorporated into so many different areas and is so widely used to solve many important issues.

In the preface to Exploring in Security, Jeremy Holmes writes: “The task of therapy is both to explore insecurity, its origins and ramifications, and to provide a space where a person can explore in security” (Holmes, 2010, p. ix).

In this contribution to our group editorial, I would like to look at how I evolved as an attachment based psychotherapist since my training at The Bowlby Centre, and what it took to be authentic and more relational.

When I completed my training, I was told by my registration interviewers that I was very relational. My training was just the beginning and it took a further ten years before I could fully appreciate how to be genuine and relational as a psychotherapist. I came to learn that knowing something and experiencing it are two different things. I learnt the difference between understanding, which comes from knowledge, and realisation, which comes from direct experience. Knowledge has no heart, it does not sustain or nourish. I came to learn that life requires more than knowledge, it requires constant energy and feelings.

Training in attachment theory can equip us to be relational psychotherapists, but after all, we are all wounded healers, we have all probably been insecurely attached, hopefully now “earned secure”. We mostly work in isolation, we may often deny our need for others, for support and care, and we may then become antisocial or isolated while lecturing others about the importance of social interest and play.

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