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O'Toole, M. (2016). A Combined Approach to Psychotherapy, Individual and Group, from an Attachment Perspective. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(2):110-131.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(2):110-131

A Combined Approach to Psychotherapy, Individual and Group, from an Attachment Perspective

Michael O'Toole

This paper presents an account of a combined therapy approach using the theory of attachment based exploratory interest sharing (TABEIS), as developed by Heard and Lake (1997; Heard et al., 2009). It traces the history of combined therapy, which is defined as “a concurrent individual and group therapy conducted by the same therapist”, and notes the different history of combined therapy on both sides of the Atlantic. The paper explores the different theoretical frameworks and dynamics of working therapeutically from an attachment perspective with individuals and groups. Building on the work of Heard (1978) in relation to the “attachment dynamic”, McCluskey and colleagues (1999) developed the idea of “goal corrected empathic attunement” as a key factor in determining whether the “restorative process” identified by Heard and Lake was successful or not. I locate my work on combined therapy within this theoretical framework, as it provides a more unifying bridge between individual and group psychotherapy phenomena. I conclude the paper with an account of one individual's journey of combined therapy and discuss the learning and challenge of this work for the practitioner.

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