What is it?

Attachment-based psychotherapy is a talking therapy focusing on the attachments that we make with others as babies and young children and how these shape adult behaviour.  It explores how these affect the adults that we become, and the kinds of relationships we form with other people later in life.

British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby (1907-1990) was a pioneer in the development of attachment theory. He realised that if a child’s early relationship with their main carer was problematic – if it was not secure and did not meet the child’s needs ­– then the child was likely to keep re-enacting that dysfunctional relationship throughout their adult life. He also believed that secure and supportive relationships early on allowed people to develop a sense of self.

It may help if…

This type of therapy can help with many different problems, including: abuse, anxiety, bereavement, depression, eating disorders, loneliness, low-self-esteem, panic attacks, relationship difficulties, self-harm, sexual problems, stress – or perhaps if you feel you are ‘stuck’ in your life, or not reaching your full potential.

What happens

In attachment-based psychotherapy, you are likely to meet with a therapist once or twice a week for a period of months (just how long depends on the individual situation). Over this time, you develop a secure, attachment-based relationship with the therapist. This allows you to feel able to communicate more openly and freely in order to explore the impact of different relationships in your life both in the past and in the present, and to develop healthier ways of being.

For more information, see UK Council for Psychotherapy.