Great for working with TEENAGERS.

Attachment-Based Practice with Adults: Understanding Strategies and Promoting Positive Change, Pavilion Publishing, Brighton, UK. ISBN-13: 978-1908066176

In recent years I’ve come to really appreciate what attachment theory has to offer. And I find it fascinating! But theories by themselves don’t offer much. Particularly to those of us involved in direct work with troubled people.

We know that these folks have a messed up development. And we know that attachment is a huge part of it. But one nagging question just won’t go away:

How do I practice in an attachment-based way?

In late 2009 I attended one of the best training courses I’ve ever been on: Clark Baim and Tony Morrison on attachment-based interviewing. This book was a work in progress at the time.  The training was running in parallel to its development.

The course changed the way I work. For the better. Forever. And it started me on a journey of personal research into attachment and the implications of it for anyone who works with people. Particularly troubled people with challenging problems.

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What sets this book apart from the rest?…

At the outset, I should say that this is not really a book. It’s much more than that. It’s a resource…

But even that is a little understated. It’s more of an arsenal! Working with damaged and challenging people can be a battle sometimes. This gives the worker the equipment they badly need to meet such challenges.

We’ve long known that many of the worst problems our service users experience are rooted directly in their early years. Attachment theory articulates this. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth gifted us with a theory of human development that urges us to look beyond behaviour, beyond presenting problems, to examine causes. Causes rooted in the nexus of the child-caregiver relationship.

Putting legs on theory…

The problem I have found is that this is hard to do. Not only do we need to know our theory extremely well, we need to know what the practice implications are. We need to know what we can do with the people to help them progress.

That’s where Attachment-Based Practice comes in. It will do two key things:

1.  Help you understand the theory of attachment as it applies to your clients

2.  Help you to turn this into positive practice, so you know what to do

This latter point is perhaps the greatest gift this book brings to practitioners; it puts legs on the theory.

Not only will it refresh, challenge and extend your understanding of attachment theory itself, it will teach you to see and understand your clients through the lens of attachment, right through to the point of practice. I believe that Bowlby himself would delight in the sheer practicality of this book!

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As you know, my thing is helping troubled kids. But this book has the words, “practice with adults” in the title. So how do we square that circle?

Boy in handcuffs upset...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/AlexRaths


Easy. Attachment applies to everyone. You, me, the people we work with. Everyone.

Teenagers are young adults. I have found that much of the learning in this resource is brilliantly applicable to teenagers.

Whilst the case examples and scenarios are focussed on people who are adults now. Some of them cover their story from being little. So you get the child element too.

Also, if you work with teenagers you’ll be able to do the work of applying the principles to them quite easily.

Final thought…

This is an expensive bit of kit. No doubt about it. But if you’ve ever:

– Wanted to understand attachment better

– Wished you had a clearer grasp of what different attachment styles look like

– Known you’ve got a client with attachment-related problems but not known how to help

The answer is here. If it changes the way you practice forever-as it did for me-the investment is more than worth it!

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What do you think?…

– Please let me know your thoughts…   Join in the conversation – Leave a comment below or click here.

Related previous posts:

– Attachment – what is it?…

– Attachment – when it goes wrong…

– Attachment resources page…

– Crime & punishment 2 – cause & effect…

Pass it on…

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  © Jonny Matthew 2014

(With grateful thanks to Clark Baim and also to Graham Hoare of Pavilion Publishing for providing a review copy of this resource. I have not been paid for writing this! Honest!)

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
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