Treating Attachment Pathology in Adult Clients

Daniel Brown, PhD, ABPH

July 31 – August 4, 2017 • Monday – Friday

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Whereas sophisticated assessment tools are available to identify attachment pathology in adults, less attention has been paid to the development of effective ways to treat insecure attachment pathology, primarily in personality and dissociative disorder patients. This seminar will review an approach to attachment-based treatment that utilizes three main interventions, the Three Pillars of Treatment: 1. Positive re-mapping of internal working models (IWMs) of attachment using the ideal parent figure method; 2. Fostering a range of meta-cognitive skills designed to increase overall coherence of mind in patients with severe attachment pathology; and 3. Enhancing behavioral, nonverbal and verbal collaborative behavior within and outside of treatment. Additionally, this seminar will review very specific treatment methods for each of the three main prototypes of insecure attachment– dismissing attachment, anxious preoccupied attachment, and disorganized attachment.


Teaching format includes lecture, live demonstration of treatment methods, and illustration of main treatment methods through audio and video recordings of actual treatment sessions.


Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:


  • Learn about the standardized interview and self-report assessment instruments for measuring attachment in adults;
  • Understand the research on how attachment status is associated with relational disturbances and psychopathology in children and adults;
  • Learn attachment-based treatment using the three pillars approach;
  • Learn the range of interventions associated with the Ideal Parent Figure Protocol;
  • Foster collaborative verbal and nonverbal behavior; • Learn to foster a range of metacognitive skills that lead to coherence of mind, reflective capacity;
  • Learn the treatment protocols specific to each attachment prototype: dismissing: anxious preoccupied attachment; and disorganized attachment;
  • Apply the main ways to asses treatment outcome of attachment-based treatment;
  • Learn key concepts in the history of the developing attachment field;
  • Learn the main clinical and social behavioral indicators of the four main prototypes of attachment;
  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of each treatment approach to attachment disorders;
  • Learn the treatment protocol specific to dismissing insecure attachment;
  • Gain knowledge of the treatment for anxious preoccupied insecure attachment;
  • Understand disorganized insecure attachment.




Monday July 31, 2017

  • Types of relational disturbance; research using the strange situation paradigm; primary attachment prototypes & their stability overtime;
  • Assessment of attachment—interview-based and self-report measures; clinical features of dismissing, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment; attachment status and psychopathology


Tuesday August 1, 2017

  • Summary of main treatment approaches; video case illustration of the Baker separate-but-together protocol; live demonstration of ideal parent figure protocol; clinical advantages of ipf protocol over secure-base treatments; overview of the three pillars of treatment.
  • Five primary functions of attachment introduced through the ipf protocol; goals of ipf treatment; fostering cooperation and collaborative behavior: treatment-frame as behavioral collaboration; nonverbal non-collaborative and collaborative behavior; verbal non-collaborative and collaborative behavior; interventions for fostering nonverbal and verbal collaboration;


Wednesday August 2, 2017

  • Overview of four generations of metacognitive-based treatment; clinical illustration of developing main metacognitive skills; inter-dependence of three pillars of treatment.
  • Treating dismissing attachment: etiology; therapeutic stance; ipf imagery with dismissing attachment;  fostering collaboration in dismissing attachment; fostering metacognition in dismissing attachment.


Thursday August 3, 2017

  • Audiotape case illustration of interventions for dismissing attachment in adults; treating preoccupied attachment: etiology; therapeutic stance; ipf imagery with preoccupied attachment;
  • Fostering collaboration in preoccupied attachment; fostering metacognition in preoccupied attachment; audiotape case illustration of interventions for preoccupied attachment.


Friday August 4, 2017

  • Treating disorganized attachment; etiology; therapeutic stance; ipf imagery with disorganized attachment.
  • Fostering collaboration in disorganized attachment; fostering metacognition in disorganized attachment; audiotape case illustration of interventions for disorganized attachment; cumulative effects of treatment—main indicators of treatment effectiveness.