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Synopsis

The Challenge of Attachment for Caregiving describes a theoretical model for the development of caregiving that complements and also extends attachment theory. The model highlights the conditions under which adult caregivers can remain in a state of arrested development, impairing their own ability to give care and resulting in attachment problems for those who seek care from them. It shows how insecure attachment in childhood and adolescence impedes the development of caregiving and how, in times of crisis, even securely attached individuals need appropriate support in order to sustain their capacity to give effective care. Constructing a systemic model of the self, the authors place the instinctive systems for caregiving and careseeking (attachment) within a theory that relates them to other systems of the self, such as the systems for sharing interests, sexuality and for self-defence. The model describes the interplay between these goal-corrected behavioural systems. Because it includes the defensive mechanisms and strategies which an individual values most, it is particularly helpful to the therapist in understanding the interpersonal processes between people who are seeking to influence each other's behaviour. It is presented in a form that enables the therapist to formulate hypotheses about a client's predicament and their way of relating to the therapist and then explore and test these hypotheses in the course of therapy. Drawing on many years experience as clinicians and researchers, Dorothy Heard and Brian Lake explore in depth an aspect of human development which has profound implications for our future survival. Presenting its own challenge to both theory and practice, this book offers students and practitioners a new perspective on attachment.

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