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Attachment and Linguistic Communication: Enhancing Epistemic Trust and Enabling Mentalisation: Video Course

Attachment and Linguistic Communication: Enhancing Epistemic Trust and Enabling Mentalisation: Video Course

Human relationships are based on communication –and language, in particular, is the main tool for interacting and engaging socially with others. In turn, the development of language and social communication lays its foundations in early attachment relationships. It can be argued that individual differences in attachment influence the two most important social skills that all of us require to make sense of social norms, behaviours and relationships – namely mentalization and epistemic trust.

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

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£ 145.00

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Course Credits

CPD: 5 / CE: 5

Speaker(s)

Dr Gwen Adshead, Gerry Byrne & Dr Alessandro Talia

Course length in hours

5 hrs of video content

Full course information

Attachment figures essentially provide individuals with the training ground for the ability to mentalize – a key ability in our species for making sense of ever unpredictable interpersonal relationships In fact, as Peter Fonagy explains – many forms of mental disorder might be considered manifestations of attachment-related failures in social communication linked with epistemic mistrust, hypervigilance or outright epistemic freezing – a complete inability to trust others as a source of knowledge about the world.

With this as an underlying framework, Fonagy and other researchers have suggested that psychotherapy can support clients’ recovery and resilience by facilitating the re-emergence in clients of epistemic trust, benefiting from the benign aspects of their environment.

At this unique workshop, three luminaries from the field of attachment theory who are driving the agenda forward on attachment and communication, come together to examine the questions of how we can listen effectively and intervene helpfully through the lens of attachment theory.

Starting by explaining the basis for narrative coherence, Dr Gwen Adshead first discusses the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) to explain the capacity to speak about emotions, going on to explain:

  • The importance of Attachment for mentalization and symbolic function – especially the capacity to articulate felt experience in language
  • Which, in turn, relates to the capacity to trust in dialogue start all the way from mother-ease to the detailed adult language of relationships
  • The main tenet to be explored by her is that attachment security is expressed in how we talk about attachments, not just the content of what is said – this is a radical approach which links early psychoanalytic ideas with evidence-based research using linguistic analysis
  • To discuss how epistemic trust may related to the development of a relational language as part of mentalization

Gerry Byrne then develops on Gwen’s discussions and presents clinical material to explain:

  • How we can establish epistemic trust with clients who have high epistemic mistrust levels
  • The role of transparency and/or disclosure in therapeutic dialogues
  • And the importance of authenticity on the therapeutic encounter

Professor Alessandro Talia draws on his and his colleagues original research to reveal how individual differences in attachment states of minds (secure, dismissing, preoccupied, and unresolved/disorganized) influence clients and therapists’ behaviour in Psychotherapy.

Special emphasis will be given to the Patient Attachment Coding System (PACS) and the Therapist Attunement Scales (TASc), two measures that accurately predict patients’ and therapists’ AAI status based on the occurrence of distinct communication markers during therapy sessions.

Alessandro will discuss:

  • how attachment differences are linked to individual differences in epistemic trust
  • how one can identify in-session communication markers that reflect the client’s attachment pattern
  • how differences in therapist’s interventions also reflect underlying individual differences in the therapist’s own attachment
  • What the implications for intervention are

The remaining panellists will present clinical material in support of these approaches.

© nscience 2022 / 2023

What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

At this unique workshop , three luminaries from the field of attachment theory who are driving the agenda forward on attachment and communication, come together to examine the questions of how we can listen effectively and intervene helpfully through the lens of attachment theory.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss the way attachment security is expressed in how we talk about attachments, not just the content of what is said – this is a radical approach which links early psychoanalytic ideas with evidence-based research using linguistic analysis
  • Discuss how we can establish epistemic trust with clients who have high epistemic mistrust levels
  • Explain how attachment differences are linked to individual differences in epistemic trust
  • Describe how one can identify in-session communication markers that reflect the client’s attachment pattern

About the speaker(s)

Dr Gwen Adshead is a Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. She trained at St George’s Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Institute of Group Analysis.  She is trained as a group therapist and a Mindfulness-based cognitive therapist and has also trained in Mentalisation-based therapy. She worked for nearly twenty years as a Consultant Forensic Psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital, running psychotherapeutic groups for offenders and working with staff around relational security and organisational dynamics. Gwen also has a Masters’ Degree in Medical Law and Ethics; and has a research interest in moral reasoning, and how this links with ‘bad’ behaviour.

Gwen has published a number of books and over 100 papers, book chapters and commissioned articles on forensic psychotherapy, ethics in psychiatry, and attachment theory as applied to medicine and forensic psychiatry.  She is the co-editor of Clinical topics in Personality Disorder (with Dr Jay Sarkar) which was awarded first prize in the psychiatry Section of the BMA book awards 2013; and she also co-edited Personality Disorder: the Definitive Collection with Dr Caroline Jacob. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry (2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Medical Psychotherapy (2016). She is also the co-editor of Munchausens’s Syndrome by Proxy: Current issues in Assessment, Treatment and Research. Her latest book, The Deluded Self: Narcissism and its Disorders (2020) is out now with nscience publishing house.

Gerry Byrne is a consultant child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist (Tavistock), a consultant nurse, and adult psychotherapist. He is also a mentalization-based treatment (MBT) practitioner, supervisor, and trainer (adult, adolescent and family) for the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. He trains and supervises MBT programmes and clinicians in the UK and internationally and leads on MBT trainings for the Centre in Ireland. Gerry spent 35 years as a clinician in specialist NHS mental health services. His primary focus as a clinician and designer of services over the last 32 years, has been the expert assessment and treatment of families in which severe child abuse has taken place. For the last 16 years he was Head of Attachment and Perinatal Services at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He designed and ran four award-winning specialist CAMHS services; the Family Assessment and Safeguarding Services (FASS Oxford & FASS Wiltshire and BATHNES), the Reconnect Service (Buckinghamshire) and the Infant-Parent Perinatal Service (Oxford). In addition, he was Clinical Lead for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and served three years as Associate Clinical Director of CAMHS.

Dr Alessandro Talia is a researcher and clinician interested in attachment, mentalizing, epistemic trust, and therapeutic communication. Born in Rome in 1983, he graduated there in Philosophy and in Psychology. In 2012, he moved to New York for a research stay at the New School for Social Research under the mentorship of Jeremy Safran. In 2016 he received a PhD at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), with a dissertation on attachment in the therapy context. He is author of the Patient Attachment Coding System (PACS) and the Therapist Attunement Scales (TASc), measures that accurately predict patients’ and therapists’ Adult Attachment Interview status and Reflective Functioning based on in-session communication. He currently works as a post-doc researcher at the University of Heidelberg, where he is developing an in-session assessment of disorganized attachment. He has published work on psychotherapy research and psychotherapy practice, which has led him to win in 2015 the International Award for Research studies on Trauma and Personality, which is assigned to the best young investigator in the area of attachment, personality and psychopathology. He also focuses on issues of philosophy, cognitive linguistics, psychoanalysis, and development.

nscience UK is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. nscience UK maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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