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Attachment Insecurity & Psychopathology: Video Course


Speaker: Dr Gwen Adshead

Product: Video Course
Price: £139

CPD Hours: 5

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.

For more information on ticket types and order processing times please click here

Our Attachment system is a key biobehavioural system encompassing both neuronal development and psychological representation. The system evolves to help us manage the stress of long-term relationships that involve disparities of strength and vulnerability. Where the development of such a system is compromised, there is a direct impact on how and whether people seek care from others; and how stressful they find care seeking and care giving.

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Full Course Information

In its extremity, Insecure Attachment, if not adequately addressed, can form the foundation for psychopathological manifestations that stem from:

  • problems regulating feelings
  • problems regulating arousal
  • problems with distance regulation in relationships and
  • problems with boundaries between self and others

At this intellectually stimulating and practical workshop, that would be relevant for psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, we explore how attachment insecurity leads to the development of dysfunctional defences and impaired mentalising skills, which in turn may be manifest in the symptoms and signs of clinical disorders including mood disorders, personality dysfunction and psychotic states of mind. We also explore the implications of the evidence base for assessment of clients and therapy planning.

Specifically, we consider:

  • How psychopathology develops in the context of attachment insecurity
  • Attachment & Somatic Dysfunction
  • Hostile, helpless states of mind and epistemic trust
  • The relationship with disorganised attachment and its defensive sequelae
    • Psychological defences and mental disorders, including disorders of embodiment and personality disorder
    • Reality testing and psychosis
  • How this understanding of psychopathology informs our assessments and treatment planning:
    • Helping our clients build their capacity to mentalise
    • Keeping the Brain in mind for Attachment Informed Therapeutic techniques
    • Ensuring that our therapeutic approach is not ‘one size fits all’
    • Building emotional competence by working with implicit & explicit memory
  • The importance of language and communication
  • Maintaining a therapeutic alliance – caring relationships as affect regulators

Gwen will not only present material based on published evidence; but also use group discussion and ‘live supervision’ of cases brought by participants as part of the workshop.

Participants are welcome to bring vignettes of clinical material that can be shared and discussed within the normal boundaries of confidentiality.

About the speaker

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. 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.

Gwen was visiting professor at Yale School of Psychiatry and Law in 2013; and also honoured with the President’s Medal for services to psychiatry that same year for her work on ethics in psychiatry. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by St George’s hospital in 2015; and was Gresham Professor of Psychiatry 2014-2017. She now works in a medium secure unit in Hampshire in a service for high-risk offenders with personality disorder; and in a women’s prison. Her new book: The Deluded Self: Narcissism and its Disordersis out now with nscience publishing house.

© nscience 2022 / 2023

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