Healing Attachment Wounds: The Good-Enough Therapist and Imagined Ideal Parent Figures by David Elliott, PhD

RIAPP is turning 25!
Come celebrate, you’ve helped it thrive! Please join us for champagne, sandwiches, fruit and cake.
Time: 6:30-7:30pm. Dr. Elliott’s lecture to follow at 7:30.

1.5 CE Credits

Treatments for attachment insecurity in adults have long relied on the therapist being an as-good-as-is-realistic attachment figure. But the therapist is not the patient’s parent, and the adult patient is not a child, so even if new, positive attachment representations form from the therapy relationship, they are unlikely to replace existing internal working models of the early child/parent relationship. A more developmentally fitting approach has the patient and the good-enough therapist co-create imagery of the patient-as-child being with “ideal parent figures”. Through deep, body and emotion-focused experience with these new and different caregivers, patients sometimes quite quickly establish earned secure attachment and improvements in areas of self functioning, relational ability, and emotion regulation.

Learning Objectives: After this intermediate/advanced presentation, participants will be able to:
1. Identify the strengths and limitations of current treatments for insecure attachment in adults.
2. Discuss the “Three Pillars” of comprehensive attachment repair and the five primary conditions that promote secure attachment in both parenting and psychotherapy.
3. Describe why ideal parent figure imagery is more effective and efficient in treatment of attachment disturbances than is relying primarily on the therapist as good attachment figure.


David S. Elliott, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist based in Providence, Rhode Island, and former president of the Rhode Island Psychological Association (2000 and 2001). He is on the faculty of the International School for Psychotherapy, Counseling, and Group Leadership in St. Petersburg, Russia, and teaches and consults internationally on attachment, personality, and psychotherapy. He recently co-authored a book, with Daniel Brown, Ph.D., Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair (Norton, 2016).



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Date(s) - March 7, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Central Congregational Church
296 Angell Street (Diman Street entrance)
Providence, Rhode Island

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