Formats for exploration
In this chapter we want to bring together a number of formats or templates for ways of engaging in an attachment narrative way of working with individuals, couples and families. We have called these ‘formats for exploration’ to capture the idea that they involve us working alongside family members to explore both the content of attachment narratives, patterns of relating and themes across the generations and also the process of attachment narratives in terms of ways of attempting to facilitate the ability of family members to construct, develop and elaborate their narratives. The formats also take an overarching view of attempting to assist in developing narratives in terms of selecting and elaborating material from the various representational memory systems. As with most forms of therapy the formats also contain the central idea of attempting to help people develop more integrated, and reﬂexive, narratives about themselves and others, and their relationships. We see this as an interactive process in that the formats help to elicit information in the various representational systems and in turn this helps to provide material to build people’s ability to develop integrated, coherent and reﬂexive narratives. As this reﬂective ability develops they may in turn be able to generate further information from their memory systems, which had hitherto been hidden, submerged or defended. Above all, the formats are intended to provide an underlying sense of safe exploration and contribute to the creation and maintenance of a secure base for therapeutic work with family members.