chapter  6
19 Pages

Working with Dissociative and Disoriented Attachment Patterns (2)

“It’s all about trusting your gut”
WithMarian Dunlea

This chapter concentrates on a critical session and presenting dream during the final six months of a 15-year analysis, during which I had learned to integrate the neurobiology of attachment theory and various somatic modalities into my psychoanalytic practice.

Teresa suffered from severe early developmental trauma, and physical and sexual abuse. She would often fall into a dissociative trance state, holding her back from the abyss of pain that threatened to engulf her. Only when a body-focused approach was included in our work did I find a means of enabling her (and myself in the countertransference) to stay present in the here and now, attuned to each other. Using felt sense resonance, titration, pendulation, top down and bottom up processing, and mirroring, she developed the capacity to connect to her sensing body, and this attuned relationship to her body was key in the healing process, providing a safe container. Her body now held a numinous force, an opposing energy equal in strength to the trance state. Her final dream confirmed that vital core of selfhood which she could now acknowledge and embody: her energy was free and available to her so that she could take action in service of her individuating self.