chapter  Seven
21 Pages

Restructuring Attachment and Caregiving Responses

WithJames L. Furrow, Gail Palmer, Susan M. Johnson, George Faller, Lisa Palmer-Olsen

This chapter describes the emotionally focused therapy therapist’s role in guiding family members through a corrective emotional experience where a child’s attachment needs are expressed to an available caregiver and the caregiver responds effectively to those needs. It explores the therapist’s role in restructuring interactions organized around successful enactments of a child’s attachment need and the parent’s caregiving response. The parent’s caregiving intentions are made explicit and the therapist focuses on clarifying the parent’s awareness and attunement to the child’s experience, often as they work through any remaining blocks to the child’s expressed needs. A therapist may ask the parent or child to repeat a caregiving response or an attachment bid to emphasize and heighten its impact, particularly if the enactment begins to lose its emotional salience. Evocative questions are used to capture a family member’s emerging experience particularly related to attachment and caregiving themes.