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Attachment in Psychotherapy 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593854560
ISBN-10: 1593854560
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Editorial Reviews


"Despite widespread interest, how to really think about attachment in the clinical situation has remained--for all intents and purposes--fairly obscure.  All of this has changed with the publication of David Wallin's extraordinary book, Attachment in Psychotherapy.  This intellectual and clinical tour de force  is what we have been waiting for."  Arietta Slade in Psychotherapy,  June 2009

"As someone who bears witness daily to the suffering of the insecurely attached, I am deeply grateful for Attachment in Psychotherapy, a remarkable synthesis of scientific research, clinical observation and theory, and reflection on mindfulness. Wallin not only elucidates the vast empirical literature on attachment, but also with the clarity of a natural teacher and the wisdom of a seasoned clinician makes such findings relevant to the complex challenges of practice. Therapists of all orientations will find help here in fostering a sense of safety and in facilitating their clients' emotional growth."--Nancy McWilliams, PhD, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
"No better introduction to the clinical application of attachment theory has yet been written."--Lewis Aron, PhD, Director, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University

"Wallin's understanding of attachment work and his integration of attachment theory with other modern relational perspectives are quite impressive. People are always asking me what they can read about the clinical implications of attachment work, and now I know what to tell them. This book is an amazing accomplishment. It is definitely my favorite book on this topic."--L. Alan Sroufe, PhD, William Harris Professor of Child Development, University of Minnesota

"John Bowlby would have been delighted with this book, which links the biological imperatives of attachment to the dialogues that define the self and the nature of key relationships. He would also have been delighted to see his theory articulated as a guide to psychotherapy in such an eminently readable manner. The use of attachment as this kind of guide is a rich vein that has just begun to be tapped. This book is a therapist's journey into that richness."--Susan M. Johnson, EdD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology, University of Ottawa, Canada; Distinguished Research Professor, Marital and Family Therapy Program, Alliant International University
"This timely book provides an important advance in the examination of the implications of attachment theory for psychotherapy. Synthesizing theory and research on attachment theory and affect regulation with recent developments in psychoanalysis, Wallin provides a rich conceptual scaffolding for understanding the role that the therapeutic relationship plays in the change process. He also provides an intriguing perspective on the potential contributions of mindfulness practice to the cultivation of a therapeutic stance. Theoretically sophisticated and clinically enlightening, this book will be of interest to clinicians of all persuasions."--Jeremy D. Safran, PhD, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research
"Simply the best integration of key advances in attachment theory and research and their applications to psychotherapy. Complex concepts are carefully elucidated and brilliantly illustrated with clinical examples. This book is an important reference for all clinicians and students. It is a vital resource for those who are interested in how progress in our understanding of attachment processes may be applied in a clinical context."--Peter Fonagy, PhD, Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College London, UK
"This book is a remarkable achievement--a very clear yet scholarly synthesis of developments in attachment theory, intersubjectivity, social neuroscience, and mindfulness. The author layers these 'maps' onto the therapy experience, and then takes the reader through the territory to emerge with a new vision of therapy. Wallin is a trustworthy guide through the complexities of clinical work where the therapy relationship itself is the intervention. A 'must read' for psychotherapists who wish to remain on top of their field, and a rich resource for clinicians in training."--Christopher K. Germer, PhD, private practice, Cambridge, Massachusetts
"Attachment in Psychotherapy advances psychotherapeutic method and theory through an innovative integration of new work in affect regulation and models of relationship. David Wallin offers a brilliant leap in realizing the clinical promise of attachment theory, a synthesis that should be required--and will be rewarding--reading for every psychotherapist."--Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of Social Intelligence

"What a delight! Wallin has written an extremely insightful, broadly integrative, clinically applicable, and highly engaging book. Keeping his personal and clinical experiences coherently in mind and using them as examples, he synthesizes recent literatures on attachment theory and research, mindfulness, mentalization, metacognition, nonverbal communication, intersubjectivity, and mechanisms of therapeutic change. The book moves deftly from clear analyses of contemporary theoretical issues to specific, well-described clinical techniques that can be used with particular clients; for example, those with a particular adult attachment pattern. The book identifies diverse theoretical and empirical advances that, in Wallin’s skillful hands, fit together beautifully, deepening our understanding of the human mind, its relational context, and its transformation in psychotherapy."--Phillip R. Shaver, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, Davis

"A well-written, easy-to-read, clinically relevant, and particularly pragmatic application of recent science to a variety of clinical problems."--Allan N. Schore, PhD, author of Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self

"R.D. Laing opened one of his less enduring works with the warning: 'Few books today are forgivable.' Well, here's one to celebrate. If you practice psychotherapy and you read it, your patients stand to benefit. And, as an impressive synthesis of research and practice, it joins a handful of books that truly belong to this century rather than the previous one....We can be grateful that this book has arrived. It is much more than forgivable. It seems indispensable."
(British Journal of Psychiatry 2007-03-08)

"Takes on the huge task of integrating many aspects of contemporary research theory with clinical practice....A good resource for experienced clinicians."
(Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 2007-03-08)

"Wallin presents a thorough and research-based explanation of how attachment theory can explain change and growth within psychotherapy and, importantly, how counselors can use attachment theory to guide practice decisions....Wallin's book provides both an introduction and an in-depth examination of attachment theory and some of the therapeutic implications arising from this seminal and unfolding theory....Wallin organizes the book in an interesting and readable fashion....I heartily recommend [this book]. The writing is engaging and clear, and the author takes great care to support his arguments. Further, Wallin clearly shows the capacity to think in an integrative and holistic manner. I believe most readers will find that they have a deeper understanding and appreciation for attachment theory and how psychotherapy can positively modify insecure attachment styles. I appreciate how Wallin integrates theory with clinical work; his arguments are easy to follow and deserve respect....Readers can expect to stretch their thinking from reading this book; Wallin's approach is both interesting and digestible."
(Clinical Social Work Review 2007-03-08)

"Wallin nicely links attachment theory to other conceptual, spiritual, and clinical arenas, and illustrates complex concepts with relevant vignettes....Wallin's book is well written, and provides interesting elaboration on attachment based practice while integrating concepts from a variety of fields....It is highly recommended for mental health professionals."
(Psychoanalytic Social Work 2007-03-08)

“Despite widespread interest, how to really think about attachment in the clinical situation remained--for all intents and purposes--fairly obscure….All this has changed with the publication of David Wallin's extraordinary book….This intellectual and clinical tour-de-force is what we have been waiting for: a book that is on the one hand a coherent, creative, thoughtful, and remarkably integrated view of contemporary psychoanalysis, with attachment, and attachment processes, at its core, and on the other a reflection on our daily, complex, work with patients. Wallin's ambitious and deeply satisfying book is remarkable for a number of reasons….Wallin is a seasoned, experienced clinician, with a deep appreciation of the complexities of both clinical work and human development. Thus, his clinical voice, and his insights into the clinical experience (both the patient's as well as the therapist's) unify each of his forays into research, theory, and science. Indeed, it is his ability to engage all of these elements at once that makes this such a gem of a book….This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary psychoanalysis. Few writers have the ability to write so directly and clearly about complex science and theory; his scholarship and reach are extraordinary. This book is also a book for therapists at all levels of experience….He creates a truly contemporary vision of human development, affect regulation, and relational processes, grounded in the body and in the brain, and in the fundamental relationships that make us who we are, as therapists, as patients, and as human beings.”
(Psychotherapy 2009-01-01)

About the Author

David J. Wallin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Mill Valley and Albany, California. A graduate of Harvard College who received his doctorate from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, he has been practicing, teaching, and writing about psychotherapy for nearly three decades. Dr. Wallin is the coauthor (with Stephen Goldbart) of Mapping the Terrain of the Heart: Passion, Tenderness, and the Capacity to Love.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593854560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593854560
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Jules Burstein on June 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For psychotherapists, like myself, who are persuaded that the reality of the of the actual forms of attachment that infants and toddlers have to their caregivers trumps psychoanalystic notions (e.g. Melanie Klein) that the child's internal fantasies are more determinative of healthy or pathological development, David Wallin's book will be a welcome tonic. He has engagingly described three paradigmatic deformations of attachment that lead to three kinds of character impairment -- the Dismissing Patient, the Preoccupied Patient and the Unresolved Patient, and provides stimulating vignettes from his practice to indicate the nature of what is wounded and damaged in each, followed by various kinds of interpretive diaglogues, and "ways of being" of the therapist that tend to foster constructive personality change. Finally, he is one of a growing number of psychotherapists to incorporate Buddhist teachings (particularly the use of mindfulness meditation) into his clinical practice with what appears to be encouraging results. His book is eminently readable and even when I disagreed with some of Dr. Wallin's ideas, they were always thought-provoking, and in the service of a more enlightened and effective psychotherapy.
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Format: Hardcover
David Wallin has performed a great service for psychotherapists in his book. With insight and academic excellence he has filled in many of the blanks about how attachment theory applies in psychotherapy and how it can be applied within the therapeutic session. He explains the types of attachment clearly while giving directions on how to work with each type in therapy. His examples from his own work with clients gives the reader concrete understanding of the applications and implications of this work. In particular, Dr. Wallin clearly describes the interrelations and interconnectedness of therapist and client. He explains how this relationship can be the core of effective therapy as well as how to access the conscious and unconscious cues and understandings which make one a more effective helper. This is the story of how the therapist can deepen and use his or her sensitive understandings in a compassionate and effective manner for the client. I highly recommend this book for any therapist who wishes to be more effective in assisting clients to become personally empowered. The client learns how to create more internal, emotional space in order to use thoughts and feelings to create an effective and compassionate life.
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Format: Hardcover
Attachment in Psychotherapy is not just a book for psychotherapists--it is a wonderful book for patients as well. While it is clear that therapists would find this book of enormous value in their work, it is of importance for patients who want a better understanding of their own therapy. Dr. Wallin's review of the history of attachment theory is clear and provides a foundation for more recent work in this field. How we were parented (despite the best efforts of some loving parents) and how the effects of that early experience formed our adult styles of interaction lend important insights for understanding our struggles to feel good and function well in our lives. The concepts of thinking about your thoughts and being as aware of yourself as possible at any given moment are useful guides for patient and therapist.
The case presentations were interesting and illustrative with one limitation that I have found in many similar books--the patients often have histories that are so extreme that they are difficult to identify with. That said, they were valuable in increasing my sense of and comfort with a therapeutic relationship.
This is not an "easy" read, but a very worthwhile one. with understanding comes wisdom.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary book, both in terms of its content and the form in which that content is delivered. It is the most readable, clear, and accessible account I know of concerning the relationship between childhood development and the psychological development in adulthood that therapy aims to encourage. In making bridges between the original attachment relationships in childhood and the new attachment in psychotherapy, the Dr. Wallin brings in studies of neuroscience, trauma, and mindfulness. In so doing he clarifies how therapy actually works. I believe this is a book of enormous value for therapists, and those working in psychodynamic fields such as counsellors and staff development speicialists. Wallin discusses his work with patients in a self-revealing and thoughtful way that gives a sense of the complexity and challenge of the work of a therapist. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
David Wallin's book is a tour de force in integrative theory. Wallin is a master at weaving together attachment theory, intersubjective psychotherapy, and mindfulness into a coherent whole that makes the reader wonder why it hasn't been done before. Attachment theory is such a potent tool for understanding individuals and relationships, including the therapeutic relationship. Wallin presents these and other ideas in a clear and compelling way. It will be easily accessible to students and new therapists. Seasoned clinicians will find it deep and sophisticated. As a psychologist, I found Wallin's discussion of the integration of mindfulness into the therapeutic frame, especially useful and thought provoking Also clinically helpful, were his discussions of transference and counter-transference that are informed from an attachment perspective. Thanks for this wonderful work!
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