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Therapy and the Attachment Dynamics of Good Parenting

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 23, 2020

This piece by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska about how and why psychotherapy works, the effectiveness of the bond between therapists and their patients, and attachment theory is interesting throughout but a bit tough to summarize. Let’s start here, with the idea that therapy provides the opportunity of a do-over in the building your emotional self that mirrors what happens, ideally, in early life between a loving, supportive caregiver and a child.

All of this suggests a tantalising alternative to both the medical professional’s and the layperson’s view of therapy: that what happens between client and therapist goes beyond mere talking, and goes deeper than clinical treatment. The relationship is both greater and more primal, and it compares with the developmental strides that play out between mother and baby, and that help to turn a diapered mess into a normal, healthy person. I am referring to attachment.

To push the analogy further, what if, attachment theory asks, therapy gives you the chance to reach back and repair your earliest emotional bonds, correcting, as you do, the noxious mechanics of your mental afflictions?

As someone who has been in therapy but doesn’t actually know a whole lot about how it works, I found the whole piece fascinating.