Introduction to attachment: A therapist’s guide to Primary relationships and their Renewal
by Susan M. Johnson
Couple and family therapists spend their professional lives helping people change the nature of their primary attachment relationships. Our clients come to us wanting to put an end to difficult recurring conflicts, to learn how to persuade their child or their spouse to cooperate with them, to deal with the depression and anxiety that arise when the relationships they count on become ambiguous or painful, or, even worse, begin to disintegrate. This is a challenging task. There are many different facets and levels in these relationships and many different lenses through which we can view them. How do we decide what goals are worth pursuing, what to target in therapy, and what in-session events have the potential to redefine a relationship? How do we make sense of the complex patterns of interaction that constitute a close relationship and the sometimes extreme responses that partners and family members display in such relationships? This book is built on the premise that couple and family therapists need a broad integrative theory of relationships, one that captures the essence of the nature of our bonds of love, if we are to understand, predict, and explain such relationships and so know how to change them for the better. We need to know what really matters, so we can help clients articulate goals and make more than peripheral, transient changes. In other words, we need to know what to focus on so we can change the landscape of intimate relationships, not just the weather.
From: Attachment Processes in Couple and Family Therapy, Edited by Susan M. Johnson and Valerie E. Whiffen, 2005, Guilford Press