A Secure Base: The Challenges of Trust

Hudson, Karen (2009) A Secure Base: The Challenges of Trust. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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Attachment theory was first developed by John Bowlby in 1958. He believed in the importance of our primary relationships during the first three years of life, and discussed the necessity for the establishment of a “secure base” for healthy development. Mary Ainsworth then differentiated attachment further into secure or insecure attachment. This Clinical Case Study follows the therapeutic process of a seven-year old boy, who endured severe physical and emotional abuse by his biological father. It illuminates the difficulties a therapist may encounter in the face of insecure attachment patterns in a traumatized child. Attachment process is now linked to neuropsychological processes, and the importance of limbic attunement between mother and child. The effect of trauma on attachment should inform choice of treatment. A variety of directive and non-directive therapeutic approaches are discussed, which include art, sand tray, and play therapy. The client was a young child of few words whose reluctance to speak was filled with meaning and who taught the therapist the power of silence. In this study, he was drawn to the sand tray where he mostly engaged in covering and uncovering objects as vi well as creating elaborate battle scenes. He also engaged in art projects and responded to puppet play. A major learning in this study was the fact that the client‟s imaginal structure of withdrawing from the real world into his own internal reality was the obstacle that kept him from forming deep and intimate relationships critical to his healing. The exploration of the fairy tale, Rapunzel, serves as a mythic backdrop for this study. Possibilities for treatment utilizing Imaginal Psychology are explored and include encouraging the symbolic expression of painful experience through play. The therapist‟s establishment of a secure base is shown to be instrumental in the transformation process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Programs: Psychology
Depositing User: Karin Hudson
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:48
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:48
URI: http://scholarship.meridianuniversity.edu/id/eprint/102

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