The workshop “Attachment in the 21st Century” held on 21st November, is the first of the two Workshops hosted by Willingness. 

Speaker – Dr. Gwen Adshead

The speaker was Dr Gwen Adshead, a distinguished forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist renowned for her groundbreaking work in the field of forensic psychiatry. Dr. Adshead has held pivotal roles in institutions like Broadmoor Hospital. She delves into areas such as attachment, trauma, and personality disorders in her exploration of criminal behaviour.

The workshop was delivered to 40 participants from various occupations, ranging from counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, educators, therapists, psychologist trainees, and university students. 

Attachment theory remains a useful paradigm in mental health

During the 3-hour workshop, Dr. Gwen Adshead explored how attachment theory remains a useful paradigm in mental health. The session highlighted attachment as a basis for mentalising and maternal sensitivity, emphasising its impact on understanding emotions. Dr. Adshead also delved into attachment’s significance in regulating relationships, managing distress, and navigating interpersonal distance.

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Practical dimensions were addressed, including how to measure attachment and its intersections with embodiment, and disorders of reality testing. The workshop provided a comprehensive perspective on the lasting implications of early attachment experiences on mental health.

The Crucial Therapist Balance

One aspect that deeply resonated with a therapist was the realisation of “the crucial balance” professionals must keep with clients. This involves the understanding that adults with insecure attachment may face challenges in providing a safe space for their children. However, therapists also have a responsibility to address the neglect that may arise in their care.

Discussions with Dr. Gwen Adshead

The final part of the workshop was dedicated to a 45-minute discussion with Dr. Gwen Adshead and the participants. Participants had the opportunity to directly ask the renowned speaker any questions. The topics discussed ranged from health anxiety in adulthood and its relation to anxious attachment, the protective factors in developing a secure attachment as an adult, and parental alienation, amongst many others.