Dismissing (Avoidant) Attachment and Trauma in Dyadic Parent-Child Psychotherapy

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Abstract

For parents with a history of childhood trauma, interactions with their own children can repeatedly reactivate early attachment-related distress, presenting unique challenges and opportunities within the context of dyadic parent-child therapy. A clinical case study is presented to illustrate the process of identifying, accessing, expressing, and grieving childhood trauma during the course of dyadic play-based psychotherapy. The process of therapeutic change, and specifically of utilizing the activation of the attachment system that is inherent in the dyadic therapy modality, are discussed in relation to research on trauma and dismissing (avoidant) attachment as well as the literature on intrafamilial trauma.

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