Attachment Across the Life Span: Clinical Implications
Sally D. Popper, Ph.D.



Attachment has become perhaps the dominant paradigm for understanding development clinically, but few understand it in enough depth to be able to make use of the clinical richness it offers.  This presentation will provide a brief historical background on the origins of attachment theory in John Bowlby’s work, Mary Ainsworth’s seminal contributions in operationalizing a measurement of attachment in the parent-infant relationship, and Mary Main’s extension of our understanding to comprehend the operation of the attachment system in adults, as well as the importance of disorganization in attachment for later development. We will discuss work on intergenerational transmission of attachment, the relationship of disorganized attachment to dissociation, and the impact of interpersonal trauma on the attachment system.  We will see examples of Ainsworth’s “Strange Situation” to assess early childhood attachment styles, and will read from examples of Mary Main’s Adult Attachment Interview to understand the methods it uses to assess attachment styles. 
The second half of the day will focus on clinical implications of attachment, with a focus on several approaches that have thoughtfully incorporated an understanding of attachment to enrich clinical focus.  These will include work by David Wallin, Kristine Kinniburgh and Margaret Blaustein, Dan Hughes, Alicia Lieberman and Patricia Van Horn, and Mary Dozier.  While the majority of the clinical approaches discussed will be child-focused, there will also be a focus on ways in which early attachment experiences affect adult clinical presentations.