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Attachment theory concerns the propensity to form strong emotional bonds with particular individuals, or with regard to children, their main caregiver. This is an innate characteristic present in infancy and continuing throughout adolescence, adulthood and into old age (Bowlby, 1973, 1982). The attachment system is activated in adversity or when an individual is distressed or ill, when there is the urge to seek comfort and support from the primary attachment figure or caregiver. However when the individual feels secure and not distressed there is the urge to explore the environment, to play, work and travel.

A secure home base is seen to be crucial for optimal functioning and mental health; however for some individuals this home base may have been the reason for distress.

Loss of an attachment figure or loved one is traumatic and tragic; this loss can be even more complex when it activates unresolved painful memories of earlier relational trauma and loss. The process of grieving and bereavement can be long and painful; the process can include such feelings as:

  • Denial: of the experience of loss.

  • Anger: wanting something to change.

  • Bargaining: an attempt to change this situation to avoid the pain of acceptance.

  • Despair: a painful experience, entering into a place where depression can accompany the working through and morning of a loss.

  • Acceptance: where the energy that was tied up in this stuck grieving is finally freed up for use elsewhere.

Therapy offers a space where you can begin to mourn and come to terms with your loss. Perinatal group support and therapy offers a space to explore intergenerational patterns of coping, and gain support in caring for your infant with a knowledge of your own past and why you may have felt depressed, anxious or alone.

Beck et al (1985) describe people with anxiety disorders a having “negative, apprehensive beliefs about some future threat that contributes to avoidance, anxiety and perhaps panic” and goes on to describe people with depression as having “global, negative views about themselves, the world and the future that contribute to their feelings of despair, guilt and sadness (Beck, 1979).

We are all complex individuals and can have a mix of both anxiety and depression at times; however it is when such feelings stop us from doing everyday things such as work, play and enjoying relationships that such feelings can become problematic.

 Sometimes it is more difficult to let close one’s know how we feel because of perhaps preconceived worries about being judged, not wanting to be seen as someone who can not cope when previously this has never been a problem. This is when accessing either one to one or group therapy in a safe and secure environment can help us to develop a more positive regard, and acceptance of ourselves.

Resilience is an individuals likelihood to cope with stress or adversity and may be helped where there are cumulative  protective factors such as secure parenting and family life. The majority of people exposed to a serious traumatic event will often find they recover in time with few ill effects; however some people may develop a range of problems around their daily living including, panic attacks, phobias, depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.

Having worked with such individuals it is always a wonderful feeling for both me, and the client, when they feel able to continue and live with their past despair and traumatic experiences, and move forward with their lives.

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