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Attachment in Psychotherapy [Hardcover]

David J. Wallin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 35.99
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Book Description

26 April 2007 1593854560 978-1593854560 1

This eloquent book translates attachment theory and research into an innovative framework that grounds adult psychotherapy in the facts of childhood development. Advancing a model of treatment as transformation through relationship, the author integrates attachment theory with neuroscience, trauma studies, relational psychotherapy, and the psychology of mindfulness. Vivid case material illustrates how therapists can tailor interventions to fit the attachment needs of their patients, thus helping them to generate the internalized secure base for which their early relationships provided no foundation. Demonstrating the clinical uses of a focus on nonverbal interaction, the book describes powerful techniques for working with the emotional responses and bodily experiences of patient and therapist alike.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Guilford Press; 1 edition (26 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593854560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593854560
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.1 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Wallin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Albany and Mill Valley, California. He will be presenting a two-day workshop in London on July 11-12, 2014; the topic, too often neglected, is the impact on therapy of the therapist's own attachment history and patterning (the workshop is sponsored by Confer, for details: A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard who received his doctorate from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, he has been practicing, teaching, and writing about psychotherapy for nearly three decades. Attachment in Psychotherapy, his most recent book, is presently being translated into ten languages. Wallin is also the co-author of Mapping the Terrain of the Heart: Passion, Tenderness, and the Capacity to Love. A lively and engaging speaker who combines a scholarly perspective with unusual candor about his own experience as a therapist, he has lectured on attachment and psychotherapy in Australia, Europe, Canada, and throughout the United States. For more information, please visit:

Product Description


Editorial Reviews

"Despite widespread interest, how to really think about attachment in the clinical situation has remained--for all intents and purposes--fairly obscure.  All of this has changed with the publication of David Wallin's extraordinary book, Attachment in Psychotherapy.  This intellectual and clinical tour de force  is what we have been waiting for."  Arietta Slade in Psychotherapy,  June 2009

"As someone who bears witness daily to the suffering of the insecurely attached, I am deeply grateful for Attachment in Psychotherapy, a remarkable synthesis of scientific research, clinical observation and theory, and reflection on mindfulness. Wallin not only elucidates the vast empirical literature on attachment, but also with the clarity of a natural teacher and the wisdom of a seasoned clinician makes such findings relevant to the complex challenges of practice. Therapists of all orientations will find help here in fostering a sense of safety and in facilitating their clients' emotional growth."--Nancy McWilliams, PhD, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
"No better introduction to the clinical application of attachment theory has yet been written."--Lewis Aron, PhD, Director, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University

"Wallin's understanding of attachment work and his integration of attachment theory with other modern relational perspectives are quite impressive. People are always asking me what they can read about the clinical implications of attachment work, and now I know what to tell them. This book is an amazing accomplishment. It is definitely my favorite book on this topic."--L. Alan Sroufe, PhD, William Harris Professor of Child Development, University of Minnesota

"John Bowlby would have been delighted with this book, which links the biological imperatives of attachment to the dialogues that define the self and the nature of key relationships. He would also have been delighted to see his theory articulated as a guide to psychotherapy in such an eminently readable manner. The use of attachment as this kind of guide is a rich vein that has just begun to be tapped. This book is a therapist's journey into that richness."--Susan M. Johnson, EdD, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
"This timely book provides an important advance in the examination of the implications of attachment theory for psychotherapy. Synthesizing theory and research on attachment theory and affect regulation with recent developments in psychoanalysis, Wallin provides a rich conceptual scaffolding for understanding the role that the therapeutic relationship plays in the change process. He also provides an intriguing perspective on the potential contributions of mindfulness practice to the cultivation of a therapeutic stance. Theoretically sophisticated and clinically enlightening, this book will be of interest to clinicians of all persuasions."--Jeremy D. Safran, PhD, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research
"Simply the best integration of key advances in attachment theory and research and their applications to psychotherapy. Complex concepts are carefully elucidated and brilliantly illustrated with clinical examples. This book is an important reference for all clinicians and students. It is a vital resource for those who are interested in how progress in our understanding of attachment processes may be applied in a clinical context."--Peter Fonagy, PhD, Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College London, UK
"This book is a remarkable achievement--a very clear yet scholarly synthesis of the latest developments in attachment theory, intersubjectivity, social neuroscience, and mindfulness. The author layers these 'maps' onto the therapy experience, and then takes the reader through the territory to emerge with a new vision of therapy. Wallin is a trustworthy guide through the complexities of clinical work where the therapy relationship itself is the intervention. A 'must read' for psychotherapists who wish to remain on top of their field, and a rich resource for clinicians in training."--Christopher K. Germer, PhD, private practice, Cambridge, Massachusetts
"Attachment in Psychotherapy advances psychotherapeutic method and theory through an innovative integration of new work in affect regulation and models of relationship. David Wallin offers a brilliant leap in realizing the clinical promise of attachment theory, a synthesis that should be required--and will be rewarding--reading for every psychotherapist."--Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of Social Intelligence

"What a delight! Wallin has written an extremely insightful, broadly integrative, clinically applicable, and highly engaging book. Keeping his personal and clinical experiences coherently in mind and using them as examples, he synthesizes recent literatures on attachment theory and research, mindfulness, mentalization, metacognition, nonverbal communication, intersubjectivity, and mechanisms of therapeutic change. The book moves deftly from clear analyses of contemporary theoretical issues to specific, well-described clinical techniques that can be used with particular clients; for example, those with a particular adult attachment pattern. The book identifies diverse theoretical and empirical advances that, in Wallin’s skillful hands, fit together beautifully, deepening our understanding of the human mind, its relational context, and its transformation in psychotherapy."--Phillip R. Shaver, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis

"A well-written, easy-to-read, clinically relevant, and particularly pragmatic application of recent science to a variety of clinical problems."--Allan N. Schore, PhD, author of Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self

"R.D. Laing opened one of his less enduring works with the warning: 'Few books today are forgivable.' Well, here's one to celebrate. If you practice psychotherapy and you read it, your patients stand to benefit. And, as an impressive synthesis of research and practice, it joins a handful of books that truly belong to this century rather than the previous one....We can be grateful that this book has arrived. It is much more than forgivable. It seems indispensable."--British Journal of Psychiatry
(British Journal of Psychiatry 2007-03-08)

"Takes on the huge task of integrating many aspects of contemporary research theory with clinical practice....A good resource for experienced clinicians."--Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
(Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 2007-03-08)

"Wallin presents a thorough and research-based explanation of how attachment theory can explain change and growth within psychotherapy and, importantly, how counselors can use attachment theory to guide practice decisions....Wallin's book provides both an introduction and an in-depth examination of attachment theory and some of the therapeutic implications arising from this seminal and unfolding theory....Wallin organizes the book in an interesting and readable fashion....I heartily recommend [this book]. The writing is engaging and clear, and the author takes great care to support his arguments. Further, Wallin clearly shows the capacity to think in an integrative and holistic manner. I believe most readers will find that they have a deeper understanding and appreciation for attachment theory and how psychotherapy can positively modify insecure attachment styles. I appreciate how Wallin integrates theory with clinical work; his arguments are easy to follow and deserve respect....Readers can expect to stretch their thinking from reading this book; Wallin's approach is both interesting and digestible."--Clinical Social Work Review
(Clinical Social Work Review 2007-03-08)

"Wallin nicely links attachment theory to other conceptual, spiritual, and clinical arenas, and illustrates complex concepts with relevant vignettes....Wallin's book is well written, and provides interesting elaboration on attachment based practice while integrating concepts from a variety of fields....It is highly recommended for mental health professionals."--Psychoanalytic Social Work
(Psychoanalytic Social Work 2007-03-08)

About the Author

David J. Wallin, PhD, private practice, Mill Valley and Albany, CA, USA

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars relevant , insightful and timely 10 Sep 2007
This is an extraordinary book, both in terms of its content and the form in which that content is delivered. It is the most readable, clear, and accessible account I know of concerning the relationship between childhood development and the psychological development in adulthood that therapy aims to encourage. In making bridges between the original attachment relationships in childhood and the new attachment in psychotherapy, Dr. Wallin brings in studies of neuroscience, trauma, and mindfulness. In so doing he clarifies how therapy actually works. I believe this is a book of enormous value for therapists, and those working in psychodynamic fields such as counsellors, drama therapists and staff development speicialists. Wallin discusses his work with patients in a self-revealing and thoughtful way that gives a sense of the complexity and challenge of the work of a therapist. Highly recommended.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars helpful on so many levels 16 Mar 2010
As a psychotherapist in private practice this book has given me a new lease of life. Its not as if I haven't read, studied, even taught attachment theory, but in the past year,with the combination of listening to Dan Siegel's CDsThe Neurobiology of "We" (Sounds True Aduio Learning Course) followed by reading Wallins wonderful book, something finally clicked in my brain and heart. It is becoming possible to learn in a different way, with the support of these incredibly valuable and generous resources, and therefore to understand some aspects of my own attachment history, with compassion and real emotional/mental shifts. I am beginning to bring a new spaciousness and deeper insights (particularly around my blind spots) into my work with clients....which makes my work more exciting for me and I hope is making a difference to my clients as well! I am constantly nagging my supervisees to read it and meanwhile I pick this book up frequently, often reading bits out loud to my partner... and it is now festooned with brightly coloured postits marking special paragraphs... so it resembles a sort of christmas tree. In fact the last time I was reading it I felt inspired to invite David Wallin to Scotland to teach, so .... watch this space.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attachment in Psychotherapy 16 April 2011
By Sarah
I found this book informative and insightful and would recommend it to anyone working with clients who have early attachment issues. I thought that the author skillfully included his own personal experience as a psychotherapist over the last 20 - 30 years so that I gained insight from direct client experience. He also stressed the relationship of therapist and client and refers to that when tackling each of the varying difficulties of attachment pain.Attachment in Psychotherapy
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiration coming to London 31 Mar 2010
I was so inspired by David Wallin's book, that I was determined to learn more from him. We are now arranging a lecture and study day/workshop to be given by David Wallin, to take place on the evening of 23rd July and Saturday 24th July. The lecture will be sponsored by The Cancer Counselling Trust, and will take place in Central London. Read the book, and you will definitely want to put these dates in your diary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and absorbing 19 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Detailed and insightful, yet easy to read, this is an informative and absorbing book. Useful for psychotherapists and anyone who wants to learn more about themselves!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attachment in Psychotherapy 9 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is particularly useful as it describes the origins of attachment and covers how it' been researched across cultures. I like the way in which is includes somatic self and emotional self thus connecting physiology with attachment and it brings together mindfulness. As a psychotherapist I find this book readable and informative.
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