Attachment, Neurobiology and the New Science of Psychotherapy
Covid-19 vaccines are delivered on a variety of ‘platforms’, traditional and innovative — all aiming at a common underlying mechanism of protection, i.e. stimulating the development of anti-spike-protein antibodies and T-cell activation. Similarly, scholars have tried to delineate the common factors which underpin the 570 (and counting) varieties of psychotherapy, many of which, as the ‘dodo-bird verdict’ suggests, can be highly effective, but none consistently demonstrably more so than another.
I shall argue that attachment theory and Friston’s Free Energy Principle provide an evidence base, rationale and theoretical framework for understanding the transmutative power of psychotherapies. In the ‘duet for one’ and built-in ambiguities of the psychotherapeutic relationship, these include enhanced ‘granularity’ of entero- and extero-perceptions, an expanded range of ’top-down’ generative models, and facilitated agency by which outdated models and repressed feelings can be revised and transcended. The result is greater flexibility, range of choices, and resilience.
- Holmes, J. & Slade, A. (2017) Attachment in Clinical Practice. SAGE
- Holmes, J. (2020) The Brain has a Mind of its Own: Attachment, neurobiology, and the new science of psychotherapy. Confer Books.
- Thomson, R., Simpson, J. & Berlin, L. (2021) (Eds.) Attachment : the fundamental questions. Guilford.
- Attachment Theory & Psychotherapy: An Introduction
About the Speaker:
Professor Jeremy Holmes
For 35 years, Professor Holmes was Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Psychotherapist at University College London and then in North Devon, and Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 1998 until 2002. He is visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, and lectures nationally and internationally. In addition to 200+ peer-reviewed papers and chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and attachment theory, his books include John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy, Exploring In Security, The Therapeutic Imagination, Attachment in Therapeutic Practice, and most recently: “The Brain has a Mind of Its Own”.
Professor Holmes received the Bowlby-Ainsworth Founders Award in 2009. In his spare time, he enjoys making music, gardening, engaging in green politics and spending time with his grandchildren.