This book brings together the latest knowledge from attachment research and neuroscience to provide a new approach to treating trauma for therapists from different professional disciplines and diverse theoretical backgrounds. The field of trauma suffers from fragmentation as brands of therapy proliferate in relation to a multiplicity of psychiatric disorders. This fragmentation calls for a fresh clinical approach to treating trauma. Pinpointing at once the problem and potential solution, the author places the experience of being psychologically alone in unbearable emotional states at the heart of trauma in attachment relationships. This trauma results from a failure of mentalizing, that is, empathic attunement to emotional distress. Psychotherapy offers an opportunity for healing by restoring mentalizing, that is, fostering psychological attunement in the context of secure attachment relationships-in the psychotherapy relationship and in other attachment relationships. The book gives a unique overview of common attachment patterns in childhood and adulthood, setting the stage for understanding attachment trauma, which is most conspicuous in maltreatment but also more subtly evident in early and repeated failures of attunement in attachment relationships.
Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., is the Helen Malsin Palley Chair in Mental Health Research; Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine; and Senior Staff Psychologist in The Menninger Clinic, Houston, Texas.