Transference from an Attachment Perspective: a new understanding through the lens of biological and interpersonal systems A one-day workshop with Dr Una McCluskey and Michael O’Toole London, 2 June 2018 (Saturday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
This workshop, based on the speakers’ new book, starts with the premise that our emphasis on classifying an individual’s attachment style has removed focus from what it means for a person’s physical and mental health when the goals of biological, individual and interpersonal systems are not met – or in other words, when aspects of the self fail to reach their biological goals. The workshop considers five such aspects of the self: careseeking, the caregiving self, the defensive self, the sexual self and the interest-sharing self. At the core of this workshop is the assertion that when aspects of the self get aroused, the behaviour that follows is only logically and meaningfully connected when the self-system reaches its goal. When the meaningful connections between the system and behaviour are lost – then crucial information is in an undiscovered state for the person and those around them (including the therapist). Crucially, the workshop uses this premise to extend the concept of transference from its original meaning – to explain how our clients can communicate these disconnections (between their behaviour and the arousal of particular systems), in narrative form and through the feelings they project onto the other person. Using case illustrations and discussions, we explore how, as therapists, we can not only process this narrative but also assist our clients in considering whether their behavioural and / or emotional manifestations could be linked to unprocessed material embedded in the restorative process (RP). (and how this is linked to the working of the seven interdependent biological systems that make up the RP). Specifically, we consider: Understanding the lost connection between behaviour and the underlying system that is aroused but unassuaged – dictating all transferential phenomena How non-fulfilment of biological ‘goals’ can distort transferential manifestations – obfuscating the meaning, both to the client and to the therapist Comprehending the different, yet inter-connected selves – the caregiving self, the defensive self, the sexual self and the interest-sharing self How do we interpret the workings of the restorative process, as postulated by Heard and Lake (2009) What is the ‘Relating Brain’ and how does it influence transference Overall, the workshop discusses what might constitute a therapeutic dynamic. In other words, what steps can a therapist take to facilitate the recovery of clients’ lost function, competence and a sense of real-meaning in their lives.
About the speaker Dr Una McCluskey is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of York and a trainer, consultant and supervisor in the model she has created for working with the dynamics of attachment in adult life. This model is relevant to individual, group and organisational development. Best known for her extensive research in the field of empathic attunement in adult psychotherapy, Dr McCluskey introduced the concept that the ‘offer to treat’ arouses the dynamics of attachment in both the careseeker and the caregiver. This concept forms part of the emerging therapeutic model called ‘Exploratory Goal-Corrected Psychotherapy’, (EGCP). She has published numerous articles in the field of couple, family and group psychotherapy and is the author of: To be Met as a Person: The Dynamics of Attachment in Therapeutic Encounters, Karnac Books, 2005, and Attachment Therapy for Adolescents and Adults: Theory and Practice Post Bowlby, Karnac Books, 2009 (co-authored with Dorothy Heard and Brain Lake). Dr McCluskey regularly speaks at a number of international conferences, including the American Group Psychotherapy Conference. In June 2014, she gave a keynote address at the International Conference on Dementia, ‘Risky Business’ in Sydney. She was presented with the VIDA Award by the Group Psychotherapy Association of Southern California in appreciation and recognition of her contribution to the field of psychotherapy. Michael O’Toole is a Registered Counselling Psychologist and Psychotherapist with 20 years of experience. While working in the social services sector for 12 years, he developed his expertise in working with men in the areas of recovery from addiction, domestic violence, sexual offending and other related issues using Attachment Theory. This culminated in the publication of his first paper ‘The Phenomenon of Silence is Psychotherapy’ which was published in the Attachment Journal New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis in November 2015. Michael has been working with Dr Una McCluskey in the area of Exploratory Goal Corrected Psychotherapy for the past ten years. Apart from being the co-trainer, he is also currently co-authoring a book with Dr McCluskey: To be Met as a Person: The Relating Brian, Transference and Countertransference from an Attachment Perspective. His most recent paper entitled ‘Mother behold thy Son, Son behold thy Mother; Mothers and Sons Attachment in an Irish context’ has just been accepted for publication. Michael has taught and lectured for many years in the University of Limerick, on the Masters course in Psychotherapy, and more recently on the Diploma and Masters courses in Humanistic Psychotherapy.

Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.