Welcome to the 22nd International Attachment Conference 2023
The conference will take place in Ulm, September 15th-17th
ONLY SECOND CHOICE?
Fathers, grandparents, foster parents, therapists, and other attachment figures in counseling, therapy, and prevention
Human beings are social creatures, who from birth seek out relationship, belonging, and attachment to people whom they encounter in their environment. In the best case, this results in a network of secure and protective attachment relationships that make healthy development possible.
From the time they are infants, children come in contact with many potential attachment figures. Fathers are increasingly engaged as attachment figures in the physical and emotional care of their children. In some cases they even become the main attachment figures, who are best able to provide protection and security for their children. However, grandparents, foster parents, daycare staff, nursery school teachers, teachers, child psychotherapists, youth welfare staff, and others have the potential to become important, frequently lifesaving, secondary attachment figures. They are engaged in caregiving and development of children, and in counseling and therapy of children, adolescents, and adults. Often these attachment figures can provide the first, corrective experience of secure attachment. They can then contribute in important ways to healthy development, especially in cases when children experience neglect and other stressful and traumatic experiences during their early years.
In a professional context, how much space may I take up in a child’s heart? Is attachment to a mother always necessary? How does a good attachment network get formed? Can there be too many attachment figures during the first years of life? How can new attachments grow and breakups or terminations of old detachments be compensated for or revived? Are attachment relationships really specific for a child, and is there a hierarchy from “best” primary attachment figure, followed by “second-best” secondary and other attachment figures? How does a child distinguish between different attachment figures in the family and when cared for by others outside the home? Are mothers always the “first choice,” and are other attachment figures automatically always “only second choice”?
Internationally renowned clinicians and researchers will discuss these topics. They will report on their own treatment and research experience, and will highlight approaches to prevention.
The conference is aimed at all who are involved in guidance, counseling, and therapy, and at specialists in medicine, psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, education, social work, politics, and the courts. It is also designed to give suggestions to specialists engaged in resilience and prevention, who can help children overcome the consequences of disordered attachment relationships, including traumatic experiences, by encouraging new attachment relationships, and hopefully prevent attachment disorders from occurring in the first place.
Karl Heinz Brisch