attachment & Psychopathology

Overview Course: Attachment and Psychopathology

Family Relations Institute

The five figures below provide a model of the increasing array of possible strategies that individuals may use at varied periods of development. (Click each model for a larger version.)
©Patricia Crittenden 2001

infancy attachment

Attachment in infancy

preschool attachment

Attachment in pre-school

school age attachment

Attachment in school-age children

adolescence attachment

Attachment in adolescence

adult attachment

Adult attachment

This course introduces the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) of attachment and adaptation and ties it to risk assessment and treatment. The DMM differs from the usual ABC plus "disorganization" model of attachment by (1) focusing on differences within the risk group, (2) highlighting a strengths approach to working with parents and children at risk, and (3) presuming that maturation and development increase individuals' potential for adaptation.

The course describes an array of patterns of attachment relationships and strategies for self-protection. The course focuses on development from infancy to adulthood (including old age). It emphasizes the process of adaptation and those developmental pathways that carry risk for psychopathology. At each age, the approaches to prevention and treatment are considered.

The model used is Crittenden's Dynamic-Maturational Model of attachment and adaptation, (DMM), an expansion of the Bowlby-Ainsworth model to ages beyond infancy. The DMM is particularly relevant to individuals who are in at-risk situations, have been exposed to danger, display disturbed or maladaptive behavior, or are diagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder. The course is also relevant to longitudinal approaches to attachment, to the development of emotional and behavioral disorder, and to cross-generational issues. A particular emphasis in the course is cultural influences on the distribution of the patterns.

The course is structured developmentally and consists of lecture with slides, videotapes, and interview transcripts to demonstrate the patterns and principles of development. A set of readings and exercises, tied to each day's material, are offered. In addition, an introduction is given to each of the DMM assessments of pattern of attachment.

These include:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Language: This course is offered in English with English materials. A corresponding course is available in Italian with Italian materials. The course is being developed in Spanish. Courses in successive translation necessarily take longer or cover less material.

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