The basis of Cambridge Centre of Attachment’s approach to intervention is the belief that understanding parents and children; their histories and relationships, should be at the heart of therapeutic (or any other) intervention. Attachment theory suggests that most human behaviour, even the most disordered, make sense when the context in which it developed is made clear. Behaviour that might be challenging or even destructive in one context might be self protective in another, and care must be taken to seek to suppress or ‘get rid’ of an attachment strategy that might have kept an individual safe, and may even still help them be or feel safe, and hold themselves together in the world.
In addition, different interventions work in different ways and affect different people differently. ‘One size fits all’ therapies and blanket interventions do not do families any favours, and parents are frequently blamed for not cooperating with interventions that do not suit them. The wrong therapy to the wrong person at the wrong time can make things worse rather than better.
This being said, human beings have incredible adaptive capabilities, which can be harnessed for change. CCA look to understand both the resilience and the nature of difficulties in family relationships, and recommend work that builds upon existing strengths. We believe it is worth taking the time to understand first before intervening, so that any intervention planned is necessary, helpful, and appropriate to a particular family, and their relationships. In particular we look to understand the attachment strategies of both adults and children, and the ways in which these help or hinder family relationships, and fit their current situation. We look at issues of unresolved trauma and loss; past experiences that may be undermining an individual or a families ability to manage their situation in the present. We also look at reflective functioning, the ability to understand behaviour in terms of mental states, which opens up the ability to see problems in relationships and effect change.
Our recommendations look first at what might be available locally, as well as work carried out by associated professionals, if appropriate. We also are able to offer both Video Interaction Guidance or Parent Infant Therapeutic work (see pages, left) ourselves, should we consider these appropriate. We examine the whole situation; sometimes environmental or other changes, or access to universal services, may achieve more than formal ‘therapy’. Taking the time to understand families before intervening may incur further costs, but is likely to be less expensive in the long run, as well as result in better outcomes for children and their families.