This presentation locates understanding of psychosis from an attachment perspective within its historical context, present concerns about the treatment of the mentally ill and explores how attachment theory can inform future understanding of the mentally ill. Disorganised attachment is argued to be intimately linked with psychosis despite Bowlby’s early modesty about how attachment theory could inform our understanding of psychosis. Attachment theory’s stress on the importance of grief, separation, trauma and violence are highlighted as causal factors in the aetiology of mental illness, and important issues to address as part of the healing or recovery. The experience of psychosis are conceptualised within their relational and social context, and therapeutic relationships and social change are proposed as being the treatments of choice.
Kate Brown is a Bowlby Centre trained UKCP registered attachment based psychoanalytic psychotherapist who started her career in therapeutic communities working with adults with a variety of mental health difficulties, and with adolescents individually and in groups. She has worked with young mothers and in mainstream community psychiatric services with patients’ families. She has also provided time limited therapy with former servicemen who had experienced complex trauma. She teaches at The Bowlby Centre and has also delivered freelance training. Kate completed an MSc in psychotherapeutic approaches in mental health in 2012. She is a member of the Attachment Journal editorial group, former chair of the clinical forum at The Bowlby Centre. Kate has recently begun a PhD in the psychoanalysis department at Middlesex University in the history of the therapeutic community movement and the treatment of trauma. Kate has recently moved to Bournemouth where she will be developing a private practice.