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Attachment and Psychotherapy: Matching Interventions With Developmental Literature During the Preschool Years

18 April 2008


This dissertation focuses on examining how well the current attachment intervention

literature corresponds to the developmental risks, needs, and problems

identified in a previously defined developmental model, during the preschool years. I

first define the question undertaken, clarify the purpose of this dissertation, and introduce

the methodology used for comparison to the intervention literature. Four main areas of

intervention are discussed: interventions in the peer group, interventions with teachers or

other caregivers, interventions within the family, and finally, interventions with emotions

and models of the self. I then address questions that the clinical literature indicated weIf~

poorly covered, as well as future directions for research and practice in meeting these


It appears from the review that the attachment-clinical literature for preschool age

children is still in a rather youthful state, awaiting further clinical application of the

developmental literature already advanced. There is a moderately comprehensive overlap

between the developmental and clinical literature revealing interventions in all domains

evaluated. Some are elaborated well, while others present little information regarding

clinical approach. I find the bulk of the intervention literature falls within the family

context, consistent with similar trends I in the developmental literature. There is a

. particularly strong focus on changing internal working models, and forms of parent-child

11 intervention are the most prominent intervention. The current state of the clinical attachment

literature is judged informative and likely very helpful to the clinician hoping

to extend attachment based psychotherapy toward preschool aged children, but because

of the clinical literature's limitations, there is the need for reliance upon the current

developmental literature to further guide clinical process.


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