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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

Avoidant Attachment and the Defence Against Intimacy

A one-day seminar Led by Linda Cundy

Saturday 9 February 2019 - London

This day is about the challenge faced by people who were ignored, criticised, rejected or utterly neglected within their families of origin and who thus find it difficult to form close and lasting intimate relationships in adulthood. People who avoid close proximity to others, despite their longing for that closeness, often feel more secure and better able to manage deep feelings when they hold others apart, whether sexual partners, therapists or family members. In this one-day seminar, attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist Linda Cundy will talk about how we can understand avoidant attachment as a self-protective system that guards the self from the risk of repeated rejection, humiliation and shame. We will consider the roots of negative self-objects, which are likely to be deeply embedded aspects of the personality, and how venturing towards intimate relating can arouse deep doubts and self-hatred.

In exploring the internal object world of avoidant and dismissing adults, Linda will talk about how therapy can offer another way of relating which develops a greater sense of safety with intimacy and accommodation of the other. People who have learnt to avoid attachment can find therapy disruptive and especially challenging. We will thus consider how to notice and navigate moments when the client might retreat or shut out the therapist. Considering how to work with these defenses, picking up on possible shame and self-doubt as well as anger and frustration, are key therapeutic skills. Therapists should prepare to lose their own confidence in the countertransference, to feel de-skilled and ineffective and such hazards will be considered. Ultimately, we will ask how increased self-acceptance, and openness to the risks of loving can be developed, enabling such clients to meet their hidden need for intimacy.


Linda Cundy
Linda Cundy is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice. She has taught for 25 years on counselling and therapy trainings and is currently Lead Tutor on a Postgraduate Diploma in Attachment-Based Therapy at the Wimbledon Guild. Her book, "Love in the Age of the Internet: Attachment in the Digital Era," was published in 2015 by Karnac, and "Anxiously Attached: Understanding and Working With Preoccupied Attachment" was published in 2017 by Routledge.


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Handouts and lunch included
Self-funded: £120 (SOLD OUT)
Self-funded x 2: £200 (SOLD OUT)
Organisationally-funded: £200 (SOLD OUT)
Under 25's: £70 (SOLD OUT)
This event plus our online video package The Applications of Attachment Theory to Psychotherapy: £240 (SOLD OUT)
CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

The Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15:15 Tea
17:00 End