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Avoidant Personality Disorder In The Light of Attachment and Psychotherapy

Mojca Hojnik
Don Bosko Maribor

Attachment theory emphasizes that the quality of attachment depends on the relationship between the child and caregiver. When parents are a source of security, support and consistently respond to a child's needs, encourage secure attachment. Children perceive themselves as loved and worthy persons and others as responsible persons. When the child doesn`t have a safe environment, and parents are a source of fear, discomfort or danger, the child develops insecure attachments, perceives himself as unworthy, inappropriate, and perceives others as rejective or abusive. During adolescence, such perceptions only strengthen. An insecure attachment could reinforce various psychic constructs of self-worth, panics, fears which may manifest later in adulthood as avoidant personality disorder. Main characteristics are persistent patterns of social inhibition, intense sense of insecurity, inadequacy, anxiety, and an excessive sensitivity to negative criticism. In this paper we will present an example from clinical psychotherapeutic practice according to relational family therapy model, presenting an example and analysis of the therapeutic process with a client from a dysfunctional family with established insecure attachment and avoidant personality disorder. The emphasis is on the regulation of affects and the establishment of a safe therapeutic relationship, which is an analogy of safe attachment in a relationship.



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