Attachment Theory and Psychosis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Psychosis is characterised by severe and distressing changes in self experience. The individual experiences a pervasive sense of interpersonal threat combined with a sense of vulnerability, which undermines basic assumptions of safety, security, intimacy and attachment. Psychosis, as a disorder, signifies, stigmatising negative life trajectories generating feelings of hopelessness or triggering defensive denial and sealing over. Emotional recovery from psychosis is governed by an integration of affective experience, interpersonal adaptation, and constructive help seeking in the face of crisis. A central theory that has been developed to explain the link between emotional distress, adaptation and help seeking is attachment theory. Attachment theory has been one of the most influential concepts in psychology, informing developmental models of human behaviour and interaction as well as approaches to psychopathology and psychotherapy. We argue that attachment theory also has the potential to aid our understanding of key processes in the development and maintenance of psychosis (Liotti & Gumley, 2009). Following a brief description of attachment classification in infancy and adulthood, this chapter will describe the way in which attachment theory can inform our understanding of psychosis. This will be followed by a description of how concepts and ideas from attachment theory can be used to help facilitate recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow Attachment Theory can Inform Clinical Practice
Subtitle of host publicationA practical guide
EditorsBerry Katherine, Danquah AM
ISBN (Print)9780415687416
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Attachment Theory and Psychosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this