Written by Deborah D. Gray
Reviewed by Kathryn Metro
Deborah Gray has written a compelling and easy to follow book to educate therapists on how to strengthen the quality of attachments when working with clients struggling with a variety of attachment difficulties. The book is geared towards therapists looking to learn more about attachment. The author’s open and precise descriptions of therapy sessions allow readers without extensive knowledge of attachment theory to better understand and treat disrupted attachments.
Gray organizes her book into two parts. Part I examines attachment patterns and factors that alter them, as well as highlighting successful attachment- based interventions. In Part II, Gray uses her experience as an attachment-focused therapist to describe therapy processes and plans that prove successful for her clients. Part II includes chapters on children, adults and adolescents with attachment issues, the specific needs of highly stressed families, spiritual attachment figures, and a discussion of the use of play in attachment relationships.
The author begins with a review of relevant attachment theory and describes how attachment styles are commonly affected by factors like trauma and emotional regulation skills. She details the importance of everyday activities at home that strengthen attachment. Gray explicitly tells parents how to interact with their children lovingly in order to establish an emotionally open relationship. The author also discusses the value of expressions of affection, like embraces or cheek stroking, in attachment relationships.
Gray’s book addresses a variety of families and how to approach working with clients with different psychological or cultural backgrounds. The author includes a section about working with families who are highly stressed due to trauma or other factors. Gray also recognizes that, for some clients, God can be an attachment figure, and she writes a chapter to assist therapists in conversations about attachment relationships with spiritual figures.
Gray’s advice throughout the book is useful for therapists working with children or parents with troubled histories. The book contributes a trauma-informed perspective on attachment, which is sensitive to different cultures and age groups. The use of clearly described therapy sessions, specific methods, and varying suggestions for people from a variety of backgrounds makes Gray’s work especially compelling for clinicians.
Deborah D. Gray has a clinical practice, Nurturing Attachments, where she specializes in attachment, grief and trauma issues in children. Her passion is to help strengthen and develop close relationships among families. In 2015, she received a lifetime achievement award from the International ATTACh organization for her contributions to the attachment field.
Kathryn Metro studies Applied Psychology at New York University and is set to graduate in 2021. She has interned in classrooms in the Greater New York City area, and has interests in communications, Spanish, and working with children.
Gray, D. (2019). Promoting healthy attachments: Hands-on techniques to use with your clients. NY: W. W. Norton & Company.