Although I work eclectically, I would describe myself primarily as "an
attachment therapist." I believe that a person's early attachment
experiences hold the key to both their pain and their healing. To
me, it is the attachment paradigm, identified by John Bowlby and
Mary Ainsworth, that is the most useful way of assessing any good
relationship, particularly a therapeutic one.
Many people who seek out psychotherapy, do so because their early
attachment experiences with their parents or caregivers, left them
feeling lonely, unseen, and mistrustful of others. I believe that in
order for genuine healing to occur, these attachment traumas have
to be addressed, understood, and experienced differently.
Psychotherapy offers a perfect opportunity to do this.
The issue then becomes, how can someone feel safe being open
and vulnerable in a relationship, if what they learned from their
earliest relational experiences was that, they would be abandoned,
punished, ignored, shamed, or somehow wounded? The answer is,
they approach relationships very carefully, at their own pace, and
with help from someone who knows the territory.
In all of my work, the most important aspect is that the client,
couple, or group, feel safe with me. When people feel safe in a
relationship, the possibilities for growth are endless, so I make this
my first priority. This may take some time, particularly if there are
issues around trust that must be addressed. Many people are living
with very negative voices in their minds, telling them the same
destructive messages that they might have heard as a child.
In psychotherapy we replace those harsh messages, with gentler,
more compassionate ones.
My job is to be an objective listener, who can give a more accurate
reflection of who someone truly is. I believe that we are all born
open and hard-wired for love and connection. When we are carrying
pain and fear because of trauma that we have experienced, who we
really are, gets obscured behind the defenses that we MUST HAVE
in order to cope.
When another person witnesses all parts of us without judgment, we
can then experience all of who we are, our authentic selves. When
the therapist can be empathic with the client's overwhelming
feelings, these feelings have less potency, and this serves as a
model for the client how to more compassionately handle their
feelings in the future.
Copyright Philippa Barr 2016 All Rights
I have been practicing psychotherapy for more than twenty years,
working with all kinds of people, around so many different issues.
I believe that my strengths lie primarily in working with adults,
couples and in small groups.