Emotions and Attachments
As cited in Dallos & Smart, 2010, (Bowen, 1971 & Haley, 1973) have stated that the utmost distressing and perplexing condition for a child happens when he or she is confronted with parental fights or when dragged to take sides in the parental conflicts. Throughout the session, although Danny expressed a positive attachment towards his dad, he did not show any anger towards his mother and seemed to be triangulated between his parents (Bowen, 1978). Danny appeared to be considerate with both his parents. This aspect was obvious in the latter part of the session, as Danny was silent when Susan asked him whether he did not want to live with her. Danny seems to be thus caught in a triangulated position where he exhibited confusion brought about by his attachment towards both his parents. This triangulated position may be causing a disorientation and an uncertainty within himself, leading Danny to confusion and sadness, which, consequently, might contribute to his difficulty in revealing his feelings.
Although Danny and his sister were living with their grandparents, they lacked the secure attachment from their own parents and, in addition to that, Danny revealed that his grandparents always criticized their father. This might have again contributed to the confused mental state of Danny. Danny’s verbal and non-verbal communications show his attachment towards his father. In the session, Danny pushed his sister to the middle to sit close to his dad. The seating position Danny adopted with his parents and sister, exposed his attachment and the need to be closer to his father. Though the secret phone calls that Danny made to John came as a shock to Susan, this again strongly portrays Danny’s attachment to John.
Susan and John’s attachment with their family of origin (Bowen, 1978), needs to be further explored in the future sessions. Susan’s attachment with her parents might clarify the complex family dynamics that might have moulded her disciplinary attitude towards Danny. Hence, such a systemic perspective may assist to expose the link between Susan’s parental attachment styles and Danny’s problem and attachment (Dallos & Smart, 2010). Susan mentioned in the session that her parents were good in keeping rules in the family and that she always acted according to the rules. Consequently, this perspective needs to be further explored in the coming sessions to understand Susan’s attachment styles.
Danny’s behavioural issues at school and home may have occurred because of the absence of his dad. The security of the father figure is indispensable in the developmental stage Danny is going through. This may have been further exacerbated by the disciplinary attitude of Susan. The relationship between Susan and Danny appear to be that of a pursuer and distancer (Dallos, 2015), which again worsens Danny’s disobedient behaviour. Danny’s attention seeking and unruly behaviour at school and home may also stem from the perception that only his father can understand his predicament. Danny might have endured insecure attachment in his early age while his parents were going through separation.
The transcript and analysis of the session has helped the therapist to understand the complexity of a family session. The therapist also learned how important and difficult it is to hold the environment when there are multiple clients. Although it was a less reactive session, the therapist, after analysing the session, understood that the tantrums and troublesome behaviors of the children could startle the therapist. On examining the transcript, therapist also understood that she was able to act as a traffic cop in that situation, thus allowing the flow of the session rather than getting derailed. The analysis of the session also revealed that the pace of the session seemed to be comfortable for the clients. On the contrary, the therapist’s unskilful usage of words and phrases seems to have weakened the session. Also, the study of the transcript has taught the therapist to think about employing more circular questions (Dallos, 2015) to elicit better responses from the clients. Transcript analysis also aided the therapist to understand the importance of the non-verbal communications of the clients. Overall, the analysis of the transcript has given the therapist an opportunity to reflect on and there by improve her skills in the future sessions.
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