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September 28, 2021 60 mins
Dr. Aaron Black is a Fellow and Board Member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and an instructor on faculty at the Center for Group Studies in NYC. Dr. Black bases his group work on Attachment Theory. He describes how insecure attachment patterns that develop in childhood typically manifest as dysfunction in our adult relationships. He believes that, using the group as a secure base, people can change their attachment style through ongoing group therapy and emerge as securely attached individuals, able to trust, regulate their emotions and connect more intimately with others. Dr. Black supports the idea that addiction is often the result of insecure attachment and discusses how traditional addiction treatment frequently falls short. We discuss how 12 Step groups frequently refer to anger as a character defect and discourage its expression in early recovery. Dr. Black explains the importance of learning how to express angry feelings in recovery and how suppression or denial of anger can harm ourselves and our relationships. We offer multiple examples of how group therapy can operate as a learning lab for people in recovery to practice identifying difficult feelings inside themselves and toward others and practice putting these feelings into words. He suggests that group therapy helps create more resilient individuals by inoculating them against criticism, fear of rejection, frustration, and disappointment. Dr. Black also offers examples of how group therapy based on Attachment Theory can help a person recover parts of themselves that were suppressed or lost, recover longings they didn't know they had and emerge more compassionate toward themselves and others.
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