Masters in the Art of Defence: Working with Avoidant Attachment

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Date(s) - Saturday 17th March, 2018
10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Brighthelm Centre

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UPDATE (16/3/18, 4.30pm): We are aware that light snow showers are forecast for the Brighton/Sussex area for Saturday. We are taking the view that the weather will not be at a level sufficient to disrupt our conference. The day will go ahead as planned. We will post further updates here when necessary.

UPDATE (17/3/18, 7am): There is no snow in Brighton, but it is very cold. Currently 3 degrees. Delegates are advised to bring an extra layer of clothing!

Saturday 17th March 2018

Speakers: Linda Cundy and Graham Music

Venue: The Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD

Schedule: 10am to 4.30pm (Registration at 9.30am)

Course Fees:

  • Early bird £105 (before 17th February; £125 thereafter).
  • There are a limited number of *Bring-A-Friend* discounted places – buy 2 tickets for this event for just £170 (£85 each), instead of the normal price for 2 tickets of £210. When these discounted places run out the ticket option will no longer be available. Update – all Bring-A-Friend tickets are SOLD OUT.
  • There are a limited number of places at a 20% discount for student counsellors/psychotherapists and newly qualified therapists (2016 or later graduation). Please email BTP for details. Proof of status will be required.
  • All delegate places include ample lunch, all refreshments, and CPD Certificate.


Course Description:

This one-day conference event with Linda Cundy and Graham Music promises to provide you with a thorough grounding in the ways that avoidant attachment develops and how it presents in children and adults. Individuals who have become avoidantly attached can present therapists with some of their most challenging clients and patients. They may be dismissive, angry, aloof, persuasively cognitive, and full of shame. They may be hard to engage, or difficult to really like. Our speakers will explore the ways in which the avoidant defence manifests clinically and the ways clinicians can work effectively with individuals who are so defended.


Linda Cundy is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice. She has run courses on attachment at the Wimbledon Guild since 2000. These have now been formalised into a Post Graduate Diploma in Attachment-Based Therapy, and Linda is the course director and lead tutor. She has also taught for two decades on psychotherapy and counselling courses.

A book, Love in the Age of the Internet: Attachment in the Digital Era was written / edited by Linda and published in 2015 by Karnac, and Anxiously Attached: Understanding and Working with Preoccupied Attachment is due for publication during 2017.

Graham Music (PhD) is Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics and an adult psychotherapist in private practice. His publications include Nurturing Natures (2011), Affect and Emotion (2001), and The Good Life (2014).

He has a particular interest in exploring the interface between developmental findings and clinical work. Formerly Associate Clinical Director of the Tavistock’s child and family department, he has managed a range of services concerned with the aftermath of child maltreatment and neglect, and organised many community based psychotherapy services.

He has recently been working clinically with forensic cases at The Portman Clinic. He teaches, lectures and supervises on a range of trainings in Britain and abroad.



Session One: Graham Music (including Conference Introduction)
“Avoidance, cut-offness and deadness”

This talk will examine the developmental roots of avoidance, in terms of attachment styles, and look at factors such as early emotional neglect, and what we have learnt from recent developmental understandings and neurobiology which can be clinically significant

Session Two: Linda Cundy
“The Inner World of Avoidant Individuals: Masters in the Art of Defence”

Avoidant individuals appear self-sufficient, aloof, and cut off from their emotions. They may be full of anger and lash out at others, or are self-controlled and perfectionist, demanding high standards of themselves and other people. They struggle to make and maintain intimate connections with others, including their therapists. The core difficulty is often shame: they are not acceptable to themselves.

This presentation highlights the wide range of defences employed by “dismissing” adults and the anxieties behind the defences. It will also explore the internal dynamic – the person’s relationship with him- or herself – that develops from an avoidant attachment in early life. DVD clips will be used to illustrate.

Session Three: Graham Music
“Avoiding avoidance and neglecting neglect”

This talk will focus on some clinical implications of working with more cut-off people, and will use clinical examples, including of children, to flesh out the issues and clinical challenges.

Session Four: Linda Cundy
“Masters in the Art of Defence II: In Therapy”

Dismissing individuals are wary of therapy. Resistance may be evident through terminating too soon, cancelling appointments, avoiding emotions and persuading the therapist to collude in focusing on cognition and ‘doing’ rather than feeling and being. Or they may simply be “no trouble at all” – undemanding and easily overlooked.

From the perspective of contemporary attachment theory, this talk will focus on assessment, presentation in therapy, and potential pitfalls. It will propose specific aims and areas of focus in our work with clients who can be difficult to engage, to warm to or to hold onto.

Followed by Panel Discussion and Q&A Session


The Venue

You can get full details about the venue for this event by clicking on the name of the location (highlighted in blue) next to the venue map at the top of this page. This will take you to a page with full details about the venue.

Reserve List

Bookings will close when this course is fully booked. You can add you name to the Reserve List by sending an email with your contact telephone number to info@brightontherapypartnership, . You will then be notified if a place becomes available for you.


This event is fully booked.

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