Anxious-resistant Attachment Patterns

Now let me come to Bowlby’s specific patterns of anxious attachment. The relevance of these for probation work is I think, best illustrated by case examples. It may be that ‘anxious-resistant’ patterns are more characteristic of psychiatric patients than of offenders, and certainly the client that comes most readily to mind was involved with the psychiatric services as well as with the probation service. Mrs Sukova had shoplifted and was placed on probation. Very soon, the supervising officer found herself drawn into an intense relationship with her. In between appointments, Mrs Sukova would be greatly distressed, often phoning the office in tears. Frequently those phone calls would come from public call boxes, with Mrs Sukova, distressed and tearful, apparently stranded away from home. For a while the officer would chase off to ‘rescue’ Mrs Sukova, until it became clear that the helplessness was more apparent than real. The officer’s holidays were particularly difficult. On one occasion a bemused taxi driver delivered Mrs Sukova to the office when she was still dressed in her nighties and slippers. The interviews however were uncomfortable experiences, with frequent arguments, the officer finding herself telling Mrs Sukova off for her behaviour, and facing some angry evasiveness if she tried to focus the interview on some of the problems Mrs Sukova presented.

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