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“Attackments:" Subjugation, Shame, and the Attachment to Painful Affects & Objects

Richard Chefetz, MD

Friday, June 1, 2018 9:30AM-1PM

9-9:30 Check-in, continental breakfast

Fees and Continuing Education Credit Hours

Regular fee $90
WSP Current Member $60
WSP Current Student $15 (Other students please contact the Administrative Office)

3 CE/CME Awarded



Infant attachment styles are emergent responses to threatened loss of a caretaker. The pattern displayed provides an intuitive and emotionally sophisticated set of behaviors designed to keep a caretaker in proximity by reducing threat to the emotional stability of the caretaker. The four standard patterns of infant behavior, secure, anxious-ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized-disoriented correspond to parental behavior that is secure, preoccupied, dismissive, and alternately frightened/frightening/unresponsive, respectively. However, there is no limit to the number of matching enduring styles of behavioral responses that may occur between child and parent.

In this three-hour workshop we will explore ways in which interpersonal cruelty, abusiveness, humiliation, subjugation, and other modes of painful relating contribute to attachment styles that are routinely attacking in the misguided normalcy of their misery. These attackments contribute to psychotherapeutic experiences that enact provocative behaviors with clinicians. However, these patterns may be the best way in which a deeply wounded person can tolerate being in proximity to another human being, even if only for a psychotherapy. Sadly, and fortuitously, these painful relational constellations exist; sad because they hurt, and fortuitous because there is relating that may evolve into something less problematic when attackments can be idenitified.

Case vignettes will be used to illustrate the clinical patterns and evolving work. Participants are encouraged to bring their challenging cases for discussion.


9:30 Welcome
9:35-11 Presentation
11:30-1 Further discussion


1. Describe the parental contribution to each of the four major
infant attachment styles and their clinical relevance to adult
psychotherapy and the exploration of a traumatic past.
2. Explain how "attackment" describes a shift from proximity
seeking in the attachment paradigm to guaranteeing distance
when domination-submission, power and control, dynamics
overwhelm the interpersonal world of a child


Online registration is now closed.

Cancellations and Refunds

Refunds will be made for cancellations received at the School office in writing at least 10 days before the seminar date and are subject to a non-refundable administrative fee of $50.

Who should attend?

The workshop is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, physicians, medical students, and other graduate students.


The Washington School of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Washington School of Psychiatry maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The School is approved by the Social Work Board of the State of Maryland as a provider of continuing education for social workers in DC, MD, VA and WV.

The Washington School of Psychiatry has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6388. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Washington School of Psychiatry is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is accredited by MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Washington School of Psychiatry designates each session for a maximum of _3 AMA PRA Category I Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product.