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Attachment and Reflective Function. Prof Howard Steele

In this lecture Professor Howard Steele explores the concept of reflective functioning (RF) and its links with attachment theory. He outlines the history of and procedure for using the adult attachment interview (AAI) to rate a person's quality of reflective functioning; coding their employment of mental state words, thoughts, feelings, appraisals and beliefs as they make sense of their attachment experiences. Revisiting the example of the 'London Parent-Child Project', from seminar 3, he outlines how this project revealed how parents-to-be's reflective functioning had an observable long term influence on their child's developmental trajectory. He tracks how the project's discovery of the concept of reflective functioning led to the development of contemporary mentalisation-based treatments. Throughout the lecture Prof. Steele reviews how compromised reflective functioning is seen in adults with mental health difficulties and in adults incarcerated for violent crimes.

About the Speaker:

Prof Howard Steele, PhD, is Professor and Chair of Clinical Psychology, at the New School for Social Research in New York City. At the New School. Prof. Steele co-directs (with Dr. M. Steele) the Center for Attachment Research, Howard Steele is also senior and founding editor of the international journal, Attachment and Human Development, and founding president of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies, Together with Miriam Steele, and Anne Murphy, Howard Steele helped pioneer and test the efficacy of the Group Attachment-Based Intervention (GABI), currently being delivered in all five boroughs of New York City, supported by the Administration of Children’s Services, New York City.

Howard Steele is among the 2017 Bowlby-Ainsworth Awardees so recognized by the Center for Mental Health Promotion and the New York Attachment Consortium. H. Steele is editor (with Miriam Steele) of the 2008 book, Clinical Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview, and the 2018 Handbook of Attachment-Based Interventions, both published by the Guilford Press, New York. Howard Steele is a member of the Adult Attachment Interview Trainers’ Consortium