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Addiction as an attachment disorder: Attachment gone wrong with Sarah Pennock - Online workshop

This workshop will be delivered via Zoom.

Places are limited to 26 people, so please book early to secure your place.

Are you interested in re-visiting Attachment Theory, with a particular focus on insecure attachment?

Do you want to increase your understanding of how substance abuse can be seen as a manifestation of insecure attachment in the addicted client?

Would you like to consider how your own attachment style manifests within your clinical material?

Attachment is defined as the lifelong need human beings have for affectionate ties with significant other human beings. It is a biological necessity for us to have a secure attachment relationship. Although much of the research on attachment has focused on infants and children, attachment theory is also applicable to adults in a psychodynamic framework, as 75% of attachment patterns remain stable through to adulthood.

The impact of childhood events often casts a deep shadow over us in adult life. Understanding Attachment Theory can serve as a solid foundation for understanding the development of ineffective coping strategies, and the underlying dynamics of a client’s emotional difficulties.

This workshop will consider the aetiology of a person’s addiction as resulting initially from a place of disrupted attachment relationships.

During the day participants will briefly re-visit attachment theory and styles. We will consider the links between attachment insecurity and: substance misuse, disordered eating, gambling. There will be presentation of theory and research alongside clinical vignettes. The afternoon session will explore how to ‘earn security’ by integrating behavioural change alongside attachment focussed work: what does this look like in the consulting room?

There is an expectation that participants are familiar with the basics of attachment theory (Attachment in Psychotherapy, David J. Wallin, 2015).

Workshop Leader

Sarah Pennock MSc, Pg. Dip, Integrative Counsellor. FDAP. MBACP (Accred.) is an Addiction and Attachment Based Therapist. She has worked with residential addiction treatment centres, out-patient programmes and addiction support agencies. Following her specialist training in Addiction Psychology at South Bank University, Sarah completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Attachment-Based Therapy to complement her addiction work, discovering how and why our individual attachment styles often shape the way we respond to others and life’s challenges. Sarah runs a busy private practice in Marylebone, London. She is a guest author in a recently published book on Attachment, Relationships and Food: From Cradle to Kitchen (Routledge, 2021).

Target Audience:

Training and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists. Please note that by booking on this workshop you agree to keep all discussion confidential.   

Past participant comments

  • "Excellent and informative training which gave great insight into the application into clinical work. "
  • "Sarah's warm and inclusive style certainly added a nice touch."
  • "A well led and thought-provoking course, providing greater awareness of how attachment styles relate to and manifest in certain addictive behaviours and substance misuse together with clinical strategies to work with sufferers."
  • "I couldn't recommend this workshop higher. The content presentation, delivery and interactive experience are all well thought of and delivered, made the workshop a very engaging and thought provoking experience".


Please note that by booking a ticket for this event, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions for CPD events, so please read through them carefully before making your purchase.

If you experience any problems during the application process then please contact events@wpf.org.uk.

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