An application of Attachment Theory to multidisciplinary rehabilitation team work: Enhancing client centred practice

Healthy People – Partnering with Consumers

Attachment theory essentially highlights the importance of a significant parental relationship shaping the child’s psychological development.  A child with a good attachment relationship with a parental figure is able to fulfill physical and psychological aspects of growth allowing for the development of physical skills and self esteem. Attachment theory has been applied in instances of psychiatric rehabilitation and there is work documenting detailed assessment of a client’s attachment history and matching this with a clinical therapeutic approach.

A client who is confronted with an assault to their physical capacity and requiring rehabilitation to manage mobility and activities of daily living is at a crisis in their life.  Crisis comes from the Greek language and is defined as a time of decision or a turning point. The opportunity to change is time limited.  A strategically timed rehabilitation program is an opportunity for the client to work with the members of the rehabilitation team to enhance both physical and psychological recovery.

The emphasis in most rehabilitation programs has moved from the medical expert model to one of client centred practice with the client and their family/carers being intrinsically involved in goal setting for rehabilitation care plans. This paper explores an application of both crisis theory and attachment theory to the approach of the multidisciplinary team. It rephrases the goals of the rehabilitation clinicians from a physical and practical focus on attainment towards independence and increased capacity to include the nurturing of psychological growth and wellbeing.

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