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Attachment & the Arts Conference 2018

The BAAT series of ‘Attachment and the Arts’ conferences aims to explore art therapy through the lens of attachment theory and related research. Being close to others and having trusting relationships is at the heart of being human. The breaking of these affectional bonds can have cruel and catastrophic effects on any of us.



Attachment & the Arts Conference 2018
Keynote Speaker, Dr Lucy Johnstone will present with Amy Sanderson
'The Power Threat Meaning Framework'


Attachment theories highlight that epistemic trust plays a key role in many of the experiences currently diagnosed as mental illness and so can offer a guide for treatment. The Attachment and the Arts conferences will be of value to anyone wishing to strengthen the effectiveness of art therapy through such research. 


This 9th ‘Attachment and the Arts’ conference focuses on research developments in understanding how relational power operates in mental health difficulties and how that same relational power may determine whether psychological therapy may help or harm those who seek help from its services. The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF), a co-produced academic and conceptual resource for practice, acknowledges that the irreducible complexity of a person's response to their circumstances creates a narrative. The PTMF is a welcome attempt to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis.


Dr Lucy Johnstone, who was lead author of the PTM Framework along with Mary Boyle, will summarise its key aims and principles. Amy Sanderson, art therapist, was a member of the project's Service User/Carer consultancy group, and will describe how the Framework can inform and support therapeutic practice in art therapy.


Keynote Speaker: Dr Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist, author of 'Users and abusers of psychiatry' (2nd edition Routledge 2000) and co-editor of 'Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people's problems' (Routledge, 2nd edition 2013) and ‘A straight-talking guide to psychiatric diagnosis’ (PCCS Books 2014), along with a number of other chapters and articles taking a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice.


Ami Woods and Learning Disability Service Users: Attachment, Trauma, Powerlessness and People with Learning Disabilities Finding a Voice. This presentation will use films made by LD service users to tell their story and find a voice to challenge powerlessness and shows that as Dr Lucy Johnstone states, we should ask ‘what happened to you?’ not ‘what’s wrong with you?’.

Jayne McConkey, Dr Caryl Sibbett & Colin Simms: ‘Sorry for your Troubles’ Rooted in the Northern Ireland experience, this presentation will explore the impact of chronic, historic and transgenerational trauma through the lens of Attachment Theory and how it shows up in our art therapy practice.

Dr Val Huet & Dr Neil Springham – Power dynamics and boundary violation in art therapy: A grounded theory study Goren (2017) highlighted that since its very beginnings, professional boundaries violation, and specifically sexual boundary violation (SBV) has been an often-unacknowledged source of unease and confusion in psychotherapy and counselling. The study aims to add to the understanding of the psychoactive elements in art therapy using 20 years worth of HCPC data as the starting point for a grounded theory. It also aims to understand what elements of the therapeutic relationship and which uses of the art may also become unwitting contributors in this process.

Ioanna Xenophontes, Nicci Mills & Alex McDonald – Two service users’ views and responses to the study. Ioanna and Nicci, are both lived experience practitioners within the NHS and members of ResearchNet, a service users’ consultation and research network. As co-researchers with art therapist, Alex McDonald, they will share service user responses to the findings and formulate some questions and topics for delegates to discuss.

Diane Bruce - The long view: Attachment, trauma and intergenerational approach to arts therapies in perinatal parent-infant mental health. This neurophysiological approach can offer perinatal parents an amplified opportunity to repair intergenerational attachment issues, whilst staying firmly in touch with the present. This presentation explores the potential of arts therapies within this population and considers the benefits and importance of early intervention for future generations.


For more information please click on the PDF: Attachment and the Arts 2018 programme.pdf


You can see highlights from previous Attachment & the Arts conferences on Facebook here

and on Twitter here

You can also follow the conference live on 5th October 2018 on Twitter using 

Additional Information:

Non BAAT member fee: £175

Employer funded BAAT Member: £160

Full BAAT member self-funded: £140

Under-employed BAAT member self-funded: £125

Unemployed BAAT member Self-funded: £105

Trainee BAAT member self-funded: £85

Retried BAAT member self-funded: £105

Associate BAAT member self-funded: £140

The 10 reduced fee places for unemployed/trainee BAAT Members have been claimed.


If you would like to be invoiced for your place on this course, please complete this Invoice form Invoice Details Request - Event Booking.docx and return it to If you would like to be invoiced and are not a BAAT member, you will need to create a BAAT booking account by registering via our website here This does not incur a fee and is free to set up. Please include your registered BAAT number within your form.


Lunch and refreshments included.

Convenors: Various

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