Fostering a Healing Relationship

— Andrew Fountain: May 10, 2018


  1. The role of relationship in healing
  2. Attachment theory
  3. Core Concepts
  4. Seven Practical tools
  5. Demonstration

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The root cause of psychopathology is aloneness, —which results from sin

fMRI example

fMRI example

Image source:

2. Attachment theory

Psalm 27

  1. Hear me, O LORD, when I cry aloud!
          Be gracious to me and answer me!
  2. My heart tells me to seek your face,
          and I do seek your face, O LORD.
  3. Do not hide your face from me!
          Do not push your servant away in anger!
                You have been my help!
    Do not forsake me or abandon me,
          O God of my salvation!
  4. Even if my father and mother abandoned me,
          the LORD would take me in.

Isaiah 49

  1. Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast?
    Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne?
          Even if mothers were to forget,
          I could never forget you!
  2. Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms;
          your walls are constantly before me.

Philippians 1

  1. I thank my God every time I remember you…
  2. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you…
  3. For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart…
  4. For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Psychopathology and healing

3. Core Concepts

3. Core Concepts

  1. People have an in-build capacity for self-healing.
    • This might seem to run against the truth of the fall, but if you consider that God has built into all of our bodies an immune system and a wonderful healing capacity, then it is not unreasonable to suggest that at some level the brain can self-heal when placed in a safe and healthy environment. (of course this built-in healing is damaged by sin)
  2. Healing comes from “undoing aloneness”:
    A new deep and secure attachment relationship with a trusted “stronger and wiser” for exploration of old trauma, and a new experience of attachment that can be taken out into other life relationships.
  3. Our stance is not impersonal. Not only are we vulnerable and self-disclosing (essential for attachment) but suspend our own needs for the sake of the one we are helping to be a “true other”.
  4. Healing begins to take place right from the very start.

4. Seven Practical tools

4. Seven Practical tools

  1. Creating safety through empathy and self-disclosure
    • Other tools include vocal rhythm, intonation & pitch together with non-verbal communication
    • The individual’s reaction to different interventions must be carefully tracked because of wide individual differences, e.g. in attachment style.
  2. Privileging the positive, not the pathological
    • The natural tendency is to go to the pathology, but instead they should actively look for what is going well, the new and the different.
  3. Moment to moment tracking
    • Noticing small changes in posture, movement, facial expressions, eyes and voice.

4. Seven Practical tools cont’d

  1. Making the implicit explicit
    • “I just noticed a big sigh—tell me about it!”, “I’m feeling very moved by what you just said”
  2. Privileging the “here and now”
    • “What does it feel like right now to have shared that story with me?”
  3. Affirming and delighting in the person
    • “I am so impressed at your courage in making that connection.”, “It’s such a joy to see the way you are growing as we do this work together”
  4. Asking permission and being respectful
    • “Would it be ok with you if we slowed down and explored how that made you feel?”

5. Demonstration

Updated on 2018-05-10 by Andrew Fountain