The Definition and Relevance of Attachment for Lawyers from a DMM Perspective
A Conflict Science Institute Whitepaper
Mark Baumann, © 2017-2020
The Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM)
Attachment involves a person’s (child or adult) need to be protected from danger, and comforted especially after exposure to danger, and a relationship with a person who can provide protection from danger and comfort.Simple DMM definition of the attachment system, by Dr. Patricia Crittenden
The Attachment system offers insight into parent-child relationships, and more relevantly for lawyers, into how adults manage fear. It describes in great detail how people process information and defensively exclude or over-rely on certain types of information while making decisions. This in turn impacts memory systems bias, and how people communicate and construct unclear narratives of their past, present, and future.
For parent-child relationships, attachment shows why and how those relationships function to shape the neural structure and functioning of a child’s brain. It provides clear insight into how parents can specifically attune to their child to create attachment-healing, or optimal attachment-parenting, and optimal child development.
Traditionally, attachment theory is described as involving a child who seeks safety from and proximity to a parent, and a parent who supports a child’s exploration. This definition can be helpful for parents, but not so much for professionals.
The Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM), initially developed by Dr. Patricia Crittenden, offers an updated view of attachment. It describes in detail why and how childhood experience impacts adult thinking, behaviors, communication styles, memory function, and more.
The DMM perspective shifts the focus of attachment theory slightly and centers it around danger rather than safety, and identifies attachment as a broad, neural system for managing danger (much like the fight-flight-freeze system for managing danger).
“Attachment involves a person’s (child or adult) need to be protected from danger, and comforted especially after exposure to danger, and a relationship with a person who can provide protection from danger and comfort.”Dr. Patricia Crittenden
Danger broad and includes relationship danger such as abandonment, rejection, dismissing, and inconsistency of response. When we see attachment as a neurobiological system for surviving danger, lawyers can see how attachment may have relevance for them since this definition defines the core of what they do, protecting clients from danger.
Attachment is ultimately about adapting to danger
In the legal setting, most clients are facing some sort of danger, or risk of losing something important. Thus, client feelings, thoughts, and behaviors related to processing risk and making decisions will be heavily influenced by their attachment-based processing patterns.Mark Baumann
As hinted in the full name of the DMM, attachment involves adaptation. Human infants rely on adults to keep them alive. Children are born with instincts to motivate parents to take care of them. Infants smell nice, look cute, and their smiles are initially instinctive as opposed to learned behaviors. As infants age and their brains begin to develop and support awareness of complexity, they develop new protection seeking behaviors and thinking systems.
Since parents vary in the amount and manner of protection and comfort they give, children adapt their expectations and attachment-behaviors to maximize their parents attachment-behaviors.
One of the beautiful discoveries of attachment science is that children’s adaptive behaviors fall into three basic patterns. One pattern is cognitively oriented, another is affectively oriented, and a third is a blend of the two.
Another important discovery of attachment science is that childhood patterns mature and grow and impact how adults, feel, think, behave, and communicate. In other words, attachment also describes the patterns of how adult’s seek to obtain protection from danger.
Since attachment strategies develop in the context of danger, attachment behaviors by adults are most clearly and persistently displayed, when they are facing danger. In the legal setting, most clients are facing some sort of danger, or risk of losing something important. Thus, client feelings, thoughts, behaviors, communication, narrative style, memory system function, etc., will be heavily influenced by their attachment pattern.
Attachment does not describe a mental health problem or a disorder. It describes the ways people get their needs met. Since attachment patterns develop in the context of the parent-child relationship, there is no right or wrong pattern of attachment, there is only an adaptive pattern.
“The DMM addresses normal thinking and behavior with the same principles that are used to describe dysfunctional thinking and behavior. The difference is that exposure to danger increases the probability of dysfunction.”Pat Crittenden and Andrea Landini, (2011), Assessing adult attachment: A Dynamic Maturational approach to discourse analysis, at 1, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, London.
Danger involves a broad array of things, including objective dangers like starvation, rejection, and assault, but it also leads to subjective perceptions of danger. For example, for some people being alone is dangerous and for others it is safe. For some people, compromise is a danger while struggling over an issue is safe, and oppositely for other people, conflict represents a danger and compromise is safe. The DMM danger list provides a start to a list of dangers, including relational dangers, subjectively relevant to cognitive or affective attachment patterns.
Attachment assessments in custody cases
Attachment science is well developed and formal assessments can be one key piece of information to help professionals and judges. However, using attachment science is complex. Attachment assessments by trained coders who provide expert testimony can be reliable and admissible pursuant to legal standards, but the standards are high. The DMM is supported by the International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA), which has developed a Court Protocol for using attachment evidence which is described here. Additional information, with proposed assessment plug-in language, is also available at the Family Relations Institute.
For information on the concept of disorganized attachment, it’s collapse as a concept, and why the concept cannot be used in legal proceedings, readers will want to read Pehr Granqvist, Erik Hesse, Judith Solomon, Jude Cassidy, Ruth Goldwyn, Mary Main (and 37 other authors) (2017), Disorganized attachment in infancy: a review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policymakers, Attachment & Human Development, DOI: 10.1080/14616734.2017.1354040. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2017.1354040
Another CSI overview of attachment and further discussion and about disorganized attachment and the limited way it can be used by attachment researchers looking at children aged 12-20 months old and only for attachment research purposes is available here.
For most lawyers, attachment is not about assessments, at least as of 2020, because the world wide availability of professionals who can conduct attachment assessments is limited. (Some countries, such as the U.K., Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Argentina and Uruguay have DMM trained professionals who can conduct assessments.)
The DMM and IASA have developed the Family Functional Formula (FFF) an excellent model for the comprehensive use of attachment assessments on all adults and children involved in custody cases, and which incorporates information beyond attachment assessments. The Meaning of the Child interview (MotC) is another DMM-based attachment assessment about a parent’s relationship with their child. The MotC can used as part of a FFF, or in conjunction with any other forensic tools. For real world, day-to-day use, attachment and the DMM provide an insight into why people do things that are hard to understand, or that are apparently dysfunctional, as described below.
A CSI formula for attachment thinking
“Repeated across innumerable interactions, the cumulative effect of these interchanges [between a parent and child] shapes children’s emerging neurological structure, [and] parents’ changing neural structure…”Crittenden, Dallos, Landini, and Kozlowska, Attachment and family therapy, Open University Press (2014).
We can think of attachment in simple terms with the formula:
NxR⇄E. Attachment involves the interplay of Needs and Relationship which lead to and are impacted by certain Effects.
Needs refers to the basic survival and reproductive needs described above, including protection from danger and comfort. Relationship involves the person with needs seeking needs-satisfaction from a person who can satisfy the needs. Effects are the development of unique neurological structure and related self-protective strategies described by attachment science. Effects in turn impact Relationship and Needs, so attachment describes a dynamic system in which people adapt to their environment in more and more complex ways as they mature.
NxR⇄E is a concept developed within the framework of the Conflict Science Institute (CSI), and is not explicitly part of any traditional attachment approach. It is consistent with the DMM (as noted in the quote above), and is consistent with Bowlby’s summary of attachment in Attachment and Loss, Vol III, 1980, particularly in point (l) on page 41, and at pages 66-67. This concept seems to capture the practical essence of what all attachment theory approaches are generally describing and provides a practical and simple framework to at least help introduce what “attachment” is.
Transitional Attachment Figure: the lawyer’s ideal role?
“‘Attachment’ refers to both the protective relationships among family members and also the cyclical chains of information processing that underlie interpersonal behaviour. It also describes the relationships between therapists, functioning as transitional attachment figures, and their patients.”Crittenden, Dallos, Landini, and Kozlowska, Attachment and family therapy, Open University Press (2014).
An attachment figure (AF) is traditionally a child’s primary parent. The child develops a unique trusting bond with their primary AF, and sees them as their primary protector from danger. Unlike any other person, the AF impacts the child’s development of attachment patterns, and neurobiological development more than anyone else. Optimal attachment-parenting supports safety and exploration, and develops optimal development. Primary AF’s are typically the person the child goes to when they stub their toe.
A spouse can function as an adult attachment figure.
People involved in litigation almost always face danger, and they need someone to trust to protect them. (Likewise, people working with therapists are facing danger, loss, and trauma for which they have insufficient self-protective strategies and need help.) In litigation, the lawyer can function as a type of transitional attachment Figure (TAF) for the client, serving as a safe and trusted resource.
Obviously, a professional TAF is not the same as an AF, but there are many similarities. Some of those may include helping the client understand how the way they see a problem has been impaired by an information processing bias (see below). Functioning in a TAF capacity involves using techniques such as building a trusting relationship, enhanced listening skills, being comfortable with a client’s expression of emotion, co-regulating client emotions, balancing the need to align and be close with the client’s view against the need for professional distance (equipoise), and using and modeling self-reflection. (For therapists, these are often called “therapeutic alliance”.)
“Yes, a lawyer can function as a type of transitional attachment figure, as a therapist can.”
Dr. Patricia Crittenden, informal conversation with Mark Baumann
Perhaps the most important quality of serving as a transitional attachment figure is being readily available and responding quickly when danger looms large for the client, while at the same time not “rescuing”, or doing for the client what they can do for themselves.
Essentially, serving as a functional TAF involves utilizing all the same relationship skills an attachment-informed parent would use. (This is the basis for the connection between lawyering, conflict science, relationship science, and parenting.)
Information processing includes the defensive exclusion of information
To make decisions, assess what someone else might do, communicate, learn, etc., we need to consider bits of information and process that information. Humans tend to bias, preference or exclude, certain types of information, which in turn impacts neural information processing systems. Information which represents potential danger may be over or under-considered. When it is over-considered, bias can defensively inflate its importance. When it is under-considered, bias can defensively exclude it.
Example. Partner 1 is violent. Partner 2 may have concluded early in the relationship that partner 1 is “good” and meet’s partner 2’s needs. As violence in the relationship builds over time, partner 2 might actively minimize or exclude from awareness the negative behaviors, and focus on the positive behaviors and a narrowed set of needs. Over-focusing on positive things and minimizing the negative are defense mechanisms.
Partner 1 might exclude the negative effects of their behavior and exaggerate excuses or charming make-up behaviors. They might avoid looking at their own contribution to their problems by blaming partner 2, and thus defensively exclude relevant information.
Bowlby came to believe that the attachment system is fundamentally about the defensive exclusion of information in order to best manage dangers in relationships. He wrote about how traditional coping and defense mechanisms, such as denial, projection, splitting, and falsification, were better seen as strategies for survival of the self and relationships. He described how this can distort the storage of life experiences in memory, and how, as they are recalled to aid decision making, they can have negative impacts. (Bowlby, Attachment and Loss, v. III.)
Crittenden studied under attachment pioneers John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. With Ainsworth’s guidance, Crittenden seized on Bowlby’s idea about information processing and made it a foundation of her work. Essentially, Crittenden began where Bowlby left off.
Crittenden enhanced existing scientific attachment assessments and developed new ones with a focus on assessing and identifying details in patterns of information processing. This effort led to tight and specific descriptions of self-protective attachment strategies, including specific attachment behaviors and patterns of information processing.
Crittenden went on to describe Bowlby’s idea of defensive exclusion of information as the transformation of information. She describes the steps typically involved in information processing, and the seven ways information can be transformed, how memory and attention are involved, and how that all works together to impact decision making. These processes are described in more detail in CSI’s article on Information processing and transformation.
For lawyers, judges, and any professional working with people in the context of conflict and danger, attachment’s ability to help identify why and how people fail to perceive, recall, and process information optimally is a powerful skill. It helps improve listening, communication, questioning, and cross-examination. It helps us understand and potentially improve client decision making.
Another way of thinking about attachment and information processing
To avoid risks posed by danger, we need access to information about the danger. There are two primary sources of information available to humans to think about danger. One is a feeling associated with something dangerous, and the other is a recalled sequence of events related to a prior experience. Some people rely more heavily on information from feeling memory (I get an anxious when I smell my mom put on perfume) vs. memory of a past temporal sequence of events (I get anxious when I see my mom start to pack her lunch bag because I know what is coming next). Attachment is simply describing danger, sources of information about danger, and how reliance on one or the other sources of information affects how people see, experience, recall, relate, and communicate.
Attachment patterns: three, not two
Attachment theory was originally thought to describe “secure” and “insecure” patterns of behavior. Back in the 1960’s Mary Ainsworth created the first scientific assessment tool to identify attachment behaviors in children. That assessment, called the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP), identified for the first time that there are not two primary attachment patterns, but three. The SSP revealed that there are two types of “insecure” attachment.
The three types were, and are, described with the letters A, B, C. The DMM describes the A patterns as being cognitively organized, and in more intense forms, as centering on compulsive compliance. The C patterns are described as being affectively organized, and in more intense forms as centering on obsessive coercion. The B patterns are often described as balanced, or blended A and C strategies.
The other primary model of attachment is known as the ABC+D, or Berkeley model. It uses a variety of terms to describe the A, B, C patterns. The A patterns are described with terms such as avoidant, dismissing or dismissive, anxious avoidant, insecure avoidant, fearful avoidant, and inflexible attention.
The C patterns are described with terms such as resistant, ambivalent, preoccupied, anxious, enmeshed, anxious preoccupied, anxious ambivalent. ambivalent-passive, and inflexible attention.
The D, or disorganized attachment “pattern” was a theoretical construct which was extensively researched and determined to be a construct with a very limited value to attachment researchers, and no value to clinicians. Disorganized attachment has no value for lawyers or the law, according to Mary Main, Judith Solomon and Erik Hesse, original developers of the D construct. They are also co-authors of the 2017 Granqvist paper (mentioned above) detailing the limits of disorganized attachment. Disorganized attachment theory is widely misunderstood, and it’s extreme limits are not yet realized by most people talking about it. Using disorganized attachment as a forensic concept in litigation is malpractice.
Both the DMM and ABC+D attachment models parse the patterns of attachment into a simple 2-part model (cognitive and affective), and then into 3-parts. The DMM can be viewed as a 4-part or 6-part model, which are not too complicated to learn. It scales up to 29 parts, and then ever more complex patterns, which of course involves learning beyond the interest of most legal professionals. These patterns are described in a little more detail here, and the common patterns are identified on the Conflict Model Circumplex reference tool.
Self-protective strategies, not diagnoses
Most people often jump to the conclusion that B strategies are best and there is something wrong with people who use A or C (or combinations of A and C) self-protective strategies. That belief emanates in part from the use of the term “secure” and “insecure.” However, the DMM identifies that B strategies can fail to keep people safe, and that the majority of the world’s population do not use B strategies. DMM research studies strongly indicate that relatively few clients, or professionals, in legal and therapeutic situations use B strategies.
Rather than think of people being secure or insecure, it may be more functional to think of them using self-protective strategies which are dysfunctional in the context used. Two common DMM alternatives are more or less “at risk” of less-than-optimal outcomes, or more or less transformation of information. More intense patterns of attachment are more at risk, and able to more greatly transform information.
DMM Attachment A-patterns
Some of the qualities often observed in some of the A-oriented self-protective patterns, especially in the context of exposure to danger, can include:
- Overly-sequential thinking, sometimes rigid if-then thinking
- Minimization of negative affect and feelings
- Over-idealization of others (including excuse making for others)
- A focus on rules, doing the right thing and/or not doing the wrong thing
- Compulsive performance
- Self-reliance, sometimes to the point of self-harm
- Sometimes a distal quality to relationships
- An expectation during need that others will be unhelpful or will rebuff careseeking bids
- Relationship conflict can be avoided or harder to see
DMM Attachment C-patterns
Some of the qualities often observed in some of the C-oriented self-protective patterns, especially in the context of exposure to danger, can include:
- Over-focus on feelings, especially negative affect and feelings
- Sequential thinking that is absent, or vague, or loosely connected
- Use and oscillation of aggression and charming or disarming behavior
- Sometimes, feigned helplessness (false helplessness functioning to elicit rescue from others)
- Sometimes, an obsession with punitive anger and revenge, and/or being rescued
- Sometimes, an enmeshed quality to relationships
- An expectation during need that others will be unhelpful, unresponsive, or inconsistent in responses to careseeking bids
- Relationship conflict is usually evident, out in the open, and frequent
Detailed information about DMM-attachment patterns
The details of self-protective strategy patterns are complicated. They are described in several places on CSI’s website, in several different contexts and formats. The Conflict Model provides a lawyer-specific description, the Conflict Model Circumplex provides a graphical tool with brief terms to describe the common sub-patterns, and CSI’s DMM Danger List provides a list of dangers that are subjectively relevant to the two primary attachment patterns. Most of CSI’s articles describe DMM attachment patterns in particular contexts.
It’s legal to harm children: attachment healing with the DMM offers a case example from a client-parent counseling perspective. Is the DMM too simple, too complex, or robust? describes DMM attachment patterns in some detail (and briefly discusses the problems of disorganized attachment). 13 shiny objects describes in detail 13 elements of the obsessively coercive attachment pattern (DMM patterns C1-6). Shame and humiliation: Do these emotions express differentially in DMM Attachment patterns describes shame and humiliation from a theoretical DMM perspective. CSI describes gaslighting in DMM-attachment terms. IASA’s DMM publication list provides a fully comprehensive list all DMM related publications.
The International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA) supports the DMM. The Family Relations Institute (FRI) provides DMM training and has a collection of DMM educational materials on their website. (The information available at https://patcrittenden.com/ is now being hosted and updated by FRI.)
Attachment’s impact on narrative style
Narrative, speech and communication styles are impacted and described by attachment. A-patterns can involve dry, denotative and blunt language, lack of context, lack of memory of negative life episodes and a strong avoidance of wanting to talk about them, over-reliance on rules to guide understandings of past events and future conduct, heavy use of distancing language and pronouns, and fast speech which prevents the listener from interrupting or inserting unwanted information or topics.
C-patterns can involve rich, effusive and connotative language, context without factual support, strong preference to talk about negative experiences and feelings, involving language and pronouns, and run-on speech which is blurry and vague and hard to follow.
The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) is the best adult attachment assessment tool, and it uses a narrative analysis technique. The AAI’s process involves giving a structured interview, transcribing the interview, and then carefully analyzing the the narrative. The facts given in the answers aren’t usually that important because they may or may not be accurate or relevant. Instead, the analysis involves coding the speech usage and patterns. Coders also look at how memory systems (below) are accessed or avoided.
Here are some example codes for speech markers which might indicate a specific attachment orientation. It is critical to note the word “might” because there is no one easy way to sort out an attachment classification.
|Potential A strategy markers|
|Lack of Memory (LOM). |
“I just can’t remember if my dad used the belt.”
|Good Temporal Order (GTO). |
The narrative is sequential and complete.
|Hypothetical (H). |
“I imagine mum would have held me when I was upset.”
|Absolute Positive (Abs+). |
“My mom was amazing!” “How was she amazing?” “She was just always there, always loving.” [Usually the answers are given without any detail to justify the statement.]
|Blame self (blame-s).|
“He hit me, but I deserved it.”
|Potential C strategy markers|
|Run on Sentence (ROS). |
The answer to the question goes on and on. It can be hard to follow and a confusing narrative, and may include several unrelated episodes which are all related by a common feeling or affect.
|Bad Temporal Order (BTO). |
The answer is not sequential nor complete.
|Passive Semantic Thought (PST). |
A thought is not completed, or a statement fails to reach a conclusion and the listener is left to guess the conclusion. “My mom was mean to me, sort of, sort of nice, but, you know what I mean…”
|Absolute Negative Statements (Abs-). |
“My spouse was never there for me. Always gone. Always at work or outback.”
|Blame other (blame-o), causation unknown (cu).|
“Mom was just always yelling at me. I never did anything wrong, I was a good kid.”
There are many, many codes used in AAI narrative analysis. Perhaps a 15-20 or so are particularly relevant for lawyers to begin to understand a person’s speech patterns, and what types of information the patterns are seeking to exclude or over-emphasize.
The AAI is a very complex tool and utilizes a number of other narrative analysis methods to arrive at an attachment classification. Memory system usage is one of those. It is mentioned here to emphasize the impact on a person’s attachment experience in their daily interactions with people and danger.
Attachment’s impact on memory systems
The attachment system also impacts the use of memory systems. Humans have a least eight different memory systems, which can work in harmony, in certain groups, or independently. Modern memory science shows us that memory is not so much a process of recall, as a process of re-construction. Every memory recalled is reconstructed from one more past experiences, and can be reconstructed in new ways which fit the context of the current situation. Every time a memory is recalled it is neurobiologically, and potentially psychologically, changed at least a little bit. Daniel Schacter is a Harvard psychology professor and one of the group of memory researchers using modern neuroscience techniques to investigate how memory actually works. He has a number of articles and videos available online.
Attachment A-patterns can use memory systems to exclude negative experiences, and rely instead on semantic conclusions. This can make it hard to find specific examples in client narratives. Further inquiry may lead to an old episode, and all the negative events in between are actively being avoided from being recalled into memory. They can be recalled, but require detailed probes to bring them out.
“Can you give me an example of why you need a restraining order?”
“My partner is scary. I’m afraid to be at home. I just need some peace.”
“I see. Can you give me an example?”
[After a longish pause] …. “He threw a plate at me.”
“Oh my. When was that?”
“Oh, uh…. probably about four or five years ago.”
C-patterns may bring past memories into the present, where memories recalled in current speech are stated as if they are happening now. They may function to exclude self-responsibility in past events. They may appear to recall too much information, describe past events with imaged memory (use of rich images to convey the past) and connotative memory (rich language), and may reconstruct memories inappropriately, blending unrelated episodes into one super-episode which is connected by a particularly intense feeling.
“Can you give me an example of what kind of parent your husband was to his step-children?”
“He was never around, always fiddling with that giant 40′ sailboat blotting out the yard, never even using it, he spends all of our money on parts for it instead of on the children and food we need! Always so hungry. You should see the garage. He made us go broke spending all of our money!! I need him to pay us back!!!”
The reality may be he owned a 20′ sailboat before they got married which he loved to sail, he voluntarily gave up actively sailing when the kids were born so he could be around more, and the wife never wanted the kids to be involved the husband or his love of sailing as they grew older. By their agreement, she was responsible to pay for food and things the kids needed (from their joint account), and he was responsible to pay for everything else in their lives, including building a house (from their joint account).
Strategies have a specific function
The DMM is concerned with the function of the particular strategy. In other words, any given attachment-related behavior may or may not indicate a cognitive or affective pattern. It is the function of the behavior that indicates the pattern. This perspective allows professionals to better distinguish behaviors and thoughts which may be similar or the same but have opposite purposes.
The use of smiles and happy faces provides one example. Some A-strategies utilize False Positive Affect, which involves a person smiling and putting on a happy or bright face while actually suffering some form of discomfort or exposure to danger. (E.g., Victoria Climbié who was neglected and abused to death in the U.K. She avoided expressing any negativity, and her persistent and charming smile distracted the professionals involved from fully seeing what was happening to her, until it was too late. Google “Victoria Climbié” for more images, but graphic)
Smiling and super-happy faces are strategies commonly utilized in C-strategies to disarm some previous aggression or rule-violation.
How CSI uses attachment to understand conflict and clients at a core level
Patterns of Information Processing, or the way in which neural systems manage information processing and decision making, may be of particular interest to lawyers because of the way these systems impact bias in party behavior, thinking, communication style, memory function, decision making, and information processing.
Once it’s understood that attachment leads to two primary ways of being in the world, cognitively (A) or affectively (C), it becomes clear that professionals can understand and adjust their own patterns to best work with clients.
By recognizing what patterns of information processing a client may be using, lawyers may be able to see what kind of information the client is distorting or excluding. Then, with enhanced counseling skills, help the client include at least some of the missing information, or distort it less, in order to optimize client decision making.
The attachment system can negatively impact a clients memory system and recall of past events. Lawyers can improve memory recall by creating a safe relationship with the client, and ask questions that trigger activation of specific memory systems, rather than trigger deactivation of those systems.
Lawyers can teach parent-clients techniques to help them learn to adjust their own parenting styles to optimize their child’s neural development, or to counteract harmful parenting by a co-parent.
Parental alienation is well conceptualized with a DMM-attachment perspective. This frequently involves one parent undermining a child’s confidence the other parent can protect them from danger, or actually represents danger. If left unchecked, the alienated parent loses their relationship with their child. Lawyers are often in a unique position to see the start of the alienation process, and if they do, they have the hope of discussing the dynamics with their client. Early awareness of the risk of alienation, and the application of attachment-informed parenting techniques, and enhanced relationship techniques with the other parent, can increase the possibility of preventing attachment-harming behaviors from escalating into full blown parental alienation.
Examination, including cross-examination, can be greatly enhanced when lawyers have a sense of how narratives can be distorted. Attachment is the basis for CSI’s Lawfightingtm principles.
Judges don’t have attachment patterns. Just kidding. It is likely few of them use pure B strategies. Not kidding. Thus, knowledge about patterns of information processing helps lawyers understand how to better communicate with judicial officers, and understand their foundational information processing biases. (Sometimes their information processing biases are extreme.)
CSI uses the DMM as a foundation to build the lawyer-oriented Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM) and many of it’s techniques, and the Conflict Model, a conflict specific sub-model of the DMM. CSI adds additional elements and insights from other fields such as Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). The story of Mike and Molly gives an example of how CSI applies DMM type information into everyday counseling approaches for a client-parent, and to help clients enhance their decision making to protect themselves and their families.
Mastery of essential concepts, step by step
Attachment is a huge topic. Most readers will find this article exhausting. Mastering attachment is not the goal for lawyers. Learning a few basic concepts, and then building on those as part of a life-long learning process is easily achievable. CSI has taught lawyers, judges, therapists, paralegals, legal assistants, and every day parents how to use the DMM in their practices and lives. A few practical techniques can go a long way to dramatically improving the practice of law, and the practice of parenting.
For another overview of the DMM, see the DMM article in Wikipedia.
Mark Baumann, J.D.
Director, Conflict Science Institute
Mark Baumann is the founder and director of The Conflict Science Institute and has developed several of CSI’s integrative models for high conflict professionals, including the Conflict Model. Mark has served as a family law litigator, counselor, mediator, educator, and professional speaker since 1988, and as an ad-hoc board member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA). In addition to teaching CSI concepts worldwide, Mark continues to develop CSI techniques through the practice of family law, with a focus on attachment, trauma, and domestic violence. (His complete C.V. can be found here)
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