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The Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment & Adaptation (DMM)

The DMM  is one of the core theoretical models underpinning the Power Threat Meaning Framework which describes the effect attachment relationships can have on human development and functioning. Developed by Pat Crittenden, with input from Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby, it is especially focused on the effects of relationships between children and parents and between reproductive couples.

It is based on the fact that there is a link between your exposure to danger in early life and 'psychiatric disorder' later on in life in that people diagnosed with a mental health disorder have been exposed to endangering experiences. The model proposes that behaviour is organised in response to threat. The behaviours that might qualify you for a psychiatric diagnosis can be reframed as a protective strategy that helped you at the time when you needed it most, to survive, but is no longer functioning to help you in the current context.

The DMM reconceptualises causation in a systemic and accurately complex manner. It identifies that cause isn’t found in biology/psychiatric disorders but in relationships and how we are treated and adapt to that treatment. The DMM helped me reframe my understanding of how people like Andrea don't have psychiatric symptoms but survival strategies. It was through this learning that I began to perceive aspects of her life story that had been hidden as well as the devastating impact of transgenerational trauma on our relationship. Above all the DMM offers hope, that healing is possible.