There is no standard way to deal with abandonment issues, says Dr. Corrigan. Rather, the main goals of treatment should be “to establish a stable environment and create positive experiences with the primary caregiver to strengthen attachment”.
He recommends the following therapeutic approaches to treat the fear of abandonment:
Attachment-based therapy: Attachment-based therapy uses a strong, supportive client-therapist bond to address mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Note that this therapy should not be confused with a dangerous practice called attachment therapy, which uses unconventional means such as restraint, to resolve attachment issues, warns Dr. Corrigan. “Such methods are unproven, can cause harm and lead to death,” he says.
Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy focused on eliminating unhealthy behaviors in order to alleviate or eliminate mental health symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to distinguish negative thought and behavior patterns and replace them with positive ideas and actions.
Play therapy: Play therapy introduces toys or activities into children’s psychotherapy sessions as a foray into emotional exploration and problem solving.
Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy encourages individuals to recognize and resolve unhealthy conscious and unconscious thoughts rooted in past experiences by increasing self-awareness and understanding how the past may be influencing their current psyche.
Psychoeducation: In psychoeducation, a therapist involves the patient in their treatment, sharing knowledge of their diagnosis and treatment plan as a way to encourage participation and therapeutic success. This often involves CBT, group therapy and education to provide knowledge about the different facets of the disease and the method of care.
When the signs and symptoms of abandonment issues begin to interfere with an individual’s daily functioning or impact their social, academic, or occupational abilities, it’s probably time to seek professional help, explains the Dr. Corrigan. If you or a loved one have “serious crises that require a high level of supervision or safety issues such as being too familiar with strangers,” he advises talking to your provider.