Back to All Events

Alcoholics Anonymous Through the Lens of Attachment Theory

  • PPSC 80 Fifth Avenue, Room 1408 New York, New York 10011 (map)

Judith A. Jordan, PhD, LCSW, CASAC

*This talk has been approved by New York State for 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit for LMSWs and LCSWs.

Children who have sub-optimal attachment experiences with their caregivers frequently have difficulty with affect regulation and interpersonal relationships. Some of these individuals turn to the use of substances to regulate their moods and to tolerate intimate relationships. In this workshop, we will look at the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as an adjunct to treatment for this population. The ideas at the heart of John Bowlby’s (1969/1982) early attachment theory—care-giving and care-receiving, safe haven and secure base, and internal working model—as well as the neurobiological concepts that have evolved into modern attachment theory—affect regulation, reflective functioning and mentalization (Fonagy & Target, 1997; Fonagy et al., 2002; Shore, 2003; Shore & Shore, 2007)—are considered as they relate to AA. These concepts will be explored and elaborated upon using case examples and empirical data from Dr. Jordan’s dissertation research which found that individuals who become immersed in Alcoholics Anonymous for a period of 90 days can improve the quality of their interpersonal relationships and increase their capacity for adaptive affect regulation.

Judith Jordan is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in New York City and Amagansett, NY, specializing in addiction in individuals and families. She is on the faculty at School of Visual Arts MPS Art Therapy department. She also serves as president of the board of the Employment Program for Recovering Alcoholics (EPRA), a non–profit organization dedicated to helping recovering individuals return to the work force. Her article entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous: A Vehicle for Achieving the Capacity for Secure Attachment Relationships and Adaptive Affect Regulation” is coming out Spring, 2019 in The Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions.

*Please note: A $5 surcharge will apply for those paying at the door, but we suggest buying your ticket in advance as the event may reach capacity before the date of the presentation.

For a refund to a PPSC Annex event, we must receive cancellation notice 7 days prior to the event. Please contact if you want to cancel within this time frame.

PPSC SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of Continuing Education for Licensed Social Workers #0054

*This PPSC event is wheelchair accessible, and any participant with a special need should contact PPSC at 212-633-9172 or in advance.

*PPSC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, national or ethnic origin, or analytic orientation in the administration of its admissions and educational policies.