Do you find that no matter what you do, the same negative patterns reoccur in your romantic relationships?
- Are you fearful of getting close to someone?
- Perhaps you often feel desperate or attached to a specific person or certain people?
- Are you afraid the people in your life will go away?
- Is it is difficult for you to trust yourself and others?
- Would you rather avoid conflict at the expense of intimacy?
- Do you wish you could feel loved, confident and connected in your relationships?
Facing challenges in your intimate relationships can cause you to struggle in many areas of your life. You may feel anxious, depressed, agitated or even restless when you experience separation or too much intimacy. You might become angry with your partner, but at the same time fear a closer connection. At work, you may feel distracted because you are focused on your relationship issues. You may even struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night because you feel anxious about the current state of your relationship.
The good news is that Attachment Therapy can help you understand what is creating conflict in your relationships. By identifying these deep inner drives, you can feel free to respond appropriately in order to cultivate intimacy.
Understanding Attachment Therapy
The fields of prenatal and peri-natal psychology are based on the latest research that indicates babies during gestation, birth and infancy experience feelings, emotions and memories that are not explicit or conscious. While we cannot easily recall these memories, they are deeply held in our bodies and evoke powerful urges, impulses and memories that can determine how we interact with others and how we feel about ourselves throughout our lives.
Research validates that deeply held patterns can be expressed as mental, emotional and physical health issues and are associated with prenatal and birth experiences as well as parent-infant bonding (attachment). Individuals establish stress patterns and/or trauma during these pre-verbal formative years.
One who experiences secure attachment has “autonomous or free state of mind,” as described by Dan Siegel, author of many books on Attachment Theory. Secure attachment is developed by the child having caregivers who provided a safe environment to grow up in – assuring consistency, attention and affection.
Children who experience this home environment tend to feel safe to explore the world, interact with others and have the ability to emotionally self-regulate. They are resilient, they trust themselves, they are able to establish healthy boundaries, they have balance in their lives and they have the ability to both give and receive love.
Three Categories Of Insecure Attachment
In the avoidant attachment style, caregivers are often emotionally unavailable. They may have been away, chronically ill or distracted much of the time during a child’s upbringing. Perhaps they were even insensitive or hostile. Whatever the situation, this deep neglect results in the child feeling disconnected and unloved.
Disconnection becomes the coping strategy and as an adult, they often avoid intimacy and feel a lack of emotion. Without contact and connection during childhood, areas in the brain are starved and they do not receive the signals needed for building social responses or connections that develop bonding.
The good news is that modern day neuroscience has proven that we have an amazing capacity to change and develop the neurology we never had or that which has laid dormant.
Ambivalently attached people had caregivers who were inconsistent in providing love and attention. Due to the lack of consistency, the child doubts whether their needs will be met. They develop a sense of anxiety and an uncertainty about their parents, always unsure of what to expect.
This ambivalence creates feelings of insecurity that is ultimately carried through into adulthood. These individuals develop a pattern of constantly looking for cues as to how their behavior influences their parent’s behavior, finding themselves emotionally off balance. In ambivalent attachment, if the other person becomes available, they become unavailable. Unaccustomed to receiving love, having it available doesn’t fit their pattern of “still wanting.” Over time, partners of ambivalently attached people can be discouraged by their love being dismissed. The loss of the relationship can be both the feared and created outcome.
A disorganized attachment style results when a caregiver’s behavior is the source of fear and confusion because of repeated patterns of communication and behavior that are overwhelming, frightening and chaotic.
The child who has a disorganized attachment style is usually raised in a hostile, abusive and angry environment. Regardless of what the child does when asked, the parents are never satisfied and ultimately punish, criticize or judge the child. For example, a parent may ask a child to do a task such as taking out the garbage. When the child begins to do the chore, the parent criticizes how it’s being done or how long it took the child to complete the task.
As Diane Pool Heller, an expert on Attachment Therapy, states, “When exposed to these impossible-to-resolve situations over and over again, the child develops a pattern of not solving problems. When parents set up these interactions that are frightening, disorienting, inherently disorganizing and sometimes violent, the parents become the source of fear. The disorganized pattern of fear arises in the child when there is a desire to be close, to feel safe, but conflict emerges from the need to disconnect from a dangerous and confusing caregiver". These struggles and early imprinting are patterns that are carried forth into adulthood and affect our ability to cultivate intimacy.
“For the Adult, this may mean being held emotionally hostage by the conflict of the desire for intimacy and was well as the fear of it,” according to Diane Pool Heller.
Attachment Therapy Can Help You Experience More Closeness, Connection And Intimacy In Your Relationships
During an Attachment Therapy session, we will explore the patterns that you experience when you interact with your loved ones. In addition, we can identify your attachment pattern and develop a plan to improve new ways of communicating your needs and help you feel more connected in your relationships.
In order to enhance your understanding of your attachment patterns and advance the healing process, we may incorporate other approaches like EMDR Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Attachment Therapy, and the Somatic Experiencing Approach into your Attachment Therapy. As you feel activation in your body we will observe the triggers that cause unhealthy behavioral patterns. Through this process, you will gain insight into your maladaptive behavioral patterns and allow you to exercise the freedom to make more positive choices, respond differently and have more peace in your relationships.
Overall, this understanding of how you connect with others, combined with the latest developments in neuroscience, can give you the opportunity to change destructive relationship patterns into constructive behaviors that result in more intimacy, safety and fulfillment.
I bring many years of experience to my Attachment Therapy sessions. I studied Attachment Theory intensively at The Kutenai Institute of Integral Studies three-year program with Myrna Martin. In addition, I received further training with Ray Castellino and his Castellino Prenatal and Birth Training.
Learn More About How Attachment Therapy Can Help You
If you are interested in how attachment therapy can help you, please call or email me with a time when you’re available to talk. I offer a free 15 to 20-minute consultation, during which we can talk about any questions and concerns you may have. I really look forward to speaking with you. Please click here to send an email or call me at 561-676-3393.