Attachment-Based Therapy

Attachment-based therapy is based on the premise that the way you were brought up affects the way you behave today.

As mentioned in my blog, What’s Your Attachment Style, your interpersonal style was created in relationship. Additionally, the interpersonal styles of your children are being created through their relationships with you.

Secure vs.  Insecure Attachment

The short version of that blog is this. You have either a “secure” or one of three variants of an “insecure” attachment style.

  1. Anxious/Ambivalent
  2. Avoidant
  3. Disorganized

Hence, the particular pattern of relating that each style uses will predominate the way relationships unfold for you. An insecure attachment style is also a major cause of problems you have in relating to people.

In 1996, attachment researchers determined that the percentages of secure vs. insecure attachment were 55% secure, 45% insecure. Then in 2013, those same researchers hypothesized that percentages were more like 50/50. This means that half the population is not able to maintain committed, stable relationships. And that their children are developing insecure attachment styles. Which will lead these children to suboptimal interpersonal relationships.

Attachment-Based Therapy

In attachment-based therapy, the goal is to uncover your less-than-optimal patterns of interaction. Then through the therapeutic relationship, change them. Unfortunately, these patterns are generally unknown to you. That’s because they are “just the way you are.” Or because you have found ways to suppress them through willpower.

Like all of your close relationships, over time your patterns will emerge during your interactions with your therapist. Unfortunately, this is the point where people often leave therapy. Because they don’t want to deal with these uncomfortable feelings. Tolerating these feelings and talking about them is not easy. But it is the work that must be done for any long-lasting therapeutic effect to occur.

Here’s Why

The reason it has to occur is because uncovering and changing attachment patterns cannot be done on your own. As I mentioned, your personality was created in relationship. And to change, you must be engaged in a relationship.

Granted, you can go a long way to getting better at regulating your emotions through functional activities such as mindfulness and meditation. But to fundamentally change the firing patterns in your brain that occur when you engage in a relationship with another person, you have to be engaged in a relationship with another person. For instance, you must go through emotional ups and downs with them. You must persevere through difficult times without ending the relationship. Additionally, you have to recognize your habitual ways of managing those difficult moments. All the while experiencing someone reacting differently than you expect to your “true” feelings. And eventually, you react to yourself in the same, more accepting way.

“Earned Secure” Attachment Style

When you have repeated the above process enough times, your brain’s firing patterns will have changed. Only then will you have gained what is called an “earned secure” attachment style. Finally, you will be able to engage in a committed, stable, long-term relationship. And you will be available to consistently attune to your children.

When you do this, both you and your loved ones will be able to feel safe, soothed, and secure. And you will thrive.

Ready to thrive? Call me, we’ll talk.

Leah Benson Therapy icon

Contact me now to set up your free 15-minute phone consultation.

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