Attachment Theory is the scientific map of how we bond with others to increase our chances of survival! As mammals, we quite literally depend on emotional bonds with others to survive. Scientific studies have continued to underscore that the warmth and quality of our connections is the number one factor predictive of quality of life, longevity, and is even a huge factor in financial stability.
Scientists divide the styles that people adopt to bond into roughly 4 categories. About 50% of the population had a development such that they bond in a “secure style.” The other 50% of the population develop attachment styles such as avoidant, anxious or disorganized.
An anxious attachment style describes a person who finds it very difficult to rest in feelings of safety and security. Wondering if this is you?
In my courses, and in psychotherapy, I guide people towards forming what we call a Securely Functioning Relationship. If you are working with me I am starting with the assumption that this is one of if not your primary goal!
The benefits of a secure bond include your essential life satisfaction, resiliency, insulation from life threatening diseases, better sleep, better moods, better cognitive functioning and athletic or professional performance.
You will hear me referring to this goal as “the land of the extraordinary.” That is because a securely functioning relationship is truly extraordinary-- in experience, and in the benefits it provides.
The term “securely functioning” comes from the language of Attachment Theory. Attachment Theory is the scientific theory that describes how we behave when we bond to another person.
Our Attachment System is the biological system that is activated when we bond to...
One of the most powerful relationship skills you can have is knowing what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. Most people know what hasn’t worked for them, but have a hard time defining and feeling confident picking a healthy relationship. This is especially tricky because we know that healthy relationships are not “perfect” relationships!
Dr. Judith Wallerstein did some fantastic research about the commonalities of healthy relationships. She was the first researcher to ask what healthy relationships actually felt like to the people in them. Her primary finding was that a healthy relationship feels like a unique, co-created world that the two partners share. Every “world” is different, but this qualitative presence exists in all of the healthy relationships she studied.
How do you know if you’re in a relationship that has this quality, even when it’s hard? Or if you’re beginning a relationship that...
A committed relationship’s most important quality is its uniqueness! The bond between two different people is the beating heart of the relationship: what makes it a living, breathing, exciting entity unlike any other.
However, there are standard, tried and true components that go into the formation of a committed relationship and allow the differences of two people to remain connected through time.
Like every square has four sides, the “frame” of a committed relationship is the boundary within which the creativity and dynamism of the relationship can occur. Without the frame, the relationship could not exist over time, because it would not have any shape or form. The heart of the relationship would simply bleed out into a dysfunctional non-shape!
I’ll share with you a parallel frame to give you a...
When I talk to my patients about self-care they often go to ideas of spa days and bubble baths. Sure, those things can be a form of self-care, however the self-care I find transformative centers around the practice of self-compassion. Now, if your next thought is associations of pity, letting yourself off the hook, anything goes, you are "Way Off Base!"....
Do not let this man go!
Do you have a list of the qualities and characteristics you’d to find like in a man? Many women (and men) do.
However, most lists of this kind are based on personal dating preferences, so they don't necessarily take into account the specific personality traits that really matter when it in comes to determining whether or not a guy has what it takes to form happy, healthy bonds as a boyfriend or husband....
Proceed with serious caution.
We've all had the experience of meeting someone who seems to be "off" somehow, but in a way it's extremely difficult to put a finger on.
Dating and falling in love with a person whose personality traits turn out to be so truly twisted as to raise suspicions that they might have antisocial personality disorder will leave your self-esteem and ability to trust deeply damaged, possibly even causing you to doubt your own perceptions of reality....
Diagnose Your Relationship Anxiety
Most people with anxiety are keenly aware that certain relationships can either reduce or drastically increase anxiety, but do you know why? Most people react from their gut, either withdrawing or frantically seeking a relationship; both often spiral into dysfunctional patterns. With some discernment, you can learn to use anxiety as a diagnostic clue to help you navigate relationships, increase healthy connections, and leave dysfunctional ones....
The language of Attachment Theory has become somewhat common parlance in today's mainstream world. You have likely heard of "attachment styles" and have some idea of how your early bonds shape your style of attaching and bonding in early life.
Attachment Theory began with a British scientist named John Bowly in the 1960's, who noticed that humans behave in a manner driven by a biological need to bond with their caregivers. This was a revolutionary notion at the time and caused him to be ostracized by the field of psychoanalysis, which at the time was governed by the notion that humans were motivated by internal fantasies, needs and desires. What is so exciting today is that this one-time dichotomy is now understood as a unified whole.
Object Relations is the fancy medical terminology which describes how our interpersonal relationships become encoded in our internal world, which is why our early relationships have such an enormously influential role shaping our identity, beliefs,...
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