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Early Attachment Patterns

Many of us suffer from fractured or broken family relationships, even if we are hesitant to discuss them. Chances are that if you simply gathered a group of friends together and asked who experienced serious pain with their children, parents, or other family members, you’ll likely find that problems with family have affected more acquaintances than you may realize. Often, those problems can impact people for life.

As psychologists and counsellors, we try to find ways to mend these relationships and there are certainly many “techniques” available that are designed to address and solve serious relationship issues. Attachment-focused therapy is a research and evidence based approach that is highly effective treatment for relational traumas.

What is attachment-based therapy?

Attachment-based therapy can be used in many applications as treatments for individuals, couples, and families – both children and adults – to repair relationships that have eroded.

Specifically, this type of therapy examines early attachment patterns and how they impact people’s perceptions and behaviours. Attachment focused approach identifies the connection between early relational traumas, unresolved hurts, and emotional triggers in adult relationship. Emotional experiences shape children’s perception and expectations. Some biased perceptions result emotional triggers in adult relationship. The focus is on helping people heal the attachment pain, develop awareness to triggers, change biased perceptions, and enhance distress tolerance.

This philosophy of therapy then aims to rebuild (or build anew) healthy, supportive relationships that can help prevent or treat a number of mental health issues.

When and why is this therapy used?

Attachment-based therapy was first introduced by John Bowlby, who theorized that human beings have an inherent, biological desire to have meaningful relationships in their life. A secure attachment comes from parents who are consistently available to their children and are sensitive to their needs. This kind of secure attachment creates good self-esteem and confidence as well as a feeling of security and belonging.

When children experience stress, neglect, rejection and their parents are not able to meet their needs, insecure, anxious or disorganized attachment style presents. The result of the loss of trust or loss of the relationship altogether can be depression, anxiety or other mental illness.

Attachment-based therapy is an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. This type of therapy may also be used in conjunction with other kinds of therapy such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, to treat emotional disorders. Repairing fractured relationships is essential for healthy emotional functioning.

Finding an attachment-based therapist

Not everyone who practices in the field of psychology knows how to use this helpful method in treating children, adolescents and adults. Our therapists are well-versed in this discipline and have succeeded in helping patients achieve “earned secure attachment”, which enhances not only a connection to oneself but also promotes emotional responsiveness in those all-important relationships with others, especially family.