Attachment is at the heart of our work. It is the “love” we are all capable of, whether we believe it or not. Attachment is a clinical term used to describe a very time sensitive bonding process that occurs between parent and infant between birth and roughly 18 months. This is a developmental window much like the language window (that period of time in which our brains are most efficiently wired to learn language). In the attachment window, we learn whether the world is a good, safe place or not, we learn whether intimacy and being close to another person is a good thing or or not, we learn to trust others, we even learn how to relate to ourselves depending on how we were related to. Typically, if a parent was available and attuned to the needs of their infant, they will answer these questions in the affirmative. If the parent was unavailable due to stress or illness or some other condition, the infant will answer these developmental tasks in the negative. It should be noted that this is not a cognitive process, simply because infants are not primarily cognitive at that stage of life, it is a learning that takes place at the autonomic, experiential level and thus much less accessible or affected by talk therapy.
The reason we focus on attachment is that it is so foundational to resilience and correlates strongly with whether a person will experience future life events as traumas or not.
Bartholomew and Horowitz used this model to create the Relationship Questionnaire (RC). The RC consisted of four sets of statements, each describing a category or style of attachment:
and having others depend on me. I don’t worry about being alone or having others not accept me.
and self-sufficient, and I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.
to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that
others don’t value me as much as I value them.
it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow
myself to become too close to others.
Secure attachment leads to secure adult relationships, while the other types lead to relationship difficulties. Our work focuses on re-building trust and relaxation in relationship, and so increasing secure attachment.
Risk Factors for Attachment Issues
vacation) with relatives, or in foster care while growing up
Watch our video in which Christina explains attachment and how it affects your relationships.
*Attachment is one of the most heavily researched and validated concepts in modern psychology. Unfortunately, some fringe therapists have used unsafe and seriously misguided practices while calling their work “Attachment Therapy.” We do not endorse their practices, but rather, just as many other professional therapists do across the world, use other techniques to facilitate bonding in a safe environment.