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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Handel

Attachment Theory: Why we need Connection and Security

Psychotherapy has many ways to help people work through issues. How we understand

the issue can lead to different ways of helping resolve conflict. These different “lenses” are

helpful for the therapist to chart the pathway forward and for the client to gain insight into

themselves.

One foundational model used in therapy is attachment theory. Attachment theory explains

that how we interact with the world has to do with our attachment style and that our attachment

style is formed based on our early childhood relationships, especially with caregivers. If our

early relationships were ones of support and trust, it often leads to secure attachment in

adulthood. However, lacking support early on can lead to anxious, avoidant, or disorganized

attachment styles.

Anxious attachment style refers to people who, as a response to lacking support early in

their life, develop tendencies to have low self-esteem, fear of rejection, clinginess, and people-

pleasing behaviours. This is because they had to work so hard to receive support and validation

from their attachment figures that they now treat every relationship similarly.

Avoidant attachment style refers to those who react to their misatuned early relationships

by rejecting people before they can be rejected by them. These adults may appear confident, but

often have difficulty connecting with their emotions and creating intimate relationships.

Disorganized attachment style stems from situations where children were fearful of their

caregivers. This often stems from experiencing violence, abuse or trauma and can lead to

inconsistent behaviour in their relationships and difficulty trusting others.

While our history and experiences greatly influence our attachment style, that doesn’t

mean it cannot be changed. By understanding the patterns of your attachment style, you can

work to free yourself of habits that are not serving you. Therapeutic growth using attachment

theory leads not only to a better ability to cope but to greater balance, security and happiness.

Attachment theory emphasizes that humans are wired for connection. So, it is through

connection that we thrive or wane. Both as we develop and as adults, we need safe and secure

connections, and psychotherapy can help you create and nourish these sorts of relationships. The

therapist can provide the initial safe haven to allow for vulnerability and growth, and over time,

these learned behaviours from our early life can be replaced with healthier ones that will lead to

happiness in our relationships and with ourselves.

At Psychotherapy for You, we have many skilled therapists with experience and

modalities to help you on your journey to better attachment and better mental health. Call 289-

205-3505 or visit our website at https://www.psychotherapyforyou.ca/ to learn more.

Reference:

Johnson, S. M. (2019). Attachment theory in practice: Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with

individuals, couples, and families. The Guilford Press. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351168366

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Feb 05
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very Good Job!

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