In my work with clients, Attachment Theory has come up a lot lately. What is Attachment Theory?
I like this basic explanation of Attachment Theory from the Positive Psychology website: positivepsychology.com/attachment-theory/
"The psychological theory of attachment was first described by John Bowlby, a psychoanalyst who researched the effects of separation between infants and their parents.
Bowlby hypothesized that the extreme behaviors infants engage in to avoid separation from a parent or when reconnecting with a physically separated parent—like crying, screaming, and clinging—were evolutionary mechanisms. Bowlby thought these behaviors had possibly been reinforced through natural selection and enhanced the child’s chances of survival.
These attachment behaviors are instinctive responses to the perceived threat of losing the survival advantages that accompany being cared for and attended to by the primary caregiver(s). Since the infants who engaged in these behaviors were more likely to survive, the instincts were naturally selected and reinforced over generations.
These behaviors make up what Bowlby termed an “attachment behavioral system,” the system that guides us in our patterns and habits of forming and maintaining relationships.
Research on Bowlby’s theory of attachment showed that infants placed in an unfamiliar situation and separated from their parents will generally react in one of three ways upon reunion with the parents:
It makes intuitive sense that a child’s attachment style is largely a function of the caregiving the child receives in his or her early years. Those who received support and love from their caregivers are likely to be secure, while those who experienced inconsistency or negligence from their caregivers are likely to feel more anxiety surrounding their relationship with their parents.
However, attachment theory takes it one step further, applying what we know about attachment in children to relationships we engage in as adults. These relationships (particularly intimate and/or romantic relationships) are also directly related to our attachment styles as children and the care we received from our primary caregivers (Firestone, 2013)."
What style of attachment are you? And how does this impact your life now?
Watch for more blogs on this topic! And you can always call/text me and we can figure it out together: call/text 360-432-1236.