attachment

What is Your Attachment Style?

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(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

By Natalie Stamper, Psy.D

Attachment plays a prominent role in the way we as individuals form relationships throughout life. This especially affects the way we perceive conflict and get our needs met. There are four styles of attachment, each unique in many ways: secure, anxious, avoidant, and fearful. Discovering your own style of attachment is a useful way to develop and strengthen relationships.

Unsure what attachment style you possess? These descriptions may help you identify and learn about your own attachment style. 

Those with secure attachment styles, for starters, are both comfortable with being alone and affectionate at different times (Manson). This is the most common type and is beneficial for family, friends, and significant others. 

Those who are anxiously attached, however, tend to seek out emotional bonds and cling to their partner. Their fears are often affirmed by their partner’s independent actions, such as spending extra time with friends (Firestone). 

Avoidant individuals, however, are far more comfortable with independence and display noncommittal patterns (Firestone). People with this style of attachment may avoid showing emotional reactions when confronted. 

Lastly, the fearful type (otherwise known as “anxious-avoidant”) is closely linked to the latter two types. Individuals with this type of attachment are apprehensive toward intimacy and do not easily trust people who attempt to bond with them (Manson).

Although these attachment styles form at a very young age, they are still capable of changing. While the initial base is formed by one’s relationship with their parents and their home situation as a child, the function or lack of function in future relationships influence attachment styles considerably. 

Avoidant attachment types are formed when only partial care is given at a young age (e.g. being fed often, but not held often) and anxious attachment types are formed by uncertain levels of love and care (Manson). Fearful types can arise from a complete lack of care during infancy (Firestone). 

When the negative aspects of these types are not properly addressed, toxic relationships easily form. However, an avoidant or anxiously attached person may find themselves feeling more secure when presented with a long-term healthy relationship (Manson). The opposite can happen for a securely attached person when faced with severely difficult obstacles in life, such as death or divorce.

While maintaining healthy relationships may prove challenging for those who have struggled in the past, positive bonds are absolutely possible when proper care is given to those who need it. 

With increased awareness of one’s own attachment style, can come the ability to identify what needs to stay or change in a relationship to enhance the well-being of each partner. However pained one’s past may be, there are always patient and caring people willing to help their companion bond. Relationships are an essential piece of one’s wellness.


References

“Laughter Therapy as Stress Relief.” SkillsYouNeed, SkillsYouNeed.com, 2019, http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/therapeutic-laughter.html.

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Four Principles of Ecologically Sound Parenting in the New Age

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(Photo Credit: SUDIO 1ONE)

By Nicolina Santoro, M.A., MFTI #77792

Our modern society does not appear to be slowing down, and uncensored information is readily available, even among young children. But as technology continues to expand, so has a focus on parenting practices aimed at helping families navigate the use of digital devices in a mindful and balanced way.

More and more research reveals how family and social environments, whether in person or virtual, heavily impact the way children learn to understand the world. According to Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom by Sharon G. Mijares, PhD., moderating access to technology, while remaining connected to children through active participation, can positively influence the developing psychological health of youth today.

With this aim in mind, here are four principles of ecologically sound parenting in the new age that can create a more compassionate humanity in generations to come.

1. Attachment

In psychology and development theories, attachment is described as a central component of parenting because of its impact on positive pro-social behaviors in children. Secure attachment has shown to be an important aspect of a child’s developing personality and intrinsic security. Attachment-fostering activities are fairly global, such as breastfeeding, physical contact, talking, singing, playing, and attending promptly to a child’s needs. The concept of, “it takes a village,” adds to a sense of belonging and worthiness that children develop early. Fostering secure attachment in children inspires them to view the world as generally safe and to become more autonomous with less hindrance from fear.

2. Autonomy

As children begin to branch out and initiate new experiences on their own, the child benefits from his or her parent’s support in this endeavor. The encouragement of a child’s autonomy enhances creativity, imagination and wonder. In later adulthood, a child whose autonomy is nurtured will tend to feel more creative and solution oriented when presented with life on their own or with added familial responsibilities. An autonomous child is also more likely to explore the world outside of the family for a greater understanding of context.

3. Exploration

By fostering and supporting the explorative nature of a child’s experience, parents can bring new information into the family system. Children whose natural desire to explore is supported by primary caregivers and the larger family system have a natural advantage in the experience of expanding their awareness into many ways of viewing the world. The culminating experience of a truly diversified and differentiated individual that thinks beyond culture and color is the next evolution into the globalized human.

4. Globalization

A person that is globally minded has cultivated an aptitude for assimilating new information, promoting awareness, social androgyny, resource-based contribution, and creative solutions to global issues. A globalized family may creatively adopt spiritual rituals and practices from many cultures. Some tribal traditions and philosophies on family system and structures may come from many indigenous peoples and times in history with no distinction that any one way is superior to another. A globalized family may exhibit qualities that are collectivistic and individualistic depending on what would work most advantageously for the health and wellbeing of not only the family, but the larger context in which the family exists, spanning all the way out to the family’s footprint on the culture of their continent and the world.


References and Further Reading:

McGoldrick. M., Pearson, J. & Giordano, J. (2005). Ethnicity and family therapy. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN:9781593850203

Mijares, S. (2003). Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom. New York: Haworth Healing. Integrative Press. ISBN:0789017520

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