What is Attachment?
Attachment is defined as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby, 1969), and may be considered interchangeable with concepts such as “affectional bond” and “emotional bond.”
A human being’s first attachment is often established during infancy with the primary caregiver. Attachments of various kinds are formed through the repeated act of “attachment behaviors” or “attachment transactions,” a continuing process of seeking and maintaining a certain level of proximity to another specified individual (Bowlby, 1969).
Because caregivers vary in their levels of sensitivity and responsiveness, not all infants attach to caregivers in the same way.
Attachment styles are hard-wired beliefs and behaviors people develop about relationships with others, based on the relationship they had with their primary caregiver when they were infants.
The 4 Attachment Styles
There are four main adult attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and fearful-avoidant (aka disorganized). The latter three are all considered forms of insecure attachment.
1. Secure Attachment
Secure attachment style refers to the ability to form secure, loving relationships with others. A securely attached person can trust others and be trusted, love and accept love, and get close to others with relative ease. They’re not afraid of intimacy, nor do they feel panicked when their partners need time or space away from them. They’re able to depend on others without becoming totally dependent.
About 56% of adults have a secure attachment type, according to foundational attachment research by social psychologists Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver in the 1980s.
All other attachment styles that are not secure are known as insecure attachment styles.
2. Anxious Attachment
An anxious attachment style is a form of insecure attachment style marked by a deep fear of abandonment. Anxiously attached people tend to be very insecure about their relationships, often worrying that their partner will leave them and thus always hungry for validation. Anxious attachment is associated with “neediness” or clingy behavior, such as getting very anxious when your partner doesn’t text back fast enough and constantly feeling like your partner doesn’t care enough about you.
Anxious attachment is also known as, and it generally aligns with the anxious-ambivalent attachment style or anxious-resistant attachment style observed among children. Some 19% of adults have the anxious attachment type, according to Hazan and Shaver’s research.
3. Avoidant Attachment
An avoidant attachment style is a form of insecure attachment style marked by a fear of intimacy. People with avoidant attachment styles tend to have trouble getting close to others or trusting others in relationships, and relationships can make them feel suffocated. They typically maintain some distance from their partners or are largely emotionally unavailable in their relationships, preferring to be independent and rely on themselves.
Avoidant attachment is also known as dismissive-avoidant attachment, and it generally aligns with the anxious-avoidant attachment style observed among children. Some 25% of adults have the avoidant attachment type, according to Hazan and Shaver.
4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment (aka disorganized)
Fearful-avoidant attachment style is a combination of both the anxious and avoidant attachment styles. People with fearful-avoidant attachment both desperately crave affection and want to avoid it at all costs. They’re reluctant to develop a close romantic relationship, yet at the same time, they have a dire need to feel loved by others.
Fearful-avoidant attachment is also known as disorganized attachment and is associated with significant psychological and relational risks, including heightened sexual behavior, an increased risk for violence in their relationships, and difficulty regulating emotions in general.
Healing Attachment Styles with Hypnotherapy
Meta Hypnotherapy is a very successful treatment method to heal and rewire secure attachment in ourselves and our clients because our attachment styles are stored in the subconscious mind.
Here are the top 4 issues to work with to help rewire secure attachment with your clients using Meta Hypnotherapy.
Go to the source of the fear and bring in a Wise Adult to support the inner child and assist them in releasing the fear of abandonment through connection, warmth, and unconditional love.
Lack of Self-Esteem
Go to the source experiences that created the low self-esteem and bring in a Wise Adult to enter the scene of the memory and support the inner child with unconditional love.
Go to the source of the shame and give the shame back to the person it belongs to.
Go to the source of the boundary violations and bring into the scene a Wise Adult to enforce appropriate boundaries to establish safety.
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