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Attachment Theory

Attachment Theory


Attachment, or the attachment bond, is the emotional connection you formed as an infant with your primary caregiver. According to attachment theory, the quality of the bonding you experienced during this first relationship often determines how and how well you relate to other people and respond to intimacy throughout life.




  • Try out this Attachment Style Quiz
  • The 4 Attachment Styles are descriptive (meaning they can be changed) and aren’t absolute as much as they are on a type of 2-axis spectrum:
  • Below is a fair bit about the attachment styles, and how we try to approach them.


Attachment StyleSecureAnxious – PreoccupiedAvoidant – DismissiveFearful – Disorganized (Anxious-Avoidant)
DescriptionAdults with a secure attachment style usually have positive views of themselves and of others. They are comfortable with intimate relationships, are able to trust their partner, and are not afraid of closeness.Those with an anxious preoccupied attachment style usually have low self esteem and a more positive view of others. They seek out intimacy and security from others, especially romantic partners. However, they can often become overly dependent on relationships which can lead to overwhelming panic and worry about their partners behaviors and intentions.People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style tend to have a positive self view and a more negative view of others. Stemming from avoidant childhood attachment, they value their independence highly and may get nervous when someone gets too close. It is important for them to feel self-sufficient and often attempt to avoid attachment altogether.A fearful-avoidant attachment style usually stems from either avoidant attachment or disorganized attachment as a child. Adults with a fearful-avoidant attachment style want intimate relationships but are uncomfortable with closeness and find it difficult to trust or depend on others. They are fearful of getting hurt if they get close to other people so choose to avoid intimate relationships instead.
  • Negative self-worth
  • Constant need for closeness and intimacy
  • Worrying that your partner will leave you
  • Being overly dependent in your relationship
  • Constant fear of rejection and abandonment
  • Constant need to please and gain people’s approval
  • Difficulty trusting your partner
  • Requiring frequent reassurance that you’re cared for
  • Hypersensitivity to your partner’s actions and moods
  • Avoiding emotional closeness in relationships
  • Feeling as though their partners are being clingy when they simply want to get emotionally closer
  • Withdrawing and coping with difficult situations alone
  • Suppressing emotions
  • Avoiding complaining, preferring to sulk or hint at what is wrong
  • Suppressing negative memories
  • Withdrawing, or tuning out, from unpleasant conversations or sights
  • Fearing rejection
  • Having a strong sense of independence
  • Having feelings of high self-esteem while having a negative view of others
  • Being overly focused on their own needs and comforts
  • Severe difficulty regulating their emotions in relationships
  • Responding poorly or inappropriately to negative emotions
  • Negative view of themselves
  • Perceiving other people and their support negatively
  • Less commitment and satisfaction in romantic relationships
  • Higher likelihood of showing violence in their relationships
  • Having a very high number of sexual partners
  • More sexual compliance (when asked for sex, you’re likely to say yes)
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Fear of intimacy or fear of relationships
  • Down regulate
  • Self Soothe
  • Contain tangents of speech
  • Distinguish Emotionality from Emotion
  • Connect emotions to present experience
  • Empathize with core affect
  • Differentiate between self and other
  • Amplify glimmers of transformance self are, self knowing
  • Support Internal guidance
  • Up regulate
  • Build capacity to connect with others
  • Build receptive affective capacity
  • Focus into affect laden words, sensations, imagery
  • Empathize with defense
  • Build connection to self and self awareness
  • Amplify glimmers of transformance connection, vulnerability, empathy with others
  • Build safety with relatedness and emotion
  • Titrate work within window of tolerance
  • Build resources
  • Empathize with dilemma
  • Validate affective glimmers
  • Build tolerance and capacity for emotions
  • Parts work w/ ego states
  • Amplify glimmers of transformance safety, links between trauma history, current experiences, and dissociated affects
Goals of Interventions
  • Increase self regulation and containment
  • Connect with abandoned parts of self
  • Build sense of self agency, efficacy, worth
  • Recognize how self impacts others
  • Deepen respect for other’s process
  • Build reflective functioning
  • Increase relational capacities
  • Develop connection to visceral somatic experiences
  • Recognize needs of self and others
  • Develop kindness and acceptance of permeability and vulnerability
  • Build reflective functioning
  • Help to tolerate, understand, and communicate profound distress and contradictions
  • Build internal security and self to self collaboration
  • Make sense of experiences and build cohesive narrative
  • Build reflective functioning

Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to us here.