Attachment issues

What is attachment?

Attachment can be described as a bond or connection between people, which is the term most commonly applied to the relationship between a child and the main caregiver, but is also relevant to relationships between adults.

Attachment problems may manifest themselves in our life through relationship issues, anxiety, low self-esteem and belief systems that limit our thriving and relating with other people and our environment. The attachment theory developed by John Bowlby focuses on the need of an infant to develop a relationship with a caregiver (usually parent) which is an important survival strategy. The quality and consistency of this relationship affect the child's emotional and psychological development.

If our attachment in childhood has been affected by an environment where our main caregiver was unavailable (either not physically present, or not able to give the child attention because of depression, substance misuse or other issues), inconsistent in their responses (e.g. affectionate and caring one minute, and uninterested/withdrawn or angry a short time later) or aggressive and violent, then as we grow up we are likely to have difficulties in establishing a feeling of security in our relationships with others, and may be avoidant, insecure, ambivalent or chaotic in the way we relate to people close to us.

What help is available?

Attachment issues often remain unrecognised and unacknowledged for many years, and only those children with obvious behavioural difficulties tend to get appropriate help in early life. Many adults continue to suffer problems with relationships, feelings of insecurity, fear, guilt and shame, related to early attachment problems. Psychotherapy for these type of issues tends to be fairly long-term, depending on the complexity of developmental problems and any presence and extent of trauma involved. It is essential that you find a therapist who is experienced and adequately trained, and whom you feel comfortable with (though due to the nature of attachment problems it may be hard to trust any helper to begin with).

I offer treatment for adults experiencing relationship difficulties and other problems related to early attachment, incorporating Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy, Comprehensive Resource Model, Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing, Sandplay Therapy, Parts Therapy, Somatic Experiencing and Emotional Freedom Techniques.

Appointments are held at my private practice in Glossop, High Peak (Derbyshire), around 30-40 minutes drive or a train ride from the centre of Manchester. Online and telephone consultations may be available subject to suitability - please enquire.

For more information about help available for young people, visit the Children's Issues page.