Attachment styles form the basis for a psychology theory about how people interact with others in their life, and the world around them. While it can be traced back all the way to some of Freud’s writings, it was John Bowlby who devoted significant effort and research into expanding upon and demonstrating attachment theory.
“Attachment” refers to the emotional relationships we share with others in exchange for the things we most need out of life — comfort, care, and pleasure. Our attachment style is primarily formed in early childhood, according to this theory.
Bowlby identified four characteristics of attachment…
- Proximity maintenance – our desire to be near the people we are attached to, such as our mom or dad
- Safe haven – our need to return to someone we’re attached to for comfort and safety when a threat emerges
- Secure base – knowing the person we’re attached to can act as a foundation of security, allowing us to safely explore the world around us
- Separation distress – when the person we’re attached to leaves, we may experience anxiety
Some people believe that attachment styles can explain a lot about how we interact with the world around us as adults. Many people are searching for the “why’s” of how we relate to others — attachment theory offers one set of answers that can help a person better understand themselves.
Parents can learn to help their children learn and understand secure attachment styles — ones that will make them more independent, resilient and happier in their lives. And that’s what this blog, Attachment Matters is all about. Written by Rita Brhel, who is a writer/editor, and works for Attachment Parenting International, www.attachmentparenting.org. You can learn more about Rita here. (Previously, Rita blogged for us over at A Moody Marriage.)
Please give Rita a warm Psych Central welcome over at her new blog, Attachment Matters.