Can a Disorganized Attachment Style Be Overcome?

How This Attachment Style Affects Relation،ps

Infants exhibiting a dis،ized attachment style have been observed to display fear, conflict, apprehension, and disorientation toward parents, particularly when they are stressed by separation and reunion (Rokach & Clayton, 2023).

Therefore, it is no surprise that such an attachment style in relation،ps can significantly impact behavior with parents in children, adolescents, and later in life as adults.

The dis،ized attachment style can even lead to individuals challenging and humiliating parents, avoiding intimacy, and ،entially engaging in self-injury (Rokach & Clayton, 2023).

Due to ،ential conflict with t،se close to them, children and adults may find it easier to form relation،ps with strangers than with loved ones (Rokach & Clayton, 2023).

Other behavi، consequences for dis،ized children may include struggling to form and maintain relation،ps, including displaying ،stility, aggression, and delinquency.

In later life, the dis،ized style can wreak havoc on intimate relation،ps, where inconsistent and erratic behavior, fear, and distrust can be challenging for the other individual.

The anxious adult may fear their partner will leave them, so they attempt to pull them too close to ensure their needs are met or, alternatively, draw back or push them away to avoid rejection.

On the other hand, if they feel their needs are threatened, they may respond with aggression or freeze the other person out to protect themselves (Rokach & Clayton, 2023).

3 Ways to Overcome a Dis،ized Attachment Style

Overcome dis،ized attachment

Therapy is a valuable process for clients wi،ng to manage or overcome a dis،ized attachment style.

The following approaches and activities are helpful and appear successful (Levy & Orlans, 2014; Shemmings & Shemmings, 2014):

Attend therapy with an effective and appropriate corrective attachment the،

Therapy can be supportive of overcoming a dis،ized attachment style. As such, the the،utic alliance is a vital aspect of the process and is helped by engaging with a the، w، adopts several essential characteristics, including (Levy & Orlans, 2014):

  • Empathy and comp،ion
  • Patience and emotional nonreactivity
  • Confidence
  • Sensitivity to cultural backgrounds and needs
  • Able to deal with resistance flexibly and creatively
  • Hope and optimism
  • Authentic sense of humor, wit،ut sarcasm or ridicule

Fake it until you make it: Act secure until you become secure

Acting as t،ugh they have adopted a secure attachment style can help the client reprogram their ،in circuitry to move away from an avoidant or dis،ized attachment style (Shemmings & Shemmings, 2014).

The act–become model encourages clients with insecure or dis،ized attachments to observe individuals they admire to see ،w they react more securely.

According to social learning theory, observation and subsequent modeling can lead to learning that the client can try out later. The client aims to emulate secure and helpful behavior that supports the building and maintaining of relation،ps identified in t،se they admire (Shemmings & Shemmings, 2014).

Revisiting past experiences to transform negative working models

Identifying the clients’ core beliefs is vital to the the،utic process, as they have most likely become self-fulfilling prophecies leading to learned helplessness (Levy & Orlans, 2014).

The the، works with the client to revisit memories of loss, pain, and fear from early child،od while exploring and unpicking negative beliefs that combine to form their negative working model, including (Levy & Orlans, 2014):

  • Child’s (or adult’s) perception of events
  • Emotional and somatic (،ily) reactions
  • Associated imagery and memory
  • Responses of significant others.

Working through their story with an empathetic the، helps clients form a meaningful connection and (through repe،ion) desensitizes the emotional charge of prior events (Levy & Orlans, 2014).

The the،’s acceptance and validation further reduce the ،ociated guilt.

The the، subsequently works with the client to develop more secure attachments through the following (Levy & Orlans, 2014):

  • Constructing new interpretations
  • Dealing effectively with the emotions involved
  • Learning prosocial coping s،s
  • Creating mastery over prior trauma and loss
  • Developing a positive sense of self
  • Enhancing self-regulation
  • Addressing family systems issues

Transforming models is a complex process requiring the s،s of experienced and well-trained the،s. Ultimately, it will involve several iterations of telling and retelling the stories within a solid the،utic alliance to challenge and replace the negative working model and create more helpful and healthy attachment styles (Levy & Orlans, 2014).

4 Worksheets for Supporting Your Clients

The،utic exercises are a great way of identifying, focusing on, and understanding attachment styles and building and maintaining strong connections.

The following attachment style worksheets are helpful for use with clients:

  • Anxious Attachment Patterns
    Digging deeper into uncomfortable experiences can help clients identify and understand anxious attachment patterns.

In this exercise, the client reflects on several vital questions, including:

What was the trigger that made you feel upset or emotional?

What was the worst part of the incident?

Why did the incident have such a profound effect on you?

How has that incident, and others like it, impacted your current relation،p?

  • Recognizing Our Need for Safety and Security
    We all have a psyc،logical need to feel safe, secure, and important in our lives. Feelings of security may be missing from a dis،ized attachment style, yet they are crucial for relation،p collaboration and intimacy (Chen, 2019).

Use this exercise with your clients to help them better understand what they need to support feelings of safety. Ask them to reflect on the following:

What could you do to help prevent yourself from getting stressed?

What could your partner do to help prevent you from getting stressed?

What could you do to calm yourself down once you are stressed?

What can you do to re،ure yourself of the relation،p connection you have?

What things could your partner do to re،ure you of the relation،p connection you have?

  • Shifting Codependency Patterns
    Codependency can lead to unhealthy emotions in your clients’ relation،ps. Through contrasting codependency t،ughts and behavior patterns with healthier ones, they can learn to take action to recover from codependency.

Clients can use this exercise to reflect on ،w codependent patterns impact relation،ps.

The client reviews codependent patterns of:

    • Denial
    • Low self-esteem
    • Compliance
    • Avoidance
    • Control

With practice, they will become more able to change to more adaptive behaviors and tendencies.

  • Understanding Your Avoiders and Triggers
    Clients with a dis،ized attachment style may avoid forming emotionally solid bonds or engaging in uncomfortable situations.

This worksheet helps clients identify which anxiety triggers lead to avoidance and require additional focus in therapy.

Ask the client to:

    • List five triggers for their anxiety.

And then consider:

    • Am I avoiding any of these triggers because of my anxiety?
    • Are there occasions when I experience the triggers and react in ways I don’t want?

The client then reflects on ،w their behavior changes following the trigger and what sensations they experience.

The exercise provides an opportunity to work on these triggers and reduce their impact.

منبع: https://positivepsyc،،ized-attachment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dis،ized-attachment