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Monday, December 23, 2019

How are attachment styles distributed in the U.S. population?



Levine and Heller in their book, Attachment, suggest that about 50% of the population in the U.S. exhibit a secure attachment style while 20%  exhibit an anxious attachment style, 25% an avoidant attachment style and 5% may be disorganized or some combination. These percentages are guesstimates and I don’t know at this writing of a better scientific basis for judging any different. There is some evidence that anxious attachment styles are increasing with the rise of social media resulting in poorer face to face interpersonal skills. Turning to social media for solace when upset does not seem to have the same physiological calming effect as physical presence and touching.

In the psychotherapy office, the majority of clients seeking consultation usually exhibit an anxious attachment style. It is less frequent to meet with a person with an avoidant attachment style unless that person is encouraged or coerced by another person to go for counseling. The most symptomatic clients seeking psychotherapy may have a disorganized attachment style and often they are diagnosed as suffering from Borderline or some other Personality Disorder.

The main benefit that people obtain from a psychotherapeutic relationship is to create a supportive relationship with a counselor who has a secure attachment style whom the client can use as a secure base from which to explore and experiment and make changes in their life.

This is post #3 in a series on Attachment Styles.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Attachment styles - definitions


Below are some definitions of the three main attachment styles. Some theorists also add a fouth style which is named "disorganized."

Being able to name one's own predominant attachment style, and those of others with whom one interacts, provides guidance for how to be manage those relationships.

Adult attachment designates three main “attachment styles,” or manners in which people perceive and respond to intimacy in romantic relationships, which parallel those found in children: Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant. 

Basically, secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving; 

anxious people crave intimacy, are often preoccupied with their relationships, and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back; 

avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness. 

In addition, people with each of these attachment styles differ in: their view of intimacy and togetherness the way they deal with conflict their attitude toward sex their ability to communicate their wishes and needs their expectations from their partner and the relationship

Levine, Amir. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love (p. 8). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is post #2 in a series on Attachment Styles.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Attachment theory, part one, overiew

This is a first posting in a series on attachment theory.

 This first posting is a video providing an oveview of the theory.


 

Editor's note:

I have found attachment theory very powerful for understanding problems that people have in their relationships. Behavior which is confusing and appears irrational when perceived out of context, starts to be more understandable. Understanding the dynamics and motivations for behavior is usually the first step in conscious behavior change.

This post is #1 in a series.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Expressing gratitude in marital and family life is important for relationship satisfaction.


How important is the expression of gratitude in marital satisfaction? Turns out it is important.

As a family therapist, I find that gratitude is not only important between marital partners but between parents and children and between siblings as well.

It is hard for gratitude to become a family value expressed in all relationships in a family if it is not modeled first between the marital partners.

Be sure to express appreciation and gratitude for the small acts engaged in in your relationship and family life. It is a skill which becomes more natural with practice.

For more click here.

McNulty, James K.,Dugas, Alexander
McNulty, J. K., & Dugas, A. (2019). A dyadic perspective on gratitude sheds light on both its benefits and its costs: Evidence that low gratitude acts as a “weak link”. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(7), 876–881. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000533
Research suggests gratitude benefits close relationships. 
However, relationships involve 2 people, and the interpersonal implications of mismatches in gratitude remain unclear. Is it sufficient for 1 partner to be high in gratitude, or does low gratitude in at least 1 partner act as a “weak link” that disrupts both partners’ relational well-being? 
We asked both members of 120 newlywed couples to report their tendencies to feel and express gratitude for their partner every year for 2 years and their marital satisfaction every 4 months for 3 years. 
Initial levels of own and partner gratitude interacted to predict initial levels of marital satisfaction and changes in marital satisfaction over time. 
Although own and partner gratitude were associated with higher levels of initial marital satisfaction when both spouses were high in gratitude, own and partner gratitude were unassociated with initial satisfaction if either spouse was low in gratitude. 
Further, gratitude was associated with more stable marital satisfaction when both partners were high in gratitude, partner gratitude was unassociated with changes in satisfaction when own gratitude was low and own gratitude was associated with steeper declines in satisfaction when partner gratitude was low. In fact, although initial gratitude was positively associated with marital satisfaction 3 years later if both spouses were high in gratitude, own initial gratitude was negatively associated with later satisfaction when partner gratitude was relatively low. 
These findings suggest low gratitude in one partner acts as a weak link that is sufficient to disrupt both partners’ relationship satisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)