What is Secure Attachment and How Can Therapy Help Me Get it?

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This blog post is a part of the series on attachment. The topic of secure attachment that I will talk about in this post is one of four types of attachment. For more information on earned secure attachment see my blog post on attachment and relationships here.

“Attachment is a unifying principle that reaches from the biological depths of our being to its furthest spiritual reaches”~John Bowlby

Secure AttachmentPlants growing at different stages. If you're looking to change your attachment style, learn about it from us. See more about attachment styles and see how we can help you in-person and via online therapy in West Chester, Kennett Square, or anywhere in Pennsylvania!

John Bowlby, one of the developers of attachment theory, created the term “secure attachment” to describe those of us who, through our important childhood relationships, developed the ability to act in a way that balances intimacy and independence.

While being one of the features or “symptoms,” if you will, of secure attachment, the ability to balance intimacy and independence appears to be an overall theme of the secure attachment style, as well. However, those of us who are securely attached may not even recognize that we are actually doing this. It is just the way that we are. During graduate school, one of my favorite professors, Dr. Janet Etzi, described secure attachment in a lifelong friend. She described how this person just seemed to trust others and himself. At the same time, believing everything would work out one way or another. And, for him, it usually did.

Sound Familiar?

Perhaps you know (or are lucky enough to be) a person like this. Your close relationships are strong, you trust others, it’s easy for you to be emotionally close with them while also being comfortably independent, and you believe you’re valuable, worthy, and dependable. Maybe most importantly, these qualities are stable across time.

Each of these qualities represents secure attachment- the world is generally safe and I am generally capable. However, I should note that this doesn’t mean the securely attached don’t have their share of hardships- just that securely attached people tend to be more resilient than those with insecure attachment styles.

Again, attachment style comes to fruition through important childhood relationships. So by the time most people are adults or even teenagers, their attachment style is present. Fortunately, for those of us who were not lucky enough to become securely attached or are prone to displaying some of the qualities of insecure attachment I described in my other blog post, secure attachment can be achieved.

What is Earned Secure Attachment?Individuals helping each other hike up a mountain. Do you know what the types of attachment styles are? Learn more about earned secure attachment in Pennsylvania and see how we can help you change your attachment style. Get online therapy in Pittsburg, Philadelphia, West Chester, Kennett Square, and more.

Attachment styles begin early in life. Some attachment styles are more conducive to wellbeing than others. Therefore, attachment researchers began to ask the question “can we improve our attachment style? And, if so, will that help our lives?”

My short answer to these questions is yes and yes. This can be done by working with an attachment therapist who understands and applies the ideas of attachment theory into their work. This means a therapist who considers the importance of past and present attachment relationships and orients the work-around those relationships and their impact. We do this by viewing the relationship between the therapist and client in that same light. It may also mean providing some information to the client on attachment and how such relationships cause us to develop strategies for dealing with life’s problems.

This holistic understanding of human development is a combination of meeting the client where they are. This is foundational to change in attachment style. We incorporate attachment into psychotherapy and the collaborative assessment process, where unique and powerful assessment tools help us to fully understand and improve attachment patterns.

I would also like to note that while attachment-focused work is often effectively used in the treatment of different mental health disorders. The attachment-oriented therapist will work to understand you as a full person, not a set of symptoms that need to be “treated.”

Additional Resources

For more information on our time-tested approach to working with client’s see Practice Owner and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Edward Jenny’s post on the medicalization of mental health here (hyperlink to Dr. Jenny’s article on the medicalization of mental health.

Ready for Support from an Attachment-Based Therapist in Kennett Square, PA, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, or Statewide via OnlineTherapy in PennsylvaniaWoman with hands up into sky with birds. Learn about what types of attachment styles there are. You can understand more about earned secure attachment and see how you can understand how to change attachment styles when you become mentally healthier.

By working with an attachment-trained therapist, clients can develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Plus, they can make sense of how their past interacts with and influences the present. This means developing new and useful coping skills for dealing with the problems we face. The goal of this is long-term, sustainable, and meaningful change. Counseling can help you move towards your aspirations and a life worth living. Our Kennett Square counseling center has caring attachment specialists and therapists who specialize in psychotherapy, collaborative assessment, supervision, and consultation. Feel free to explore their profiles by following these links:

To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Edward Jenny & Associates
  2. Meet with one of our expert attachment specialists and therapists
  3. Start working towards your best self and accomplish the goals that are meaningful for you!

Other Counseling Services at Edward Jenny & Associates

Maybe you’re wondering how attachment styles in relationships can service you in other areas of life. If you need additional help, we can serve you. Our therapists also specialize in collaborative assessment, treatment for depression, counseling for college students, couples therapy and assessment, and treatment for anxiety. We also provide an anxiety support group for those who work better in a community setting. Additionally, we offer consultation and supervision for those seeking professional support. We look forward to working with you and developing better mental health in person or via online therapy in Pennsylvania.


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