It’s in attachment theory that I have found the psychological basis for what I’ve already known professionally. The last two years I have studied with Daniel Brown, PhD to understand the incredibly rich material of attachment that John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth developed.
This week I’m at Sue Johnson’s Emotion Focused Therapy for couples, exploring how to support and enliven a satisfying attachment between couples. I head Sue speak this morning and felt in complete accord.
I felt my resonance over and over. Sue told us that she isn’t “Dr. Sue Johnson” she is Sue, or Susie to her clients, and to us. A person, a couple, doesn’t feel safe to be seen if you aren’t allowing them to see you.
What a simple idea, allowing us to be people with each other, connected in our humanity while using our unique skills to support the healing of one another. It’s in that kind of connection that we can feel safe to open our hearts, to explore our distress without shame.
Since so many of us haven’t had that safe, secure attachment modeling we often don’t know how to do it. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the longing for it. That longing is hard wired in us, connecting us to our humanity. We all long for connection, for safety, for security, for a safe haven.
Most of us don’t have any idea of how to create that — so we separate from ourselves, have strategies and patterns that we use to deal with our unmet human instincts. The wealth of understanding that is beginning to flow out of attachment theory is going to bring us ways to repair the connections that were broken — and in doing that provide us with hope, confidence and security.
Now that’s an idea worth being part of.