Attachment theory is one of the most important concepts in mental health. It has helped therapists and researchers understand what is both maladaptive and healthy in relationships from childhood to adulthood. It has becoming one of the most defining and significant theoretical concepts used by clinicians to help people coming in for therapy to understand how problems in their family of origin, sometimes as early as in the womb may be causing problems into adulthood.
First theorized by John Bowlby in the 1960s, with continued research by Mary Ainsworth. Both researchers postulated that children feel a strong attachment bond with at least one primary caregiver, if not both, and when that connection doesn’t occur, psychological patterns can continue, causing serious problems in adult relationships.
This theory has continued to be developed into the modern era, with Sue Johnson’s influential EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), which describes adults as needing adult connection in their relationships. Johnson describes marriages as mature versions of a mother and her child.
As addiction specialists here in Utah, we see many people who are struggling with different types of addictions, doing so as a way of coping with attachment problems or traumas. These are often rooted in attachment problems they have managing since early childhood, or PTSD they may have experienced in adulthood, often in their relationships, which can be a form of attachment trauma. People struggling to connect with others can turn to substance abuse, sex addiction, pornography, or hurting their bodies in other harmful ways.
There are ways to treat trauma caused by attachment wounds. Find help if your mental or emotional health is struggling.
If you are in pain, contact our Utah mental health clinic today. We want to help.