couples counseling round rock austinStrengthening Attachment Bond

The keys to strengthening an attachment bond are being accessible, responsive, and engaged (A.R.E.) to your partner. An attachment bond provides a deep feeling of safety and security. It’s felt deep down when you are with your partner. This is more than just a feeling but rather a consistent felt-experience of confidence that your partner will there there if you’re in need and you know that he or she will respond to your specific needs.

Secure Attachment Characteristics

Here are three characteristics of a secure attachment bond:

  1. You have a special person that you can count on: our brains are wired in such a way that being human means you depend on another. Our survival truly depends on this. All human beings have a basic drive to seek and maintain relationships with others who are dependable. For couples to be healthy, both partners must be available to be there for the other.  Each of us stand strong and healthy as an individual when we that knowledge that we matter to a special other. A secure relationship provides us with a clearer view of feeling safe because someone cares.
  2. Someone you can turn to in times of trouble: Knowing that you can count on and turn to your partner for comfort and care is essential to attachment security. Attachment researcher Bowlby describes this aspect of attachment as a “safe haven.” Secure attachment means that we can count on another to be there for us amidst the fires and tornadoes of life.
  3. Someone to provide you with confidence: A secure attachment includes a relationship with another that encourages growth and self-exploration. Bowlby called this a “secure base” to explore from that allows for more personal risk taking and exploration of life.

Can I Depend On You?

Attachment security boils down to the question, “Can I depend on my partner to be there for me when I need him/her?” For secure attachment, the answer must be an immediate “yes!” There can be no ambiguity or delay. It isn’t about what the partner “intends” to do but rather its about what your partner will deliver.

Accessible, Responsive, & Engaged

Sue Johnson references the acronym “A.R.E.” as a way to help couples understand the importance of being “accessible”, “responsive”, and “engaged” with each other. According to Sue Johnson, secure attachment includes:

  • Give attention to requests or concerns
  • Be available at an emotional level
  • Give your partner priority
  • make your partner feel included and special
  • Listen to your partner’s deepest concerns
  • Be there in times of need
  • Respond to your partner’s need for closeness
  • Provide support in times of uncertainty
  • Make efforts to reconnect after an argument
  • Affirm your partner’s value and importance

Start Couples Counseling

Are you and your partner struggling to feel secure and valued in your relationship? Are you finding that one of you gets angry because of the distance in the relationship while the other partner pulls away because of feeling ‘I just can’t do anything right?” If so, please don’t wait another day to contact me at Hope Counseling Center to start working on closeness, security, and a stronger love for each other. I specialize in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples and I am trained to help you both find more effective ways to communicate and connect.