04 May 2021

BY: Online Therapy

Attachment Therapy / Counselling / Online Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online therapist / Online Therapy

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Article by Marvis Bih

Attachment styles and how it affects relationships

Have you ever wondered why you displayed the same characteristics in your relationships? We often believe that we fall for the same characteristics in potential partners and often do not understand why we react the way we do when things become a bit challenging. This is not unusual. We develop an attachment style during childhood that affects the way we respond and interact in adult relationships. This is generally referred to as attachment styles.

How did attachment styles become a theory?

The origin of attachment theory can be traced to the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth & Bowlby 1991). This theory was first developed in the 1930s and 1940s with Bowlby being one of the clinicians who observed the effect of separation between parents and their infants. Forming of attachment relationships are undoubtedly presented as a biological tendency used to ensure survival (Scharfe, 2017). Attachment in adults can be viewed in two ways; adult attachment anxiety which is the excessive need for other’s approval, fear of rejection, negative view of self, and an over-reaction to negative feelings in an attempt to gain the support and sympathy of others. While adult attachment avoidance refers to the excessive need to rely on oneself, negative view of others, limited self-disclosure (Mikulincer, Shaver, & Pereg, 2003)

Attachment styles


There are generally three attachment styles namely; anxious, secure, and avoidant. These attachment styles have different effects on relationships. Secure attachment is experienced by people who had a healthy childhood and are good at handling intimate relationships, while people with avoidant and anxious attachment styles struggle to achieve intimacy (Dodgson 2018).
An online counsellor can help you with handling your attachment issues more or less the same way a therapist using the traditional face to face technique would do. It usually includes unpacking your childhood experiences, identifying patterns popping up in your relationships and help you develop new ways of relating with people and forming intimate relationships (Raypole 2019). In addition, Cognitive Behavioral therapy can also be used for the online treatment of attachment issues, mindfulness practice and many more.

Therapy for attachment styles


There are available online therapies for attachment issues. Most of these existing therapies make use of principles and methods that are in line with attachment theory such as exploring significant relationships in the past, exploration of healthy therapeutic relationships (Raypole 2019). Looking for an online therapist for attachment issues will depend on a number of individual factors such as your location, symptoms, finances and many more.

Want to get in touch with a counsellor?

References.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bowlby, J. (1991), An ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46, 331-341.


Dodgson, L. (2018). These are the 3 types of attachment styles — and how each affects your relationships. Insider.


Mikulincer, M., Shaver, P. R., & Pereg, D. (2003). Attachment theory and affect regulation: The dynamic development, and cognitive consequences of attachment-related strategies. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 77-102.


Raypole, C. (2019). How attachment issues impact your relationships. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/attachment-disorder-in-adults. Accessed on 02/09/2020.


Scharfe, E. (2017). Attachment Theory. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3823-1

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