One of the most profound and universal realizations of later childhood, a realization that probably is never totally integrated, is the discovery that one’s parents are not necessarily representative of the human species, that one has grown up in an idiosyncratically structured family with its own peculiarities and dramas.
[STEPHEN MITCHELL, FROM RELATIONAL CONCEPTS IN PSYCHOANALYSIS]
As social beings, most of us feel the need for secure and rewarding social contact and relationships. This starts from infancy. The relationships we have throughout our lives deeply inform personality, behaviour, and emotions. Without secure and healthy relationships, individuals are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, and other mental illnesses as well as to feel lonely. I can help you work through past and current relationships in order to better understand how they affect you. Together, we can develop goals for forming healthier relationships in the future.
One of the most fundamental tools of therapy is the therapeutic relationship. Research repeatedly confirms that the single most important aspect of therapy is the therapist-client relationship. One of the ways that it is important to clients’ progress is that it symbolically begins to replace negative relationships in clients’ lives, thereby reorganising negative patterns of self belief and related emotions and behaviours.
Attachment theory and research, beginning with Bowlby (1969) and Ainsworth (1973), demonstrates that the biggest predictor of attachment patterns in our relationships is the one we experienced with our primary caregiver as infants and children. The attachment pattern we form in our childhood tends to shape the emotional and behavioural reactions we have with others throughout our lives. In order to change negative patterns of attachment, it is necessary to understand and feel the full pain of our story. I often do this through creating a “narrative” of clients’ lives. This process of self-understanding is fundamental to the therapeutic process.
When a therapist reacts to a client in a different manner than he or she expects, with validation and greater attunement, the client has the opportunity to begin to form a new and healthier model of attachment. The formation of a secure attachment to the therapist has been demonstrated to be significantly associated with greater reductions in client distress. By experiencing a secure attachment with the therapist, clients can feel safe to start to work through some of their old trauma and to view themselves and others differently.
I offer help working through relationships with:
- Partners and Spouses
- And more…