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IFS Therapy: Healing Attachment Styles

Updated: Mar 30

Attachment style and attachment repair has gotten a lot of attention both in relation to individual therapy and couples therapy. Attachment theory was originated by John Bowlby who believed that early life connection or attachment to caregivers set one's worldview of how safe the world is and how much I can rely on the important people in my life to be there for me and help me survive. Bowlby's work gave birth to the four attachment styles commonly known as Secure attachment (one is sad when separated buy can quickly reconnect when reunited) , Anxious attachment (experiences stress when reunited and seek comfort while also avoiding closeness), Avoidant attachment ( upon being reunited, avoids reconnecting and closeness) and Disorganized attachment (no consistent pattern is adhered to, sometimes avoidant sometimes anxious). Attachment theory believes that emotional healing happened in individual therapy when clients form new attachment bonds with their therapist. The aim of attachment based couples therapy is to encourages partners to form new supportive attachment bonds with each other so that partners can calm and support one an other. IFS views attachment styles as a part of an individual's internal system that develops as a result of their past experiences and relationships. In IFS, the attachment styles are seen as parts, or sub-personalities, within the individual's internal system, each with its own unique feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. These parts can be healed and integrated through IFS therapy, allowing for greater self-awareness and the ability to form healthier attachment bonds with others. When it comes to couples therapy, IFS-based approaches also focus on healing attachment wounds and developing secure attachment bonds between partners. The therapy encourages partners to understand each other's attachment styles and the parts within themselves that contribute to their attachment patterns. By working together to heal these wounds and form new attachment bonds, couples can build deeper connections and greater intimacy. Overall, attachment theory and IFS offer valuable insights into the ways in which our past experiences shape our attachment patterns and how we can work to heal and develop more secure attachment bonds with ourselves and others. Whether in individual or couples therapy, these approaches can provide powerful tools for emotional healing and growth.

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