Heal your Attachment Conditioning
Learn to reprogram your internal attachment conditioning so you can regulate your emotions, have better relationships, and lead a more fulfilling life.
What is Attachment Theory?
Attachment Theory describes the evolutionary drive of the infant to seek safety in and proximity to the caregiver. This is the ‘secure base’. The infant’s exploratory behaviors away from the secure base (caregiver) are based on largely on the security, safety reliability, and consistency of the secure base.
This experience marks you deeply. You develop an “internal-working-model of attachment” based on these experiences. This is largely set within the first two years of your life. It forms consistent with early experiences with the attachment figure. The way they respond to your distress, bids for closeness, and your explorations sets up your “attachment-style”. This internal working model of attachment goes on to form the basis for much of the rest of your psychological development.
Why repair attachment conditioning?
The short answer is that it forms the most basic foundation of your psychology. It’s best to fix the foundations of the mind first.
Attachment conditioning starts to come about at about six months of age. It is largely set by 24 months of age. This is to say that attachment conditioning is early.
So, if the foundation of attachment isn’t healthy then there tend to be life-long problems with emotional self-regulation, self-development, ability to explore, and ability to form healthy relationships. The foundation must be laid first.
Here, it’s important to note that attachment conditioning is at the procedural level of the mind – prior to the conceptual and narrative. So, more conceptual and narrative interventions like most forms of talk psychotherapy doesn’t fix early attachment. That’s why most forms of talk therapy are inadequate for deeply set personality level difficulties. Incidentally mindfulness and concentration meditation don’t fix attachment conditioning either. I personally tried both of these means. I still had disorganized attachment after 10 years of psychotherapy and 15 years of meditation.
For people with insecure attachment fixing the early attachment conditioning is the best first step. Once, secure attachment is obtained the entirety of life gets much easier and further self-betterment is much easier.
Who should repair their attachment conditioning?
Short answer: Anyone with insecure attachment. The main types of insecure attachment are dismissing (avoidant), preoccupied, and disorganized (fearful).
A good predictor of having insecure attachment is that you have tried therapy, meditation, psychedelics, self-development protocols, and other healing modalities, and in the end, you feel unsatisfied with your progress.
Insecure attachment is often consistent with and causal of these types of mental states and maladaptive schemas:
- dismissive (Avoidant) end: a sense of shame and defectiveness, emotional inhibition, the sense of not being understood, seen or comforted, a need for social status or wealth in order to feel good about oneself, social isolation, non-valuing of others, fear of abandonment, unrelenting standards and hyper-criticalness.
- On the preoccupied (Anxious) end: clinginess to others, fear of abandonment, enmeshment with loved ones, inability to explore well, subjugation to others, compulsive care-taking, self sacrifice and the sense of not being understood, seen or comforted
- On the disorganized (Fearful) end: all those listed above under dismissing and preoccupied and fear of abuse and generalized mistrust and a poorly formed, tumultuous sense of self.
If any part of the above section resonated with you it is likely that you have some attachment disturbance and would benefit from attachment repair work like the Ideal Parent Figure Protocol.
For references, in the USA, 35% to 50% of the populace has insecure attachment.
How can I repair my attachment conditioning?
Your attachment-conditioning was formed mostly formed between the first 6 and 18 months of your life before you were able to engaged in narrative, or fully conceptual thought. This is to say that your attachment conditioning is formed at a time when your mind and memory is ‘procedural’ and pre-conceptual. This means your attachment conditioning is pre-conscious. It’s not something you can think your way out of. Traditional talk therapy is largely cognitive and does not do a good job of reconditioning the internal working model of attachment.
However the Ideal Parent Figure Protocol (IPF) meditation does reprogram the procedural/pre-conceptual part of the mind. The IPF uses visualization and imagery to re-parent you, by giving your emotional-mind the experience of receiving ideal parenting. This rewires the internal working model of attachment. As a result the emotional regulation, relationship, self-development and exploration capacities are put back on line. These visualization meditations work because your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between having this happen in the imagination or in reality. This is known as psychic equivalence. Moreover, the meditative state is a state where the mind is more plastic and receptive to change.
How long does it take to heal your attachment conditioning?
According to Dan Brown’s research, attachment-disorders usually take between 40 to 150 weekly IPF sessions. It is possible to move someone from the most severe classification of disorganized-attachment to free-autonomous attachment within two years.
People with disorganized attachment make up well over 70% of the psychiatic inpatient and prison populations. That’s all to say. This treatment is very effective even for the ‘hard cases’.
The first signs of relief are already visible within the first month of practice. It should be noted that the benefits of IPF are permanent, barring extremely traumatic events (experiencing war, assault etc). The client doesn’t need to keep practicing IPF after the course of treatment. IPF establishes a healthy and secure working model of attachment that is very stable over time.
What does Ideal Parent Figure treatment involve?
Each session of the IPF is a visual guided meditation into an imagined childhood. The client is guided to imagine receiving optimal support from ideal parents who treat them according to the Five Factors of secure conditioning. The session lasts about an hour. The sessions are recorded and the client listens to the recording three to six times over the next week. Then next week the process is repeated with adaptions tailored to the level of advancement through the IPF protocol. This is done until the client develops secure attachment.
Frequency of sessions:
It’s best to meet for treatment once a week, but once every two weeks also works.
Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) – Recommended but not required
Additional services: it is best practice to take the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) before you start the IPF. The AAI assesses attachment conditioning coming in to treatment (secure, dismissing, preoccupied, or disorganized). Then it is given at the end of treatment to verify that “earned secure attachment” has been established.
The AAI is a semi-structured interview that takes about an hour to administer. The interview triggers the client’s ‘attachment mechanism’ by asking the client questions about childhood attachment situations. The responses are then coded for communication patterns that place the client into one or a combination of attachment styles (secure, dismissing, preoccupied, unresolved/disorganized). The interview it self takes between 60 and 90 minutes. The scoring is detailed and takes another two to three hours render. Moreover, the AAI has very good scientific validity.
How to get started?
Ideal Parent Figure Visualization Session
Feel free to book a free 20-50 minute introductory appointment to get a feel for the IPF practice. For any questions, feel free to contact me.
Since doing the IPF I am no longer upset that my mum does not give me what I want her to give me in terms of emotional support and understanding. I am much more able to hear my partner out and listen to him when he is upset without getting triggered and needing to "fire back", even when he says things that upset me. I was not able to do that at all previously and it really helps to de-escalate conflict and have a constructive conversation.
I'm also better able to take risks in business and explore and be true to myself about what is or is not working, because I can come back to a safe space and the business (aka achievement) does not need to be that safe space.
I gained a lot of knowledge about attachment theory, which has helped me identify why my past relationship failed and why people behave in certain ways. I also received some valuable life-advice from the coaching with Cedric, regarding relationship with others and myself, and came to know what I lacked in my childhood and that lack manifested in form of attachment wounds, and how should I work with it.
The aspect that has been the most helpful to me in the IPF was that there is no emotion that we cannot deal with, however strong that may be. If we stop resisting the negative emotion, closely work with it, develop soothing techniques, we can overcome most of the past trauma, although it may take a while. But that's okay because earlier I thought that it is impossible to correct the traumas and that I would have to live my whole life in misery. But due to IPF sessions with Cedric, I am getting a new hope!
I love your warmth; sitting with you is inherently encouraging. I also love the energy and creativity you bring to the process - trying new things, getting this feedback!
The one-sided recordings (without my voice) have been VERY helpful for practicing at home.
This practice has helped me understand my emotions on a deeper level and be more accepting of difficult emotions. Also the explanations around what abandonment trauma is have been very helpful.
Sometimes during the IPF specific memories or aha-moments will pop into the mind, when your suddenly make a connection and understands why your personality is the way it is, and how something from the past has shaped the present.
I feel supported in my practice and feel empowered to keep practicing. Cedric is very creative with his approach. It has been helpful to see what a secure attachment foundation looks like.