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Developing Better Exploration Skills as an Important Part of the Path to Secure Attachment

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  • Post published:July 9, 2022
  • Reading time:4 mins read
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Exploration is the ability to go after what is meaningful to us. We rely on our exploration ability to understand what we really want, plan how to get it, and follow through. However for those of us with insecure attachment our exploration skills are often underdeveloped.

 

John Bowlby, the founder of Attachment Theory, proposed that a “good-enough” caregiver would provide a stable base for the child. When care is readily available and of good quality, the child is able to confidently explore away from the secure base.

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I am triggered – what can I do?

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  • Post published:March 1, 2022
  • Reading time:3 mins read
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When practising meditation with the goal of working on attachment, you may occasionally find yourself triggered by strong emotional experiences or memories. You might have anxious symptoms such as a racing heart or shortness of breath, or you might simply have a feeling of being overwhelmed. What to do when triggered after meditation is the same as what you can do when triggered in other circumstances, and there are always ways you can ground yourself. Here are some of our suggestions for how to return to your centre and find calm when triggered.

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The 18 Schemas of Jeffrey Young’s Schema Therapy contextualized with Attachment Theory

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  • Post published:January 26, 2022
  • Reading time:3 mins read
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Schemas are emotional beliefs/memories/predictions about self and world.

In this article, we offer our definitions to the 18 early maladaptive schemas and our hypotheses on how they relate to the attachment styles.

Most schemas will be categorized in terms of the dismissing/preoccupied dichotomy.

Note that disorganized attachment implies both dismissing and preoccupied components. For that reason, all of the schemas can be found in disorganized attachment. However, the Mistrust/Abuse schema stands out as a defining schema of the disorganized attachment style.

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How to Change Negative Beliefs with Meditation (Schema Repatterning Meditation)

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  • Post published:December 21, 2021
  • Reading time:3 mins read
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Here we present a step by step guide on how to meditate to change negative beliefs about self and world (Schemas) and related symptoms (Modes). The system is called Schema Repatterning Meditation.

  1. Identify what I want to work on
    1. Schema (if you know it you can work on it directly)
    2. Mode (symptom) (may be easier to see)
  2. Feel into the symptom (Mode) – imagine the symptom
    1. What belief is driving this?
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Metacognitive stack based on the work of DiMaggio, Semerari, Liotti, and others

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  • Post published:December 8, 2021
  • Reading time:1 mins read
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  1. Interest & curiosity
  2. Identification
  3. Differentiation Ah this is just a thought!
  4. Relating Variables: seeing simple cause and effect
  5. Integration: ability to construct a narrative. Use the pro-symptom position
  6. Decentration: Step back and remember that it’s not necessarily personal or about you
  7. Mastery: Getting things done and staying emotionally regulated:
    1. Compassion
    2. Equanimity
    3. Pro-symptom position
    4. Interest & curiosity
    5. Seeking help from others
    6. Perspective taking
Continue ReadingMetacognitive stack based on the work of DiMaggio, Semerari, Liotti, and others

Mentalization and Metacognitive Skills

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  • Post published:November 19, 2021
  • Reading time:3 mins read
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Mentalization and Metacognitive Skills
Photo: Kamil Szumotalski

Do you want to improve your ability to regulate your emotions so you aren’t blown around by the changing winds of mood? You can start by memorizing the following six metacognitve skills.

Identification is the ability to recognize what is happening in one’s inner experience, and greatly overlaps with mindfulness. Someone with weak identification skills will have trouble knowing what emotions they’re feeling and is more likely to be overwhelmed by them as a result. On the other hand, recognizing when we’re experiencing sadness or anger can help us to act accordingly.

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Summary of Coherence Therapy

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  • Post published:September 9, 2021
  • Reading time:3 mins read
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“In short, we had stopped treating the symptom like the work of a demon whom we were trying to drive out of the client’s life. We had focused instead solely on learning from the client why their depression, panic attacks, stormy relationships or obsessions were somehow necessary — what unconscious benefit these seemingly nefarious symptoms served. We were fascinated to find that by focusing therapy in this way from the first session, we could get powerful results swiftly and reliably.”Ecker & Hulley

  • Coherence Therapy is a unified set of methods and concepts for mental healing that foster profound change with a high level of consistency.
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Tips on Creating a Safe Space for Imaginal Work

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  • Post published:August 19, 2021
  • Reading time:7 mins read
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These tips on creating a safe space for practice were originally shared by a long-term Attachment Repair student in our Slack community.

 

I wanted to share my process and tips for building an imaginal safe space. I use this space as a foundation for all my attachment/schema work. Basically, that’s where I prepare for the ‘main’ work, and it’s a container and location for imagery. I also use it to hunker down when I feel anxious or overwhelmed, and sometimes to help me fall asleep.

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Schema Mode Process diagram

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  • Post published:August 17, 2021
  • Reading time:1 mins read
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Influenced by this video: Understanding Schema Therapy and schema modes, interview

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The Schema Modes as They Relate to Attachment Styles

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  • Post published:August 16, 2021
  • Reading time:7 mins read
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Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions. In this, I am drawing from Jeffrey Young’s work on schema therapy, and attachment theory more generally.

I believe that the attachment styles can be viewed as clusters of schemas and modes; schemas  being beliefs about self and world, and the necessary behaviors (modes) that result from those beliefs. The modes represent the coherent behavioral manifestations of the schemas.

Insecure attachment is associated with impaired emotional self-regulation. The coping modes are those emotional regulation strategies that avoid “an even greater suffering”, as Bruce Ecker says.

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Schemas as they relate to Attachment Styles

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  • Post published:July 23, 2021
  • Reading time:1 mins read
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This list is based on my perspective as to how Jeffrey Young’s ‘Early Maladaptive Schemas’ relate to insecure attachment. More info on the 18 schemas here: http://www.schematherapy.com/id73.htm

 

General Insecurity

11 – Insufficient Self-Control / Self-Discipline

 

Dismissing

3 – Emotional Deprivation (central)
4 – Defectiveness / Shame (central)
5 – Social Isolation / Alienation
10 – Entitlement / Grandiosity
17 – Unrelenting Standards / Hypercriticalness
18 – Punitiveness

 

Preoccupied

1 – Abandonment / Instability (central)
3 – Emotional Deprivation
6 – Dependence / Incompetence
7 – Vulnerability to Harm or Illness
8 – Enmeshment / Undeveloped Self
9 – Failure to Achieve
12 – Subjugation
13 – Self-Sacrifice
14 – Approval-Seeking / Recognition-Seeking
15 – Negativity / Pessimism

 

Disorganized

1 – Abandonment / Instability
2 – Mistrust / Abuse (central) (additionally: fear and manipulation)
3 – Emotional Deprivation
4 – Defectiveness / Shame
5 – Social Isolation / Alienation
6 – Dependence / Incompetence
7 – Vulnerability to Harm or Illness
8 – Enmeshment / Undeveloped Self
9 – Failure to Achieve
10 – Entitlement / Grandiosity
12 – Subjugation
13 – Self-Sacrifice
14 – Approval-Seeking / Recognition-Seeking
15 – Negativity / Pessimism
17 – Unrelenting Standards / Hypercriticalness
18 – Punitiveness

 

Continue ReadingSchemas as they relate to Attachment Styles

How to Care for Yourself After a Retreat and How to Make it Count

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  • Post published:July 15, 2021
  • Reading time:4 mins read
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Going on retreat can be deeply impactful. It is time spent outside the ordinary rhythms of life and often also outside ordinary states of mind. Coming back after a retreat can therefore be a challenging time, although one that’s full of opportunity. Below are some suggestions on how best to care for yourself post-retreat, while respecting the experience you’ve just had.

 

First off, don’t expect loved ones to understand. You may feel you’ve made important realisations or changed in significant ways that need to be communicated right away.

Continue ReadingHow to Care for Yourself After a Retreat and How to Make it Count