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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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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 Attachment

3 – Emotional Deprivation (central)
4 – Defectiveness / Shame (central)
5 – Social Isolation / Alienation

12 – Subjugation
13 – Self Sacrifice
14 – Approval Seeking / Recognition Seeking
10 – Entitlement / Grandiosity
17 – Unrelenting Standards / Hypercriticalness
18 – Punitiveness

 

Preoccupied Attachment

1 – Abandonment / Instability (central)
3 – Emotional Deprivation
6 – Dependence / Incompetence
7 – Vulnerability to Harm or Illness
8 – Enmeshment / Undeveloped Self
9 – Failure to Achieve
15 – Negativity / Pessimism

 

Disorganized Attachment

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

You can also read about how the attachment styles relate to schema modes, the behaviors that necessarily result from the schemas above.

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Can You Change Your Attachment Style and if so How?

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  • Post published:June 27, 2021
  • Reading time:5 mins read
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Can you change your attachment style? Yes, you can. But, there are many important considerations to keep in mind.

Attachment conditioning dictates much of how we behave in relationships, view ourselves, how well we explore our world, and how good we are at emotional self regulation (Brown et al., 2016). This conditioning is largely determined very early on between the ages of six and twenty-four months (and to a lesser degree up to three years). The conditioning that takes place at this time occurs at the procedural or implicit level, which is pre-verbal.

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