Couples Counselling – Attachment Theory

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Our closest relationships are usually romantic. Attaching to the right partner and staying together is rarely simple. To then get married and to have children and raise a family together only adds complexity to the relationship dynamic.

Attachment Theory 

Our earliest relationships with our caregivers, primarily the main caregiver, determine how we experience and relate to others during our adult life. This strong early bond, and the quality of the interaction are vital for one to feel safe, worthy, and stand a good chance in leading healthy relationships during their adult lives.

For this to happen one only needs to have good enough care during ones early formative years. What I mean here is a caregiver who is attuned with the child’s needs coupled with healthy relationships around them , good fair structure, consistency and  a safe place for the child to explore and grow is vital for a secure attachment.  Science has proven that the early years are when brain activity is at its highest and the brain is constantly pulsing with activity. It has also been proven that the brain needs more than basic needs such as keeping clean, warm and fed to form well. The caregivers interaction, touching, gazing and cooing being comp and being attuned with the child is key to a healthy brain being developed and a good outlook in life with good mental health.

What happens if we do not receive good enough care?

If for instance if one is born in to a family and the caregiver is not available, depressed or anxious etc., child will still grow, as a plant does towards the light through a small crack, but not as robust as one that has had good attunement.  If good enough care is not available and the cargiver continuously causes ruptures in the relationship the child evenutally develops coping strategies to protect itself. Whilst these strategies work well during the childs life by keeping them safe they continue through adulthood and cause issues in relationships. Our own attachment style vs the other persons attachment style. A common combination is an anxiously attached person having a relationship with a aviodany person.  This can go unoticed and cause failed relationships only validating in some cases the persons biggest fears.

As you can see from this brief overview good attachment is vital for healthty relationships and plays a huge part in strong attachments throughout ones life.

Few relationships exist conflict-free. The art of a working relationship is to be willing to understand one another and to acquire tools to resolve your disputes. Not voicing your needs, or allowing things to pass, will eventually cause resentment and one or the other – or in some cases both - in the relationship will shut down and give up.

How can counselling for couples help?

In long-term relationships or marriages it is very easy to fall into the trap of not listening or not communicating your needs clearly. We take on roles in the relationship. Usually roles we have taken on from our earliest relationships with our family are played out in our current relationships although most times we are completely unaware of this. What a couples counsellor can offer here is a safe space in which each person can express themselves secure in the knowledge that the therapist has no preconceived notions of who you are as a couple, with the added bonus that the counsellor has the skills and training behind him to guide you through your concerns and see the dynamic of your relationship and what is being played out.

As your counselling sessions progress, you and your partner may find a way of overcoming your problems, or you may decide it is time to part ways. Either way, hopefully counselling will offer you the space to grow and decide what you would like the future to hold for both of you.

Common Relationship Issues


  • trust
  • betrayal or an affair
  • jealousy
  • lack of communication
  • financial issues
  • work-related stress
  • abusive behaviour
  • different sexual needs or other sexual issues
  • family conflicts
  • different goals and values
  • different parenting styles
  • controlling behaviour
  • life changes.

This list is not exhaustive and every situation is different.

I can be contacted at any time by phone or email if you have anything you would like to ask. An informal chat about what you could get out of counselling is a good way to start.

Tel: 07788 595 902


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