We come into this world wanting to be loved and taken care of by those around us, and loving our caretakers in return. We want to “attach”. Attachment is the drive that shapes our relationships “from cradle to grave”, as one famous psychologist put it, and it is by delving into the workings of attachment in our lives that we break up the old, embedded patterns of relating that can get in the way of effective parenting, family harmony, and the healthy development of children as they grow toward independence and adulthood.
The autonomy and self-assurance we desire so ardently for our kids is most effectively achieved when they feel safe and secure in their families. Good family therapy seeks to shine a bright light on the negative cycles of emotion and behavior that arise over time in families, and undermine these secure connections with our kids. Understanding the sources of these negative cycles allows us to shape positive relational cycles that promote accessibility and responsiveness in the parents, and feelings of safety and security in the kids. This is the principle of “attachment-based” therapies, and this is the approach I use in my work with families.