Irvine, CA – None of us enjoys fighting with our romantic partner, yet why do we do it again and again? Julie Wells, a Marriage, Family Therapist Intern claims the answer lies in “Attachment Theory."
According to Wells, when we have a secure attachment with our partner, there are all kinds of wonderful benefits. For example, more open, direct communication styles and the ability to ask to get our needs met.
"As we begin to feel that attachment to our partner is in threat, predictable behaviors will result from this separation distress,” explains Wells. “Either a person protects the self perhaps by shutting down or tries desperately to connect sometimes becoming overly emotional."
Though the number of fights increases and the content may change, this negative cycle remains in place. Once a couple is able to break out of their cycle, they can communicate from softer emotions, rather than the reactive emotions of anger, frustration and anxiety.
“It’s a matter of redefining a happy relationship as a secure bond,” says Wells. “It doesn’t mean you never argue. It doesn’t mean there aren’t conflicts. You find a way to resolve those issues and make a commitment to your relationship.”
In her sessions, Wells employs the acronym A.R.E, which stands for ‘Accessible,’ ‘Responsive,’ and ‘Emotionally Engaged.’ If you can say yes to all three, says Wells, you have a secure base.
“There is nothing like seeing a couple come to your office feeling helpless and watch them become securely connected again,” says Wells. “It gives me the best feeling in the world. I know this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
(MFTI #67654, supervised by Patrick Healey, Ph.D)
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