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From Connections: Workbook for Couples

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

This is an excerpt from the new Connections: Workbook for Couples, which is scheduled for publication in July, 2017. This Workbook will include information about love and marriage, the true causes of relationship distress, and tools for relationship repair and creative solutions. The Workbook includes numerous exercises designed to help couples create loving connection
and partnership.

In Section One, “The Science of Love, Marriage, and Relationship,” the concept of love is defined and explained, and current scientific findings about love and relationships are reviewed. The critically important nature of “attachment” is described in this excerpt.

Connections – The Need for Attachment

Is it okay to be dependent – to need someone emotionally? We like to believe that as adults we should be fully independent – that we shouldn’t need a relationship at an emotional level. The idea that “needing” a relationship is neurotic or unhealthy has
been advanced by some popular misconceptions about codependency. Medical science and numerous research studies have proven that this is simply not true. Even Pia Mellody, an internationally recognized authority on codependence says that

There are some needs that can be met only through interaction with another
person, such as physical nurturing or emotional nurturing. But we must be taught that it
is our responsibility to recognize those needs and ask someone appropriate to meet
them. We in turn must learn to meet other’s needs at appropriate times in proper
circumstances, which is called interdependence.

Attachment was first studied by John Bowlby, a British psychologist and
psychiatrist over 50 years ago. In essence, Bowlby defined attachment as the need to
be closely connected emotionally in secure relationships. These secure relationships
provide a safe base of support from which children – and later, adults – can grow,
develop, and become independently functioning adults. Bowlby explains that

All of us, from cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organized as a series of
excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figure(s).

Attachment has been studied extensively, and this is a summary of some of the
most important findings:

  • Attachment is an emotionally based bond between child and parent – and
    between adults. Our brains are hard-wired for attachments to others, and we
    need these survival-based connections for good physical and mental health.
  • Children absolutely require safe, consistent physical and emotional closeness.
    These basic needs continue into adult life. Healthy attachments during childhood
    result in independent adults who need relationships with others.
  • Our attachment patterns in childhood can predict our attachment patterns as
    adults. There are 2 major types, or strategies of attachment:

1. Secure – A safe haven based in reliable, accessible, responsive and
attentive caregivers (children) or partners (adults). When something “bad”
or upsetting happens in the relationship, the securely attached individual
can cope effectively with the negative emotions, knowing there is a safe
connection to return to.
2. Insecure – Often the result of childhood neglect, abandonment and/or
abuse, the insecurely attached individual tends to be anxious or avoidant.
People who are insecurely attached may be clingy, isolative or withdraw
from others.

  • Loving, secure attachments protect us from stress, improves our immune
    system, and helps us cope with life. Secure attachments promote independent
    functioning and personal empowerment.

The Connections Workbook will be available through our web site, and on Amazon this summer.

Couples who attend one of our Connections marriage retreats and couples therapy intensives
will receive complimentary copies of the Workbook.

For additional information, or to pre-order a copy of the Workbook, please contact us today