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First, she provided one of the first empirical demonstrations of how attachment behavior is patterned in both safe and frightening contexts. Second, she provided the first empirical taxonomy of individual differences in infant attachment patterns. According to her research, at least three types of children exist: those who are secure in their relationship with their parents, those who are anxious-resistant, and those who are anxious-avoidant.

Finally, she demonstrated that these individual differences were correlated with infant-parent interactions in the home during the first year of life. Children who appear secure in the strange situation, for example, tend to have parents who are responsive to their needs. Children who appear insecure in the strange situation i.

In the years that have followed, a number of researchers have demonstrated links between early parental sensitivity and responsiveness and attachment security.

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Although Bowlby was primarily focused on understanding the nature of the infant-caregiver relationship, he believed that attachment characterized human experience from "the cradle to the grave. Hazan and Shaver were two of the first researchers to explore Bowlby's ideas in the context of romantic relationships.

According to Hazan and Shaver, the emotional bond that develops between adult romantic partners is partly a function of the same motivational system--the attachment behavioral system--that gives rise to the emotional bond between infants and their caregivers. Hazan and Shaver noted that the relationship between infants and caregivers and the relationship between adult romantic partners share the following features:. On the basis of these parallels, Hazan and Shaver argued that adult romantic relationships, like infant-caregiver relationships, are attachments, and that romantic love is a property of the attachment behavioral system, as well as the motivational systems that give rise to caregiving and sexuality.

The idea that romantic relationships may be attachment relationships has had a profound influence on modern research on close relationships. There are at least three critical implications of this idea. First, if adult romantic relationships are attachment relationships, then we should observe the same kinds of individual differences in adult relationships that Ainsworth observed in infant-caregiver relationships. We may expect some adults, for example, to be secure in their relationships--to feel confident that their partners will be there for them when needed, and open to depending on others and having others depend on them.

We should expect other adults, in contrast, to be insecure in their relationships. For example, some insecure adults may be anxious-resistant : they worry that others may not love them completely, and be easily frustrated or angered when their attachment needs go unmet. Others may be avoidant : they may appear not to care too much about close relationships, and may prefer not to be too dependent upon other people or to have others be too dependent upon them. Second, if adult romantic relationships are attachment relationships, then the way adult relationships "work" should be similar to the way infant-caregiver relationships work.

In other words, the same kinds of factors that facilitate exploration in children i. The kinds of things that make an attachment figure "desirable" for infants i. In short, individual differences in attachment should influence relational and personal functioning in adulthood in the same way they do in childhood.

Third, whether an adult is secure or insecure in his or her adult relationships may be a partial reflection of his or her experiences with his or her primary caregivers. Bowlby believed that the mental representations or working models i. For example, a secure child tends to believe that others will be there for him or her because previous experiences have led him or her to this conclusion.

Once a child has developed such expectations, he or she will tend to seek out relational experiences that are consistent with those expectations and perceive others in a way that is colored by those beliefs. According to Bowlby, this kind of process should promote continuity in attachment patterns over the life course, although it is possible that a person's attachment pattern will change if his or her relational experiences are inconsistent with his or her expectations.

In short, if we assume that adult relationships are attachment relationships, it is possible that children who are secure as children will grow up to be secure in their romantic relationships. Or, relatedly, that people who are secure as adults in their relationships with their parents will be more likely to forge secure relationships with new partners. In the sections below I briefly address these three implications in light of early and contemporary research on adult attachment.

The earliest research on adult attachment involved studying the association between individual differences in adult attachment and the way people think about their relationships and their memories for what their relationships with their parents are like. Hazan and Shaver developed a simple questionnaire to measure these individual differences.

These individual differences are often referred to as attachment styles , attachment patterns , attachment orientations , or differences in the organization of the attachment system. In short, Hazan and Shaver asked research subjects to read the three paragraphs listed below, and indicate which paragraph best characterized the way they think, feel, and behave in close relationships:.

I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them.

I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being. I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don't worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me. I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn't really love me or won't want to stay with me.

I want to get very close to my partner, and this sometimes scares people away. Based on this three-category measure , Hazan and Shaver found that the distribution of categories was similar to that observed in infancy.

Words That Touch: A Psychoanalyst Learns to Speak

Although this measure served as a useful way to study the association between attachment styles and relationship functioning, it didn't allow a full test of the hypothesis that the same kinds of individual differences observed in infants might be manifest among adults. In many ways, the Hazan and Shaver measure assumed this to be true. Subsequent research has explored this hypothesis in a variety of ways. For example, Kelly Brennan and her colleagues collected a number of statements e. Brennan's findings suggested that there are two fundamental dimensions with respect to adult attachment patterns see Figure 2.

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One critical variable has been labeled attachment-related anxiety. Success often hinges on the ability to confront potentially stressful or triggering past experiences. Gaining insight into your feelings, behaviors, and experiences can help you better understand the unconscious forces that continue to exert and influence on your actions, your relationships, and your sense of self. Psychoanalytic therapy may also help you learn techniques for coping when future problems arise. Rather than falling back on unhealthy defenses, you may be better able to recognize your feelings and deal with them in a constructive manner.

As with any approach to mental health treatment, psychoanalytic therapy can have its pluses and minuses. The degree to which these potential benefits and pitfalls influence the choice to use this approach depends on a variety of factors including the individual's preferences and severity of symptoms. The therapist offers an empathetic and nonjudgmental environment where the client can feel safe in revealing feelings or actions that have led to stress and difficulties in his or her life.

Often, simply sharing these burdens in the context of a therapeutic relationship can have a beneficial influence. Furthermore, it has been shown that this type of self-examination can lead to continued emotional growth over time. Costs are often cited as the biggest downside of psychoanalytic therapy.

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Many clients are in therapy for years, so the financial costs associated with this treatment modality can be potentially very high. Some such as Noam Chomsky and Karl Popper suggested that psychoanalysis lacked a scientific basis. Misconceptions of this type of treatment are often connected to some of the earlier, more classical Freudian applications of psychoanalytic treatment. Psychoanalysis may be used to treat a number of different psychological conditions.

Some of the concerns that can be treated using psychoanalytic therapy include:. People who are likely to benefit from this form of therapy are often those who have been experiencing symptoms for some time. Long-term symptoms of anxiety, depressed mood, and behaviors that have a negative impact on functioning and enjoyment of life are some possible reasons why people might choose to try psychoanalytic therapy.

While some critics have derided the success rates of psychoanalytic therapy, recent research suggests that this treatment modality can be an effective treatment for a range of issues. One review of the effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic therapies found moderate to large success rates for reducing symptoms of a variety of psychopathologies. Another large-scale study looking found that short-term psychoanalytic therapy was effective for general symptom improvement. In addition to these general improvements, the review also found that the psychoanalytic treatment led to lasting improvements in symptoms of somatic symptoms, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms.

Patients who receive psychoanalytic treatment retain these gains and may continue to improve even after treatment ends. A review published in American Psychologist found that the scientific evidence supports that psychodynamic therapy was as effective as other evidence-based treatments. What makes psychoanalytic therapy different from other forms of treatment? A review of the research comparing psychodynamic approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT identified seven features that set the psychoanalytic approach apart.

If psychoanalytic therapy sounds like it might be right for you, there are some things you can do to find a therapist in your area. The first step is to begin looking for a therapist who specializes in this form of treatment. How can you find a qualified psychoanalytic therapist?

Sigmund Freud

Once you have identified a potential therapist, make a call to set up an initial consultation. During this consultation, you can further explore if psychoanalytic therapy is the right approach for you. Psychoanalytic therapy is just one mental health treatment approach that you may want to consider. Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox.

Jacques Lacan

Eysenk, H. The Effects of Psychotherapy: An Evaluation. Journal of Consulting Psychology. DOI: The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic therapy: A systemic review of empirical studies. Harv Rev Psychiatry. The act of giving a gift tells your partner you cared enough to think about him or her in advance and go out of your way to get something to make your partner smile, says Tessina.

This language includes anything you do to ease the burden of responsibility, like vacuuming the floors, going grocery shopping or sending thank-you notes. Stumped as to what your partner needs? Simple things like making breakfast in bed or walking the dog demonstrate you care about your partner and your life together, says Tessina.

People who speak this love language thrive on any type of physical touch: hand-holding, hugs and pats on the back. According to Tessina, physical touch is the most direct way to communicate love. The bottom line is that not everyone expresses their love in the same way, so being aware of the different love languages can help you understand your relationship better.