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May 27, 2022

Are Childhood Experiences Affecting You In Adulthood?

Mia Arcangeli

Child stands, not smiling, in black-and-white foreground while parents fight in the next room.

Understanding Your Deep Roots

Oftentimes, when individuals decide to begin the process of seeking support or therapy, it’s because they feel stuck in their lives in one form or another.

Feeling like anxiety is getting the best of you, or struggling to find motivation at work isn’t abnormal, but if it feels like you’re perpetually recycling and re-experiencing the same issue over and over again, the root of the problem may go much deeper.

As an attachment-based therapist, I receive inquiries from clients all the time who are looking to understand the “deep roots” of their problems, and these deep roots often come from early childhood experiences and family dynamics.

If you find yourself asking questions like Why does this keep happening to me; Where is this coming from; Why do I act this way; or Why did that affect me so much, working with a therapist who operates from an attachment-based perspective may be a good fit for you.

What is attachment perspective?

Attachment science is a theory that helps us understand who we are, and how we interact with ourselves, others, and the world. It is interested in who we are as relational beings, and helps us understand our emotions and how we process them. Attachment science maintains that our most intimate relationships growing up help us cope with and overcome adversity, and influence our world views.

A therapist who operates from an attachment-based perspective likes to take early experiences into consideration as this helps them understand you better, consequently helping you understand yourself better.

Why should I work with an attachment-based therapist?

The primary reason to work with an attachment-based perspective therapist is because they can help you to heal a deep-seated emotional wound rather than put a band-aid on top of it.

Through gaining a better understanding of who you are, why you think the way you do, why you act the way you do, and what your triggers are, you can reduce the feeling of “stuck-ness” that is weighing you down today.

Believe it or not, many of the challenges we face today are a result of the strengths that our brilliant little brains developed earlier in life to help us cope with adversity. That anxiety you get every time you have to hand in a work project and you’re afraid it’s not good enough? Well, there’s a chance it’s a relic of feelings of inadequacy rooted in your early years. In some ways, this anxiety served you well at one point in your life, pushing you to be motivated, goal-driven, detail-oriented and to flourish in your career. Perhaps that’s why your brain doesn’t want to let it go, even when it no longer serves you.

Once you gain this deeper understanding of yourself, and where your thoughts, emotions and behaviours come from, it’s a lot easier to find compassion for yourself. It’s also easier to regulate your emotions because you are “hearing” and “seeing” yourself.

What attachment-based therapy does not do

Attachment-based therapy aims to build or rebuild a trusting, supportive relationship that will help prevent or treat presenting mental health challenges. Attachment-based therapy does not:

  • Put the blame on your parents or caregivers. Attachment-perspective therapists are not interested in blaming anyone, they are simply interested in how you navigated the world as a child.
  • Rehash past experiences just for the sake of it. Attachment-based therapy is only interested in the ways early childhood impacts you today. There is no point in going backwards if the past is not affecting you.
  • Only work if you had a “bad childhood”. Attachment-based therapy is based on the idea that all human beings are moulded and influenced by their environment, no matter the circumstances.

If you have a recurring issue that, if resolved, would make a significant difference in your life, consider seeking support from an attachment-based therapist.

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