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Couple Hugging

 If life is a school, relationship is its University.

Integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT) was developed by Neil S. Jacobson and Andrew Christensen.  Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy focusses on acceptance and change as positive outcomes for couples in therapy. Couples who succeed in therapy usually make some concrete changes to accommodate the needs of the other but they also show greater emotional acceptance of the other. Acceptance starts with an a willingness to understand your and your partner's life histories.  Who we are now is based on how we grew up, what our parents’ relationships were like, what our traumas and wounds are, as well as what our strengths and positive life experiences are.  IBCT involves focusing less of changing your partner (how often does this work?) and more on greater compassion and understanding (which naturally leads to change).  

Attachment Theory explores relationships between humans. The most important tenet is that young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for normal social and emotional development. The theory was formulated by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. Infants become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some months during the period from about six months to two years of age. Parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment; these, in turn, lead to internal working models which will guide the individual's feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships.

What Are Attachment Styles?  (Briana McWilliam)

Attachment styles are 4 unique blueprints for how you’ve learned to give and receive love in your childhood, but also through your adult romantic relationships. Your blueprint is like a compass for how much closeness or space you desire, when it comes to emotional intimacy.

Individuals who want a lot of closeness with a partner, typically have anxious attachment;
Individuals who want more space, usually have avoidant attachment;
Individuals who both want and fear closeness, are sometimes considered “fearful avoidant,” “anxious-avoidant,” or “disorganized."

Individuals who are comfortable with both closeness and separateness in relationships, and can flexibly move back and forth between those states of being, are considered securely attached.


How do attachment styles affect relationships?

Most couples who struggle with insecure attachment styles frequently trigger one another’s most basic fears of rejection, failure, criticism and judgement, or just not being “good enough.” Both partners are usually trying to prove their worthiness and look to the other to confirm they are lovable, but the way they have learned to ask for approval and acceptance typically starts a fight, or leads to the silent treatment and stonewalling. Inevitably, one partner feels the need to run away while the other feels emotionally abandoned.  Identifying and working through disparate attachment styles is often helpful for couples to regain a sense of closeness and understanding. 


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