Attachment Theory: What Is It? Why Is It Important In Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy? And Why It Has Implications For Our Later Emotional Adjustment, Mental Health, And Adult Relationships

One major contemporary idea that is very important in developmental psychology that has emerged out of psychoanalysis, is attachment theory. Attachment theory was developed by the British psychoanalyst John Bowlby, with many other theorists developing the theory further. Attachment theory is an attempt to explain how as babies we form attachments to significant caregivers in order to get our needs met and feel safe. There are four attachment styles that are developed in infancy ranging from secure to various types of insecure attachment. Our attachment style is strongly influenced how our major caregivers responded to our needs and our attempts to communicate our needs as babies. If we develop a secure attachment style then this is good, as this generally means that we will then develop into a child (and hopefully later an adult) who is good at dealing with our emotions effectively and forming secure attachment relationships with others in our life as we age. If however, we developed an insecure attachment relationship of some sort with our significant caregiver or caregivers, then this will have negative implications for our ability to emotionally self-regulate and form secure and healthy bonds with others as we age. This means that if we end up having an insecure attachment style, this will have a significant bearing on our mental health and overall well being. It also means that we will have difficulty in getting our needs met in positive and healthy ways. The video below explains attachment theory, what the different attachment styles are, how it has implications for our ability to emotionally self-regulate, and our later relationships. It basically helps to explain how our early childhood impacts the rest of our lives and why it is so important in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.