Healing disorganized attachment is a complex and nuanced process that involves a combination of therapy, self-awareness, and supportive relationships. Disorganized attachment typically stems from inconsistent or traumatic caregiving experiences in early childhood. These lead to difficulties in forming secure and organized ways of relating to others.
Steps To Healing Disorganized Attachment:
1. Get Yourself Into The Highest Quality Therapy You Can: Seek professional help from therapists who specialize in attachment issues, trauma, and who practice relational therapies. Therapies like Attachment-Based Psychotherapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Attachment Focused EMDR can be particularly beneficial. I’ve seen neurofeedback, when administered by a trauma specialist, be hugely helpful. When you interview with a trauma specialist and inquire about the depth and breadth of their advanced training. A therapist who treats trauma can help you explore
the origins of your attachment patterns, process unresolved emotions, and develop healthier ways of relating. A seasoned, qualified trauma therapist will be adept at treating dissociation. That’s essential for getting better.
2. Develop Self-Awareness: Understanding your attachment pattern and recognizing how it impacts your relationships is a crucial step. Self-awareness allows you to identify triggers, emotional responses, and patterns of behavior that stem from disorganized attachment. Journaling, introspection, and mindfulness can all contribute to greater self-awareness.
3. Mindfulness and Self-Regulation: Learning how to regulate your emotions and manage distress is vital in healing disorganized attachment. Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and grounding techniques can help you stay present in difficult moments and prevent reactive responses triggered by past attachment wounds.
4. Resolve Your Trauma: Your disorganized attachment style is a result of early unresolved relational trauma. Addressing and processing that trauma is essential. This should involve working with a therapist experienced in trauma therapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems (IFS). A good therapist will also be able to to help you process early, non verbal trauma.
5. Create Healthy Relationships: Engage in relationships that are safe, supportive, and understanding. Healthy friendships, romantic relationships, and support networks can provide the positive experiences needed to rewire your attachment system over time. Remember, the biggest influence on you is the people you surround yourself with. So, be careful who you surround yourself with. Notice if they normalize unhealthy behavior or not. If everyone around you gets drunk after work and hates physical fitness, you probably will too. If you are around with healthy habits, their good habits will rub off.
6. Cultivate Your Secure Attachment Behaviors: Practice and gradually integrate secure attachment behaviors into your relationships. We change our lives through skillful, intentional action. This includes communication, expressing needs, being responsive to others’ needs, and setting boundaries. Honor your agreements with others. Make them explicit, clarify and refine them when you need to.
7. Inner Child Work: Engage in inner child work to connect with and heal the wounded parts of yourself. This involves visualizing and interacting with your inner child, offering comfort, understanding, and validation. You will need a skilled therapist to do this effectively. Self help is fantastic. And if you have disorganized attachment, you need to do much of your healing work in the context of a deep intimate therapeutic relationship. Then you will transform.
8. Education Is Key: Decide that you are going to be a great patient. Anyone who works in health care will tell you there is a range of patients. There are great patients, terrible patients and everything in between. A great patient engages actively with their therapist, asks great questions, makes requests and offers feedback. They do their own research and use that to fuel their recovery. Educate yourself about attachment theory. Educate yourself about your symptoms. Educate yourself about trauma. Discuss with your therapist how it applies to your experiences. This knowledge can empower you to recognize unhealthy patterns and actively work to change them.
9. Grow Patience and Self-Compassion: Healing disorganized attachment takes time. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion. Don’t expect the quick fix. Understand that progress is not always linear, and setbacks may occur. Treat yourself with kindness as you navigate this journey.
10. Be Consistent: Consistently applying what you learn in therapy and practice new attachment behaviors in your relationships. That is key to transforming your attachment style. Practice your emotional regulation skills and your relationship skills.
Remember that healing from disorganized attachment is a gradual and ongoing process. With dedication and the right support, you can develop more secure, more flexible and healthier ways of relating to others. In the psychology world, we refer to this as “earned security”. (It’s a thing. I’ve seen people do it hundreds of times).
Remember, I know I said this before, but it’s important to involve a qualified therapist or mental health professional who can provide personalized guidance and support throughout your journey. You are making one of the most important investments a person can make when you embark on a therapeutic journey.
Healing Disorganized Attachment: Learn More
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