Do you suffer from attachment issues? Does it affect your day to day life? Would you like help and guidance? Here is some useful information from The AOC you will find helpful.
What Are Attachment Issues??
When babies are born they rely on parents or caregivers to protect them, care for them and look after both their emotional and physical needs. Having these needs met allows them to form a bond with their parents, or ‘attach’. Forming this attachment helps children learn to love and trust others, to regulate emotions, become aware of others’ feelings and develop healthy bonds in the future.
If for some reason this bond isn’t formed, children can develop attachment issues – including attachment disorder. It may be that the child felt abandoned, isolated or uncared for during their early years. The reasons behind such experiences can be complex, but for a young child all they understand is that they cannot depend on others.
Sadly, this lack of attachment can lead to future behavioural issues and may affect relationships and social bonds. On this page we will look into the complicated nature of attachment disorder, including symptoms, treatment and how to care for a child with attachment disorder.
The term attachment disorder can relate to specific disorders of mood or behaviour, and the inability to form social relationships due to a failure to form attachments at a young age. Typically, attachment disorder affects young children, but if left untreated it can apply to school-age children and even adults. At its worst, attachment issues can develop into reactive attachment disorder, a condition that is likely to require professional help.
It is generally believed that attachment disorder and reactive attachment disorder is uncommon. The true number of children affected is unknown however, as many affected families don’t seek help.
What Causes Attachment Disorder?
Attachment issues come about when a child fails to form an attachment to its parent or caregiver in its early years. The reasons behind this vary, but may include the following:
- No one responds or offers comfort when the baby cries
- The baby isn’t tended to when it’s hungry or needs changing
- The baby is abused or mistreated
- The baby is hospitalised or separated from its parents
- The baby is repeatedly moved from one caregiver to another
- The baby receives no attention, so feels alone
- The baby’s parent/s are emotionally unavailable due to illness, mental health problems or substance abuse.
Some circumstances are unavoidable, but as the child is too young to understand what has happened they simply feel alone and as if the world is an unsafe place to be.
If the attachment disorder is left untreated, it can have a negative impact on the child’s emotional, social and behavioural development. A child with attachment disorder may therefore be at higher risk for a number of emotional and mental health problems in later life.
The above information was shared from The Counselling Directory.
Attachment Disorder if left untreated can evolve and cause mental health problems including the following;
- Behavioural Problems – The child will not trust others and may not respect their teacher
- Depression (Hyperlink to depression Word Doc) – Having the sense of isolation and abandonment may lead to depression later if life
- Learning Difficulties – If they do not form a bond during childhood they may experience learning difficulties when they grow older
- Low Self-esteem – Being left alone when a child can lead to a low self-esteem and also low confidence
- Relationship Issues – If the child hasn’t had a relationship with their parents they are likely to not know how to form any kind of relationships in the future.
- Substance Abuse – If a child has had to have self-comfort growing up these patterns may continue as they get older and they may turn to drugs and/or alcohol to comfort them. A child can also learn this from parents with substance abuse.
- Social Difficulties – Failing to form attachments in childhood will cause social difficulties in the future. They will find it hard to understand others and be wary of others attempts to socialise. Some will even experience social anxiety.
Who Does It Effect?
Attachment issues firstly effect a child who has been neglected and ignored by its parents so they do not form a bond/relationship. This will then affect them throughout their childhood and can even stretch into their adult life. It will also effect family members of children suffering as the neglect may not always be intentional but by then it could also be too late. The parents will then be upset and stressed wanting to help the child and will seek help wherever they can find.
Clear specific bonds normally become present between 6-9 months of age.
Examples of People with Attachment Issues
“I knew something wasn’t right early on” – Julia and Me.
How Can it be Treated?
The AOC can help you if you are or have had attachment issues or know someone who has and are still feeling the effects. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.
Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.
Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.
There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;
Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.
Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.
Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.
Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.
The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.
Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.
If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to firstname.lastname@example.org You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;
- For individuals or couples
- Family referral form
- Group referral form
Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.
Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:
We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.
Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;
Creative Arts Therapies (drama, art, movement, music therapy or psychodrama)
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:
- In schools
- In mental health
- In general health and social care settings
- In prisons
- In hospices
- In the voluntary sector
- In private practice
Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training’s in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are vtrained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.
The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)
We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;
Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.
Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them.
The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.
Top Health Tips
- Safety – Maintaining the physical safety of people and property should always be parents’ top priority. This always takes precedence over doing something to promote attachment, to encourage better behaviour, etc.
- Love – Offering and expressing love is the parents’ responsibility. Receiving love (letting it in) is the child’s responsibility. Parents too often take the responsibility completely onto themselves to find a way to “get their love in”. It is far more helpful to your child to challenge him (softly) about his methods for keeping their love out and to remind him it is his choice to remove those obstacles or not.
- Rules – Behavioural rules need to be specific, clear, and phrased inbehavioural language that states what the child needs to do not do or stop doing.
- Appreciation vs. Praise – After an AD child reluctantly makes a cooperative choice, appreciation is often a better parental response than praise. Appreciation puts parent and child on the same level for that interaction. Praise, on the other hand, can suggest that the one offering the praise (parent) is the more powerful one, and therefore able to pass judgment on the less powerful one (child).
- Eye contact – As long as an AD child does not have consistently good eye contact, working on eye contact should be a priority. Good eye contact is the basis for the child learning to “take the parent in emotionally”.
- Physical touch – AD children are often touch avoidant. Parents should not let this intimidate them into rarely touching their child as touch is a cornerstone of attachment.
- Motivation – A word of warning: do not care about your child’s problems more than she does. AD children are quite content to allow the adults to carry the worry while they continue the behaviour.