You might consider Attachment-Focused EMDR or AF-EMDR therapy if you are experiencing attachment difficulties. This article will discuss attachment styles, risk factors for attachment difficulties, and what AF-EMDR is. Keep reading to find out more.
Can an adult be diagnosed with an attachment disorder?
Attachment disorders are usually diagnosed in childhood, and we have no formal diagnosis for attachment disorders in adults. However, we do recognise attachment difficulties. We will explain these in more detail further on.
Attachment disorders in children:
- Reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
- Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED)
Children with RAD are typically withdrawn and show little emotion toward others. Whereas children with DSED often trust strangers too much and have minimal social boundaries.
Attachment disorder and attachment styles
You might have had an attachment disorder as a child if you struggled to establish a deep emotional connection with your parent/caregiver. Also known as an attachment bond.
Symptoms of attachment disorders may continue into adulthood, especially if you had an undiagnosed attachment disorder in childhood.
In adults, we may refer to this as an attachment difficulty.
Signs of attachment difficulties
- Struggling to trust or feel safe with others
- A strong level of trust towards people you don’t know well
- Finding it hard to form or maintain relationships
- Low or inability to express feelings, emotions, or affection
- Resisting affection from others
- Difficulty reading emotions
- A lack of awareness of social boundaries
- Having a negative self-image and low self-esteem
- Issues with aggression
- Problems with substance abus
You may also experience associated mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Learn more about the most common anxiety symptoms.
Early relationships with parents/guardians and caregivers also influence your attachment style.
The four attachment styles are:
- Secure attachment
- Anxious-preoccupied attachment
- Dismissive-avoidant attachment
- Disorganised/disoriented or fearful-avoidant attachment
Read more: How early relationships with parents/guardians affect adult relationships.
EMDR therapy and AF-EMDR Therapy
What is EMDR therapy?
We use Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to help you reprocess traumatic memories and heal. EMDR therapy originated as a way to treat PTSD symptoms.
It is hard for the brain to process an overwhelming traumatic event or series of events. This can lead to this trauma remaining unprocessed or trapped, meaning you could trigger the memory or feelings you experienced later on.
During EMDR therapy, we use bilateral stimulation to occupy your conscious mind while you revisit these memories. Bilateral stimulation is a visual, auditory or tactile stimulus that crosses the body in a rhythmic left to right pattern. Examples include eye movements or hand tapping.
EMDR therapy is not a form of hypnosis, as you remain fully awake and alert throughout. EMDR can accelerate the effectiveness of therapy, though it isn’t appropriate for everyone.
We use AF-EMDR therapy to treat relational trauma. That is trauma in the context of a relationship. You might also hear Attachment-Focused EMDR therapy referred to as Attachment-Informed EMDR therapy.
You might have relational trauma if your parent/guardian or caregiver provided inadequate care when you were young. A significant other can also cause relational trauma.
During AF-EMDR, we focus on traumatic memories from early childhood and how they affect you now.
AF-EMDR allows you to work through attachment difficulties using a combination of resource tapping, bilateral stimulation, and talk therapy. In AF-EMDR, we emphasise the relationship between the therapist and the client.
Attachment-Focused EMDR can be especially useful for people with an insecure attachment style. You may never have had a safe place, so we ask you to visualise a safe, peaceful space in your imagination during AF-EMDR. You can return to this place both in and outside of therapy.
Do I need Attachment-Focused EMDR therapy?
It can be hard to determine the type of therapy that may be beneficial for you on your own. We recommend speaking to a therapist about the problems you are experiencing and want to resolve. We can work together to decide the best treatment plan for you.
At the Vyas-Lee Practice, we offer Attachment-Focused EMDR therapy for attachment difficulties. Our experienced team can guide you through the processing of your traumatic experiences and help you heal from them.
Contact us to discuss how AF EMDR therapy might benefit you. Book a consultation with one of our expert therapists today to prioritise your mental health.
We offer Attachment-Focused EMDR at our London clinic as well as online therapy sessions for your convenience.