All About Attachment

The emotional bond that typically forms between infant and caregiver, usually a parent, not only stimulates brain growth but affects personality development and lifelong ability to form stable relationships. Neuroscientists now believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to it, and the process of forming lasting bonds is powered in part by the hormone oxytocin.

Recent Posts on Attachment

Mourning – Death, Loss, Trauma, and Psychotherapy

Mourning is the process by which we heal from grief. I’ve heard people say, “What’s the point of grieving, you can’t bring a loved one back from the dead.” That of course, is true, but it is what allows us, the survivors, to return back to the land of the living and resume our lives.

Hiding From Relationship—In Relationship

The suppression of the emotional vitality that we call passion is both the benefit and the cost of irrelationship, and a side effect of the process that creates it. Relationships can be enlisted in the service of defense in many ways. In irrelationship, the enlistment is constructed by two people, and enforced by both.

Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors

By The Book Brigade on March 03, 2015 in The Author Speaks
The millions of teens and adults who engage in self-destructive behavior do so because they never learned more constructive ways of soothing themselves in moments of distress. Many have engaged in such behaviors for so long that they can't envision a way out. But it's possible to replace self-destructive acts with kinder means of coping.

The Most and Least Popular Dog Breeds

A full listing of the popularity ranking of all 178 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. The trends over the past five years show some interesting consistencies and some intriguing changes.

What Does “Facebook Stalking” Mean for Your Relationship?

Social networking websites like Facebook give us unprecedented access to others’ lives, and the opportunity to spy on our romantic partners like never before. A new study investigates how this kind of Facebook surveillance is related to the types of relationships we have.

Empathy for a Child Abuser?

Empathy for a child abuser? For a child molester? How can anyone be empathic with someone who has done something so terrible? Why would they want to? Do the perpetrators possibly deserve such a thing? For a judge or prosecutor, of course not. For stopping repetitive dysfunctional family interactions that trigger someone's self-destructive behavior? Necessary.

What We Lose, and Gain, When a Family Separates

By Kylie Agllias Ph.D. on March 01, 2015 in Family Conflict
The choice to estrange from family is often portrayed as a simple and selfish act, but the reality and the experience is much more complex.

Meaning is Where the Action Is

Whether a therapist’s expression of emotional understanding will produce therapeutic or counter-therapeutic effects will depend on the emotional meanings that such expressions have for the patient.

8 Warning Signs Your Lover is a Narcissist

The Mayo Clinic research group defines narcissistic personality disorder as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration." How do you know when your romantic partner may be a narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

4 Keys to Great Sex

By Kimberly Key on February 27, 2015 in Counseling Keys
Sex with the wrong partner can have deleterious effects on your self-esteem. Learn the four keys to an awesome sex life.

They Talk, We Listen

By G.A. Bradshaw Ph.D., Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Bear in Mind
"I don’t know what happened, my Sweet Girl is gone. Yesterday she left in the morning and didn’t even say good-bye. She just left. I waited all day yesterday and she never came home, and today she’s still not home. I am really, really sad. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself."

How to Tidy Your Home Mindfully

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on February 26, 2015 in Urban Survival
Could the cluttered state of your home be holding you back? Marie Kondo's method of decluttering is about more than tidying the home—surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy can help you achieve a greater clarity and awareness of the mind, too.

A Mother's Love: Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths

By Peg Streep on February 26, 2015 in Tech Support
Commonly held ideas about motherhood shape the dialogue we have culturally, get in the way of understanding parent-child conflict, and affect each of us individually by setting a high and sometimes impossible standard. Why it's time to banish some of the myths that animate the discussion and start a new conversation.

Are Kids Curious?

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in This Is America
In The Hungry Mind, Engel draws on the latest social science research to understand why curiosity is nearly universal in babies, and less evident in school. Although most children learn more when their curiosity is piqued, “schools do not always, or even often, foster curiosity.” But in an era that prizes quantifiable results, curiosity is not likely to be a priority.

7 Ways Your Relationship Can Change You

Who you are is less stable than you think, especially when it comes to the influence of romantic partners.

What Makes it Easier to Be Kind to Strangers Than Loved Ones

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on February 24, 2015 in Off the Couch
Ann and Bob have been married for five years and, after trying to get pregnant for two years, have just had their first baby. Their friends and family are all thrilled for them. And while they are both excited to be parents at last, they are also exhausted, anxious and miserable.

Study: Dogs Can Identify Liars, and They Don't Trust Them

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 24, 2015 in Canine Corner
Dogs keep track of whether people lie or tell the truth, and they use these memories to determine whether they can trust particular humans and any new information that they get from them.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 24, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Resolving Social Conflict Between Familiar Cats

Cats may abruptly begin fighting with a cat they have known for years. Other times, a cat may dislike a new cat from the very first introduction. Have you ever had cats that did not get along? Please share your cat’s story and how you resolved the problem of quarreling kitties.

Where Does the Anger in Your Relationship Come From?

Everyday love can come with some anger... but is your anger linked to who you are, rather than what your partner did?

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 1 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

What Exactly Is 'The Best Interest of the Child?', Part 2

When parents are asked about the essential needs of their children during and after parental separation, children’s emotional, psychological, social, moral and spiritual needs are seen to be of paramount importance. But what exactly are these “metaphysical” needs?

What Exactly Is “The Best Interest of the Child”?

A truly child-focused approach positions children’s needs at the forefront of “best interests” considerations, along with corresponding parental and social institutional responsibilities to these needs.

A Psychologist Views Why Moms Get Nothing Done

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in Good Thinking
Imitation is a powerful form of learning that comes on-line early in development and shapes who we become.

Goodbye Facebook, Hello World

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on February 20, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
I deactivated my Facebook account, after 8 years. Here's why. Stay tuned for more discussion of the Facebook experience. I've explored the good, the bad and the ugly - and concluded that Facebook is totally unnecessary.

Emotions As a Second Language - Or Should They Be Our First?

Emotional literacy is being able to feel and identify one’s feeling states. This fluency enhances emotional self-regulation, lessens over-reactivity to negative emotions such as anger, and is the basis of interpersonal emotional modulation.

Fatherhood by the Numbers

By Peter B. Gray Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in The Evolving Father
Fatherhood lags behind motherhood, but is also rising. That's fatherhood by the numbers. Scholars also call for increased research on fatherhood interventions, including more rigorous research designs to discern what the effects of those interventions on children will be.

Why Does Anyone Love Men Who Won't Love Back?

By Robert T Muller Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in Talking About Trauma
Guest writer Aviva Philipp-Muller examines why Hollywood glorifies characters who exhibit a dismissing-avoidant attachment style.

Shades of Play: Trauma Reenactment Versus Trauma Play

Psychologists still quite commonly use childhood abuse to explain and pathologize those who enjoy BDSM. This article discusses the difference between trauma reenactment and trauma play, and provides insights into why some therapists may be mistakenly shaming clients into trying to correct what is actually a healthy form of human sexual expression.

I’m Glad I Raised My Kids in the Flintstone Era

As I watch mothers who talk or text while they breast feed and fathers who read their emails despite the fact that their kids are practically ripping their shirts as they pull on them, I reminisce about raising my three beautiful sons. I couldn't use an iPad to babysit my kids, and that meant they were free to fully engage in imaginary and creative play.