chapter  4
23 Pages


Learned Secure Attachment in the Body
WithMarian Dunlea

This chapter outlines the key tenets of attachment theory and the types of attachment behaviour: secure, insecure ambivalent, insecure avoidant, disorganized disoriented, and learned secure attachment.

I demonstrate how to integrate the neurobiology of attachment, developmental and trauma theory with somatic interventions in an in-depth case study of David, a client with an ambivalent attachment pattern.

I address the “self-care system” as outlined by Donald Kalsched which supports the particular attachment style adopted by the child to guarantee its survival. We worked to repair incidences of misattunement to repattern the client’s nervous system responses, and free himself from the tyranny and destructive behaviour of his ambivalent attachment pattern. When we attempt to repattern attachment behaviours, the persecutor / protector dynamic mobilizes against any perceived threat of change, activating the nervous system to return it to the old, albeit dysregulated, attachment pattern. Gradually, with attunement, titration, and pendulation he developed a learned secure attachment relationship to his sensing body, which fostered an embodied sense of core self. Released from the tyranny of his overwhelming feelings of dependency on the m/other, he was now available to express himself creatively, and follow his individuating process.