Creating a Secure Attachment Style – Corrective Experience (Part 7)

Repair – this is what we are engaged in when we are working with any of the three styles of insecure attachment. The mother (or primary caregiver) has been unresponsive to the child’s needs, or even abusive. The child has learnt ways to be in the world that keep her safe. This might be to not be seen, to deny their own bodily needs and feelings, or to cling for dear life to the mother. These behaviours continue into adult relationships often causing problems.

One of the most powerful ways to heal attachment issues is with a psychotherapist.


  1. Find a therapist who is a good fit for you. Someone who is warm, compassionate and supportive. It is okay to ‘interview’ a few therapists before choosing the right one for you. You might visit a few for one session and then decide on one going forward.
  2. Once you have found the right person, stay with them for a minimum of 2 years. It takes a while to open up, to go deep and be vulnerable. There will be lots of areas of your life that you will want to explore.


  • Your therapist will act as a secure base for you as an adult while you begin building one internally for yourself.  Remember, as an insecurely attached, there has not been a stable, secure, consistent home base. So, there is no ‘imprint’ for what this feels, looks and sounds like. It needs to be modelled.
  • Your therapist will enter into your world as a compassionate observer to reflect on current relationships, actions and assumptions.
  • This is different to a friend who is usually on your side, but where there can often be other dynamics. A therapist is trained to walk WITH you through your life experiences as you review them, to be an anchor point.
  • There is no fear that if your therapist sees your darkest and most vulnerable place that she will not to be your friend anymore. Most therapists have been in dark places themselves, that what took them to therapy in the first place, and often what made them want to become a therapist.
  • They can be with you in the dark places and walk with you out the other side.

For example:

In a session with your therapist you discuss the death of your 7-year-old cat. She was a great support to you in difficult times. You talk about her the whole session as you acknowledge and be with your grief. You leave the session feeling unheard. You return to next session and tell the therapist that you were disappointed you didn’t feel heard and acknowledged for your pain. The therapist apologised sincerely that the depths of your pain were not held in the way you needed.

The client becomes emotional and tells the therapist that that is how her mother was as a child. That her mother never acknowledged her feelings and pain. That it is so affirming to have her experience acknowledged as just that, her experience. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, the corrective experience here is to be heard and acknowledged.

As we move through the therapeutic process and learn to trust the therapist more and more, we can have incredibly powerful, healing, corrective experiences that we then take out into our most intimate relationships.