Deciphering The Language of Love


Based on attachment research beginning with John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth in the 1960’s to current research looking at the neuroscience of attachment, it is understood that the love we feel from another person has a profound effect on our physical and emotional health. In fact, MRI studies have found that partners can tolerate pain better when they are holding the hand or even imagining a loved one! Dr. Sue Johnson explains the three attachment styles: secure, insecure-anxious, and insecure-avoidant. While these styles often begin in childhood, they can also be created within an adult romantic relationship. The most common problem that couples face is emotional disconnection. Thus, when a couple is not attuned to one another, they can be insecurely attached, causing partners to behave in ways that are often primal (i.e. fight, flight, or freeze). Emotion focused couples therapy, developed by Dr. Johnson and based on the research on attachment, has been shown to effectively change couples’ attachment styles and brings them from disconnection into a more securely attached and connected relationship.

Sue Johnson