We are continuing our Heart of Dating Select Series with the incredible Dr. Diane Strachowski!
Now we know y’all know all about the enneagram, and myers briggs, and love languages and things like that… but there is actually a different tool based in science that has become one of the MOST useful tools for me in dating. It’s called attachment theory. And honestly you guys, we have been looking to find a psychologist for forever who is passionate about this, and at long awaited last, we discovered the amazing Dr. Diane.
Doctor Diane Strachowski has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Masters in Counseling and a Doctorate in Education. She did her postdoctoral studies at Stanford, where she received advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral therapy. Dr. Diane has worked on various clinical trials doing research on empirically validated treatments for a variety of health related issues.
In the past twenty years her practice has evolved from working with patients with mood issues to becoming a relationship expert working with singles and couples. Her goal is to give people the best that psychology has to offer; she know what works and the difference that a healthy relationship can make in your life.
Her life’s work is to support men, women, and couples to think about themselves and their relationships differently. Dr. Diane believes that your brain is the epicenter to opening your heart, and that science confirms that if you think positively about love you can feel and act positively.
She is an incredible advocate for attachment theory and has even derived her OWN test and broken it down into 7 different types. You can take the quiz yourself by going to secureinlove.com.
Today we look back on a conversation with Dr. Diane that so amazingly breaks down attachment theory, where it originated and how it applies today. She also details out the various different love attachment types and what the needs are for each type. We also talk about the silver lining of attachment theory and how you can actually HEAL.
What is attachment theory?
- Dr. Bolby developed attachment theory in the 50’s and 60’s as a study on orphans
- The study revealed the impact that early childhood relationships had on later romantic relationships as adults.
- The important part is we don’t see someone’s true attachment style unless they are under stress.
- Dr. Mary Ainsworth then came in after Dr. Bolby’s study and said there might be other attachment styles
- She created a way to test this through science to figure out one’s attachment style.
- Within the test, called “the Strange Situation”, with young children they created an environment with a stressor to see how the child responds to the stressor.
- They measured the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as the baby’s heart rate.
- Through this test Dr. Ainsworth developed 4 different attachment styles “secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized”
What are the four types of attachment styles?
- Secure– The parent was highly attentive and attuned which then created a close bond between the mother and the child. They have TRUST
- Anxious– The baby believes the parent is responsive SOME of the time, but not all the time. This could be because the parent is busy, or has 4 other children, or is a workaholic, or an alcoholic… but when the child has needs the parent doesn’t always come. The child learns that the parent is not so successful at calming them down. When a baby has a need, it sometimes gets ignored. This in turn makes them be a bit controlling.
- Avoidant– They didn’t get much from the parent so the child doesn’t know how to rely on other people. They learn they have no one and are on their own. The baby then learns to auto-regulate and take care of themselves.
- Disorganized-These babies have been abused and feel incredibly confused and don’t know who to trust!
How do these attachment styles affect how we show up in dating?
- Hm min Dating is kind of like the strange situation experience!
- Now as an adult, based on the attachment style we have, we have certain needs and those needs are different be based on what we learned to have met in childhood.
- Anxious Attachment Style- They need to be seen, heard, to be validated, CONSISTENCY. You become anxious when you don’t get validation. It starts stressing the anxious person out and they downward spiral. They have a hard time relaxing and calming down because they never got that as a child.
- Avoidant Attachment Style-They need space, peace, and lack of conflict. They don’t want to feel crowded. In relationship they can be charismatic but they talk about thoughts and not feelings. They typically appear secure upfront. Dating is tricky for an avoidant person because they do not get threatened until much later.As soon as commitment hits, they sort of change/ become distant. What they need is to process, but also process with people. The avoidant should tell the anxious person not to take it personally because they need air in moments.
- Avoidants are about 27% of the population
- It is NOT impossible for Avoidants and anxious people to date.
- The silver lining-there is something called EARNED attachment!!!
- “It doesn’t matter where you started, it just matters where you end”
- A key phrase is to say “I know you don’t mean to do this personally“- you NEED to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
- We can’t expect this to be amazing right away….It takes on AVERAGE 5 years to become secure. Therefore, you have to commit to this process.
What are things we can do NOW to heal as singles?
- The work is to become secure enough on our own.
- We develop our BODY first, then our SOUL, and then our MIND last.
- So in order to heal we have to go BODY, SOUL, MIND.
- Healing BODY means we need to learn how to calm down on our own through meditation, prayer, exercise, etc. For anxious-Don’t just pick up the phone and tell everyone and vent about it, not the best reflex. You need to calm yourself down on your own. For avoidant- you need to process with someone else.
- Healing SOUL means healing through prayer and through God. You can also heal your soul by connecting to your inner child and healing the lies you believed as a child.
- Healing MIND means that we are thinking irrational thoughts and rationally we need to think about what areas that is TRUE. We have to keep a thought catalog and think with HOPE. Realize that this is just one slice of time.
- Having good friends in this season- this will help you heal those wounds.
- Be around people that are slightly better than you.
- Have a coach or a therapist to get even better advice.
- Just because you have needs, does not mean you are needy.
What are the recent stats for each attachment style?
- Anxious- 42%
- Take the QUIZ to figure out what style you are: secureinlove.com.
What is your final nugget of dating advice?
- “Don’t use the golden rule, but use the PLATINUM RULE”
- The Platinum Rule– “Do unto your partner the way THEY would like to be done unto”
Take Dr. Diane’s quiz HERE
Connect with Dr. Diane on Instagram HERE