ATTACHMENT STYLES AND THEIR IMPLICATION TO THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE
In March 2015, CLI-TX sponsored a two day training workshop, “Attachment Styles and Their Impact on Divorce”. The first day was presented by a couple of Canadians; one an attorney and the other a mental health professional covering the subject matter. The second day was presented by local collaborative professionals, “Incorporating Attachment Theory in our Texas Collaborative Practice”. I don’t want to give too much away here because CLI-TX is sponsoring a repeat in November in Dallas.
The theory begins with identifying four attachment styles: Secure, Avoidant, Ambivalent and Disorganized. Briefly, the characteristics of the most common styles are as follows:
- Able to balance intimacy and autonomy
- Perceive themselves as likable and lovable
- Trust others
- Good communication skills
- Solve conflict cooperatively and constructively
- Tend to lack empathy
- Distant and avoids intimacy
- Frightened by self disclosure
- Need to be perceived as self-reliant while they are extremely sensitive to rejection.
- Tend to exaggerate the importance of proximity and intimacy
- Tend to suffer anxiety and self-doubt
- In relationships, tend to be demanding, dependent, clinging and jealous
An individual’s attachment style predisposes him or her to think, feel and behave in predictable ways in response to relationship events. Individuals with different styles of attachment will experience and deal differently with the divorce crisis. Furthermore, the interaction of the attachment pattern of the two spouses will produce distinctive divorce dynamics.
There is an opportunity for the collaborative team to adapt its response and plan according to each unique dynamic. Teams with this insight can significantly increase their client’s satisfaction with the collaborative process.