attachment issues 


Sound Familiar?

Guadalupe, a 32-year-old lawyer based in Rancho Penasquitos, CA, frequently finds herself questioning her relationships. Despite being successful in her career, she struggles with feelings of insecurity and constant fear of abandonment.  Actually, some friends have suggested that it could be related precisely to the fact that she is so successful in her career that Guadalupe experiences such trouble relationally.  In other words, she’s so driven on that side to win, maybe she can’t figure out how to settle down and be a partner in relationships?  Or something like that.  At any rate, she wonders if she should seek help to understand what healthy attachment looks like.

Eric is a 45-year-old graduate school professor at the University of San Diego — he has always leaned towards avoiding intimacy in his relationships.  He even recognized that his choice to become a teacher was at least partially informed by the fact that he’s in charge all the time and doesn’t have to feel super vulnerable too often — his students generally always know less about the subject matter than he does!  Even at 45, he reports that on most days he still believes that avoiding attachment will safeguard him from the possibility of heartbreak, but his growing awareness of feeling emotionally disconnected and unfulfilled now holds just as much weight in his mind and heart.  How long can he keep going like this?

Katerina is a 28-year-old immigrant and artist residing in the gamplight district of downtown San Diego, CA.  She expriences extreme emotional highs and lows within her relationships. Partners describe that she craves constant reassurance and affirmation, often resulting in clingy and anxious behavior, which of course often has the opposite result — she’s experienced her fair share of relational abandonment as a result.  Her lovers become too overwhelmed by her needs and leave for their own survival.  Katerina has historically passed this off as the throes of “being in love with an artist,” but their wasn’t much romantic about how badly it felt.  Even she isn’t buying it anymore. 

Understanding Attachment

Attachment is a concept that refers to the emotional bond that forms between individuals, particularly between infants and their primary caregiver. It emphasizes those early relationships as a mechanism for understanding the lifelong impact of early attachment experiences an individual’s social and emotional development.  These first relationships are believed to place within us a sense of relationbal functioning — based on how they go, we develop a template for how the rest of the relationships over the course of our lifetime should feel.  Modern understanding of attachment has been greatly enhanced in recent years with the advancement of something called “attachment theory,” developed by John Bowlby as a sort of psychological model of various ways of attaching.   Perhaps not surprisingly, some attachment styles pave the way for healthy relationships, and others not so much.  The good news is that in spite of whatever misgivings we may have had with attachments in our childhood, we can learn how to attach healthily as adults.  

Understanding Attachment Styles/Types:

Secure Attachment

Individuals with secure attachment have experienced consistent and nurturing care in their early years, leading to feelings of safety, trust, and confidence in their relationships. Such individuals tend to have healthier emotional regulation and communication skills.

Avoidant Attachment

Those with avoidant attachment have often experienced inconsistent or dismissive care, leading them to develop a fear of intimacy and emotional reliance on others. They tend to prioritize independence and distance themselves emotionally from others.

Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment

Individuals with ambivalent/anxious attachment frequently experienced inconsistent caregiving, causing them to crave constant reassurance and fear rejection or abandonment. They may exhibit clingy and possessive behaviors in their relationships, or conversely, may be aloof and unable/unwililng to commit, d.  If you 

Disorganized Attachment

Disorganized attachment typically arises from traumatic experiences or abusive relationships during childhood. This attachment style often leads to conflicted and confusing behaviors, alternating between avoidance and anxiety.  If you have a disorganized attachment style, you may o genuinely desire and crave safety, but find that experience has taught you that life is unsafe/dangerous.  As a result, you may actually tend to detach/dissociate from healthy relationships (and conversely, drift toward unsafe ones).  

Steps towards Secure Attachment

Attachment issues can significantly impact an individual’s mental health and overall well-being. It is important to recognize the various attachment styles and understand the steps one can take to develop secure attachments. Seeking mental health counseling, especially in San Diego, CA, can prove instrumental in overcoming attachment issues and fostering healthier relationships. Remember, you are not alone, and by taking proactive steps towards change, personal growth and satisfying relationships become attainable goals.  Here are some steps you can take now:

  • Self-Reflection: Engaging in self-reflection allows individuals to understand their attachment patterns, identify triggers, and recognize the impact on their relationships and mental health.
  • Seek Support: Reaching out to mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, can provide valuable guidance and tools for overcoming attachment issues.
  • Build Healthy Relationships: By actively seeking relationships characterized by open communication, trust, and respect, individuals can gradually develop secure attachments.

Research on Attachment and Mental Health

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (research citation), individuals with secure attachment styles exhibit higher levels of overall well-being and lower rates of anxiety and depression.  This is perhaps not surprising in that most people find that the drive to be in relationships is fundamentally human.  To not be in relationship to one degree or another is difficult to conceive of.  Also, a research paper published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (research citation) highlights the correlation between avoidant attachment and increased risk of psychological disorders such as substance abuse and mood disorders.  In other words, the less we’re in healthy relationships, the more likely we are to cope with whatever is missing from that fundamental need through maladaptive means, and/or to not cope at all (and thus develop depression or anxiety, etc.)!

In popular literature, the book “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller, delves into the influence of attachment styles on romantic relationships, offering insights and advice for building healthier connections.  If you’re looking for a good resource to learn  more about attachment that’s not too heady or academic, try that!

Need some guidance with all of these?  We can help!

At Juxta, California counseling, we are aren’t just expert counselors – we’re people too, which means you can expect us to be genuinely interested in you, your story, and your life.  We want to get to know the real you.  In our work together, honesty with yourself and us comes to characterize the entire healing endeavor. Thus, our relationship itself — that is the work.


There’s nothing else you need to do to prepare.  There’s no reason to wait any longer.

Looking for Counseling for Attachment Issues?

Reach out today!


Message Us at contact@

Or use the form below — there’s no pressure.

Call Us

(858) 227-7719

close. nearby.




San Diego, CA


(858) 227-7719