From Evergreen Psychotherapy Center: “This is the first in a series of articles about the critical role of experience in shaping attachment patterns and in healing unhealthy or negative patterns once they have formed. The experience of a healing relationship, whether it is between a therapist and client, or parent and child, is the most change-producing factor. Many studies on therapy outcome, for example, reveal that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the primary factor associated with positive results – more important than any theory or methods used. Positive change requires a relationship in which people experience trust, safety, empathy, support, healthy boundaries, and ‘limbic resonance’ (emotional and mental attunement) . . .
Early attachment experiences shape the brain’s structure, chemistry and genetic expression in the following ways:
- They activate neuronal firing, creating synaptic connections between neurons (‘what fires together wires together’).
- Biochemicals are triggered and released. Secure attachment between baby and parent triggers the release of Dopamine (pleasure, closeness, motivation), Endorphins (reduces pain, enhances calmness and contentment), Serotonin (stress reduction) and Oxytocin (fosters maternal behavior and bonding).
- Early experiences of secure or insecure attachment are programmed into the implicit memory systems (preverbal and unconscious) of the brain’s limbic system and become mindsets and expectations that guide subsequent behavior. For example, you may fear intimacy and dependency as an adult because of experiencing abandonment and betrayal as a child.”