Grief Counseling Education Program: Attachment Bonds and Grief Reactions
As social creatures, humans must interact in society. At every level there exists various relationships from the micro level of the family to the macro level of a nation. In each relationship various bonds form between people and the health and intensity of each bond reflects the grief reaction. The work of John Bowlby best expresses this when he conducted his research regarding mother/child bonding.
The first and most sacred bond is the bond between child and parent. This caregiving bond establishes not only immediate care and love but also lays the foundation for future bonding with other relationships. These early bonds when secure produce healthy adults who form new bonds with other people. A secure attachment that encompasses a loving parental/child bond ensures within the child’s mind that care and protection is provided and not neglected. These same ideals transfer to relationships later in life and help people grieve in a healthy fashion.
An unhealthy attachment bond is an anxious one where the child’s needs are left or neglected. This creates an anxiety within the child that those who bond with it will not always be there to help, protect and satisfy one’s needs. In adult life, the person feels an anxiety that a partner cannot fulfill their needs and will eventually leave them when in distress. This is only more complicated when a breakup or a death occurs. Usually complicated grief reactions occur within the person. The person struggles to alter the inner representation of the lost attachment figure and also have a great difficulty in letting go. Also within their grief, they may resent their lack of attention by others for their grieving needs.
The third and final type of bonding is an avoidant attachment bond where the child makes no attempt to secure the parent’s attention due to multiple pass failures. The result is an internal methodology of coping with stress instead of seeking external help. Someone who is dismissive-avoidant will flee outside help, one who is fearful-avoidant will try to protect oneself from pain and rejection in one’s solitude.
In conclusion, child bonding is critical in forming healthy adult bonds that affect the ability of the person to grieve in a healthy fashion.
If you are interested in Grief Counseling Education Program, please review the program.
(Information for this article came from “Helping Grieving People-When Tears Are Not Enough” by J. Shep Jeffreys)
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C