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Music and Attachment

I have recently been exploring the impact of how we attach to our care givers from an early age. From reading the literature and research surrounding ‘attachments’ there is a proven theory that we all fall into one or some of the defined categories. These categories are generally based on how we approach, and have internalised a system of relating to others (internalised from how our care givers related to us). First formulated by the psychoanalyst John Bowlby and his psychologist colleague Mary Ainsworth these patterns typically fall into four categories. Secure, insecure avoidant, insecure ambivalent and disorganised were considered to make up our internal patterns of relating. These were loose definitions and many people are considered a mixture of these at different times in their relational lives.

Without delving too deeply into defining these patterns, it recently occurred to me how music can act as an emotional regulator for those of us who didn’t internalise or experience the benefit and learning from a ‘secure’ attachment. Experiencing a ‘not good enough’ attachment figure can cause us to struggle from emotional dysregulation (not being able to regulate our emotions effectively). This means that as babies or children we weren’t given the skills to manage our affect (emotions) so may have perhaps turned to another external source. At varying times in my life I have used music both playing and listening to regulate my own affect and it is only now as I work as a therapist I realise the universal impact that music and the arts can have. The further and deeper I delve in to my journey of both music and mind the closer both of these entities become.

How does music help you?

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