Attachment-Based Family Therapy is grounded in the significance of a child’s initial sensory experiences, especially the crucial encounter of a mother’s affection, and the consequent sense of security this interaction fosters. At Lake House Academy, a notable trend among our student body is the disruption of their trust in their caregivers’ devotion to them. This erosion, leads to a cascade of challenges, including defiance, anxiety, depression, caregiver burnout, and aggression within the family system.
The families affiliated with Lake House engage in exploring the breaks in trust, while undertaking a commitment to address and repair these ruptures. Our students are empowered to confront and name their perceived relational wounds with their parents. The family system unites to confront both the known and unknown emotional traumas stemming from their formative years. When the family can put a name to the pain and disruption in trust, the family is able to then create a plan towards healing. In my capacity as a family therapist, I utilize therapeutic techniques rooted in attachment theory, including life story assignments, attachment style questionnaires, and accountability letters to confront attachment-related wounds and counter maladaptive patterns of connection. Through this process, families engage in constructive dialogues aimed at identifying and healing unhealthy modes of connection while actively fostering new, healthier ways of connection.
Parent Seminar is a key platform where we facilitate experiential activities, such as utilizing physical blocks to symbolize the barriers creating family disconnection and conflict. Families will share that dismantling these symbolic barriers, is an emotionally charged and liberating experience. When families voice their unspoken fears and name the lingering emotional obstacles, families move and break through the patterns of disconnection. This pivotal moment creates unity and a renewed commitment to remain united as a family.
Some of our family additionally struggle with adoption issues. Our families often grapple with the repercussions of nurturing a child exhibiting signs of anxious or avoidant attachment patterns, often without a discernible cause. It becomes imperative for families to learn the art of consistently reaffirming their commitment to their child and instilling unwavering trust within the paternal bond. Often the child has an unspoken or non-verbal fears of abandonment. Our parents work on identifying communication patterns and actions that do not validate their child’s fears. When the parents adapt their behavior to enforce unconditional validation and attention, their child can demonstrate a decrease in aggression and defiance because they can lean into the security that their parents love them.
Attachment-Based Family Therapy leans on the family system demonstrating evidence, that a child can trust their parent’s commitment to care and love for them. It encompasses the philosophy of unconditional positive regard, assuring the child that despite any mistakes or disagreements, the bond of parental love remains unshaken and enduring.