Proximity is a felt sense of connection to another and is not just within the physical realm, but is also emotional and spiritual. According to Sue Johnson, proximity is one of the laws of attachment. It is not an idea, but a primal need that is built within each of us. We all need a solid attachment to at least one main figure and if we had that in our childhoods, most likely we would have a secure attachment to others as we grow up.
When we have safety in connection with others we can grow and develop and live healthy lives. We grow up to be adults who are flexible, creative, balanced and trust those who are either in our lives or entering in. We can develop solid attachments with others without loosing our sense of personal power. We give ourselves permission to live from an authentic place without worry of disapproval and loss of self.
The opposite is true if we did not experience proximity that felt sense of connection, we may fear people and see love as dangerous. We may fear rejection and have difficulty getting close to other people even when we want or need to. We may not be able to calm ourselves from fear of loss and struggle with feeling emotional imbalanced when what we really want is to feel safe and loved.
As a couple’s counselor, it is important to help clients see their relationship through the attachment lens. This attachment point of view allows couples to be encouraged to talk about their longing for attachment with their partner without their own fears of abandonment or rejection getting in their way. Couples learn strategies on how to seek proximity and deal with triggers as they arise. Couples can also develop secure attachments to one another by learning how to be emotional available, responsive to another, and practice ways that encourage continued emotional engagement.
Danielle Lambrecht, RSW, MCC.CCC
Danielle Lambrecht Counselling
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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA