RR07 – Cuddling is Crucial

My shoulder was made to hold your head, my hand to hold yours by Katie Tegtmeyer, on FlickrToday’s “Relationship Reading” is from chapter 20, page 441, of the Handbook of Attachment.

Debra Zeifman & Cindy Hazan note:

“Cuddling, or contact comfort, as demonstrated by Harlow (1958), is crucial for the establishment of emotional bonds.”

This quote resonated with me for a number of reasons:

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RR06 – “We don’t think; we feel, we act.”

RR06 - "We don't think; we feel, we act."Today’s “Relationship Reading” is another quote from page 30 of the “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Sue Johnson.

In this section of the book, Dr. Johnson is discussing “primal panic” set off by attachment distress. “We don’t think; we feel, we act.” – is the outcome when the brain’s amygdala takes over if an attachment figure is all of a sudden unavailable or unresponsive. Continue reading

Poll: Do you ever describe non-romantic connections as “relationships?”

Has the Facebook relationship status line effectively narrowed the meaning of the word “relationship?”

Dictionary.com defines relationship as:

  1. a connection, association, or involvement.
  2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
  3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
  4. a sexual involvement; affair.

However, if I mention the relationship between X & Y in my middle school Math class, half of the class looks confused and the other half snickers under their breath. And I’ll get out loud chuckles or muffled gasps if I mention my long standing relationships with my colleagues or friends.

Expressions of Love by barbourians

So, what do you think? Has the meaning of relationship become another synonym for “coupling?” Has it become a word with too much baggage to use for platonic connection? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you ever describe non-romantic connections as "relationships?"

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004 – “Attachment Figure” Defined


Attachment figures play an important role in Attachment Theory. In the original research, a child’s mother filled that role. However, if we are talking adult romantic relationships, clearly we are talking about someone or something else. What or who is an attachment figure? In our latest podcast, Rebecca and I discuss this question with Dr. Phil Shaver,  “the father of adult attachment theory.”



If the player does not show, you can click here to listen: 004 – Attachment Figure Defined .



(Please note: The audio is transcribed “as is,” spoken grammar glitches and all.)

Welcome to Wefulness where we talk about the science of profound connection.  I’m Wefulness co-editor Gregory Blake.  Today we are talking with relationship expert Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen and adult attachment researcher, Dr. Phil Shaver.

G:  Hi Becca.

R:  Hey Greg!

G:  Today’s section of the Shaver interview involves who, or I guess even what, can be an attachment figure.  I was wondering if you could give us a brief intro to that before we go to the actual piece with Phil.

R:  Well we think of attachment figures and we’re talking about adult romantic relationships. Generally, that’s what we’re talking about.  That’s what I usually talk about.  But when we think about attachment figures it can be a variety of people:  friends, close relatives, parents, spouses would be in our romantic lives, our romantic relationship.  Some single people are even what we’d consider attached, closely bonded to, closely connected, have feelings of warmth and depend on, say, their pets.  We see that a lot in the singles scene.  Where we… It’s really, who do we go to?  Where do we go for comfort, for a sense of belonging, for feeling accepted?  Where do we turn when we need some sort of safely?   Those would be the things that we would be thinking about.  Some, you know, we all have attachment figures, but some people also use what I call counterfeit attachments, which is another whole discussion, turning to objects, turning away from people to maybe addictions or that sort of thing to try to get attachment needs met, it is a counterfeit sort of an attachment.  But, basically we are thinking about attachment figures who are people that we feel connected to that we turn to for acceptance, belonging, comfort and safety.  Those are the things I think of when I think of attachment:  acceptance, belonging, comfort and safety.

G:  Awesome. Okay, let’s hear the next part of our interview with Dr. Shaver.

R:  OK, here we go.

G:  I would love a good definition of an attachment figure.  Because, again, there’s the mother/child – that’s what everyone knows.  What else?

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003 – Can Attachment Styles Change?

Rock ClimberAttachment theory tells us that there are three main attachment styles: secure, anxious and avoidant. However, some people will insist that they have been more than one “style” in their lifetime. Is that possible? If yes, what is happening in that situation? Is there hope to move from an insecure attachment style to secure?

In our latest podcast, Rebecca and I discuss these questions and more with Dr. Phil Shaver,  “the father of adult attachment theory.”


If the player does not show, you can click here to listen: 003 – Changeable Attachment Styles featuring Dr. Phil Shaver




(Please note: The audio is transcribed “as is,” spoken grammar glitches and all.)

Today we are talking with relationship expert Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen and special guest, researcher, Dr. Phil Shaver.

G:  Hi Becca.

R:  Hey Greg, how are you doing?

G:  Really good today, thanks.  Today’s short clip from Dr. Shaver’s interview has mostly to do with changeability of adult attachment styles.  And this is something that I know we’ve talked about in the past and, frankly, I didn’t understand it.  I had read the book, “Attached” and really loved that book actually, and out of that context I was under the persuasion that adult attachment was something that we were born with or at least we got initially when we were younger, and then that is where we were stuck and that we had to deal with the consequences of that and adapt to that.  What I’m getting from the interview with Dr. Shaver is that, no, there is some flexibility there. Can you talk a little about that before we get to the interview? Continue reading