MMN 022: How Can Couples Strengthen their Emotional Bonds? – with Jean Landphair

On this episode of the Make a Mental Note podcast, Jean Landphair, a licensed marriage and family therapist, discusses how different types of attachments that are formed early in life affect couples’ relationships as adults and what can be done to improve their relationships. Give it a listen and find out why this episode is worthy of a mental note!

Jean Landphair interview (click on Jean’s name to listen to interview)

Mental Notes:

* A lack of secure attachment or bonding underlies many problems of couples. The human brain is hardwired to develop a connection with a parent/caregiver as an infant and this remains important throughout the course of life.

* If a person develops a secure attachment with a parent during the early years then as an adult the person will feel that their significant other will be there for them when they need them (assuming they have a stable relationship).

* There are different relationship styles that develop in response to insecure attachments. In some cases, people build a wall around their hearts and reason that they don’t need anyone and that it’s took risky to reach out to others (i.e., it’s safer to live life in loneliness so as not to get hurt). Another response is where a person constantly tries to get someone else’s attention and affection through needy, demanding and/or controlling behavior. Finally, there are some people who desire to reach out and develop an attachment with another person, but when they do so they get scared and/or confused and reason “This is too close…I need my space” and hide behind their wall.

* Couples counseling involves helping one person develop a secure attachment with their partner.

* One person in a dysfunctional/problematic relationship may have skewed perceptions of their partner based on what they learned about relationships with significant others early in life.

* A dysfunctional behavior (e.g., controlling, demanding, contradictory behavior, etc.) may actually serve a positive purpose for the person in that it protects them from hurt or pain or helps them satisfy a need.

* Emotional wounds from the past floods the rational part of the brain, which makes it difficult for a person to respond to their partner in a reasonable way. When people overreact to a small thing it’s a clue that they are – without their conscious awareness – tapping into an emotional wound from the past.

* When one person in a relationship makes himself vulnerable and the other person is “there for them” and are comforting then this helps solidify the bond between those people. Relationships heal as the number of these types of bonding experiences increase.

* Emotionally-focused therapy involves helping clients process emotions at ever increasingly deeper levels and to encourage their partners to respond in comforting ways throughout this process so as to foster a sense of security and bonding.

* Helping clients have a different – more positive – emotional experience with one another is key. Replacing the old negative cycle with a new positive cycle is part of the therapy process.

* Emotionally-focused therapy does not work for couples in which 1) one person has already “bowed out” of the relationship; or 2) one person is not willing to look at their role in the relationship problem.

* People are created for connection. It’s important not to live life alone.

Mental Notes Takeaway:

* The quality of attachments early in life affects the quality of relationships later in life.

Check It Out:

* Jean Landphair –

* Jean’s phone number: 615-785-5107

209 Castlewood Drive Suite D
Murfreesboro, TN. 37129
(615) 403-5227

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