Anxious Attachment Style Workbook

Click here to learn more about the four different attachment styles and how this workbook can support those with an anxious attachment style.

By Chloe Smith on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is attachment theory?

John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst in the 1950s who founded the overall attachment theory. As a developmental theory, infants are born with a need to form close bonds with a caregiver within their first six months of life (Beckes, 2019). Attachment theory focuses on experience, expression, and the regulation of emotions. Overall, Bowlby believed that the attachment system served two primary functions. This protects vulnerable individuals from threats and regulates negative emotions following a harmful event.

As a developmental theory, this can be seen from the eyes of the infant. Early attachment experiences can create an internal working model. This can be seen as a mental representation of relationships. These models can then influence an individual's expectations and behaviors in their future relationships.

Here's an example:

A young child may show distress when their caregiver exits the room. When the caregiver returns, the child may initially seek comfort but be difficult to soothe. The child might display clinginess and a heightened emotional reaction, even when we might perceive it as a minor event.

The good thing about attachment styles is that individuals are not rigid in their attachment styles. Although they can significantly impact future relationships, individuals can fluctuate between certain styles or even change between other attachment styles entirely through an attachment project, such as a workbook focusing on self-compassion, a sense of one's needs, and self-awareness.

In this guide, we'll focus on the anxious attachment workbook, which supports individuals with this specific attachment style. See below for the four different attachment styles, why being aware of your attachment is essential, and how this workbook can support your or your client's accounts for their unhelpful patterns.

Printable Anxious Attachment Style Workbook

Download the Anxious Attachment Style Workbook to help clients identify their attachment styles.

The different attachment styles

Secure attachment style

The secure attachment theory helps individuals in their ability to create positive relationships with others. Ultimately, these people feel understood, safe, comfortable, and valued by their partners. This typically comes from childhood, when the individual also had this environment during their earlier years. Those with a secure attachment style often have positive and healthy relationships that balance well with other aspects of their life (Mandriota, 2021).

Avoidant attachment style

A good way to comprehend this style is that individuals who live with this attachment style might navigate their relationships from arm's length (Mandriota, 2021). This will manifest as being unable to be emotionally available. Individuals still tend to let others emotionally invest in them, but they might be unable to return those emotional needs.

Anxious attachment style

This attachment style is characterized by a fear of rejection and abandonment, being overly dependent on the partner for emotional regulation, and codependent tendencies (Mandriota, 2021). Anxious attachers may often blame themselves for difficulties within the relationship and will come to the surface as intense jealousy or poor self-esteem.

Disorganized attachment style

Often, those who have a disorganized attachment style are those who come from a traumatic upbringing (Mandriota, 2021). This may include cases such as neglect and abuse. Within these attachment styles, there is often a feeling of fear of a parent. Children with this attachment style may seem confused about where to focus to express their feelings. In the future, adults may be at risk of mood disorders, self-harm, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders (Mandriota, 2021).

This attachment style will often limit the capacity of adult relationships to a push-and-pull situation. They may desperately seek love but push away because of the fear of rejection (Mandriota, 2021).

Why is knowing your attachment style important?

Being able to identify your attachment style is essential for several reasons. You may notice a few relationship problems for the same reasons. It may be time to delve into the specifics of the issues and identify a root cause. This can be made much easier by identifying and knowing your attachment style.

By identifying the most prominent attachment style, individuals can learn to challenge those thoughts and insecurities. This supports the development of a more secure way of relating to others. Individuals who know why they may be acting these ways specifically can build vital, healthier, more fulfilling, and positive relationships (Attachment Styles and How They Affect Adult Relationships, n.d.).

It can also help the future. Individuals aware of their attachment style may be more inclined to stop behaviors that may be demonstrated to their children. This can support building a cheerful family relationship and give children the best chance at developing behaviors that are good for their social development.

The knowledge you acquire when it comes to knowing your style can support your present and future life choices when choosing partners, understanding their needs, and practicing acceptance of others.

How to use this workbook

Using this workbook has never been easier. We've created an easy-to-follow step-by-step set of instructions to support your clients during their sessions.

Step one: Download the workbook

You can do this by navigating our templates section on the Carepatron OS. From here, you'll want to go ahead and download this workbook to your device by clicking the link. You can utilize the workbook online on your device or print it out for physical use by your clients.

Step two: Work through the workbook

It's up to you how you might suggest your client to use this workbook. You may think it will be better for them to use this workbook as a reflection tool and homework task, or you may want to review it to identify behaviors that need altering. You know your client best, so it will be beneficial if you choose to use this workbook.

Step three: Check-in

As always, when it comes to therapy, having a check-in with your clients is a great idea. During this time, you might want to ask how things are going, make sure they are tracking well, and discuss any changes that may need to happen to keep pushing forward in their mental healing journey.

Step four: Store the workbook

You may want to store the completed workbook for later. No worries, Carepatron has you covered. You can save the file to our secure OS system that will keep it private if you have utilized the workbook on a device or scan the physical copy to your device and save it. It's that simple!

Anxious Attachment Style Workbook example (sample)

Here at Carepatron, we're dedicated to enhancing the sessions of mental health professionals. That's why we have already created a sample of the Anxious Attachment Workbook. You can use this example when explaining the workbook to your clients or if you need a refresher on what they might include in their workbook.

Please remember that this sample includes a fictional character with an anxious attachment style. Your client's answers may be completely different, and that's okay!

Download this free Anxious Attachment Theory Workbook example here:

Anxious Attachment Style Workbook example (sample)

Can you heal your anxious attachment?

Individuals can heal their anxious attachment styles within their relationships. It's all about motivation. If your client is ready to change their thinking patterns and behaviors, they are already one step into their healing journey.

Anxious attachment can be supported by a lot of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) options. They can help individuals gain insight into the root causes of their behaviors. Clients can develop more secure coping mechanisms regarding difficulties within relationships and when alone.

Through other therapy activities such as mindfulness, gradual exposure, communication skills, and self-awareness activities, individuals can take hold of their negative attachment style and regain confidence within relationships again.

Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?

Carepatron is the best place for all your therapy software requirements.

Here at Carepatron, we are dedicated to simplifying all healthcare professionals' lives. We take this very seriously, and we are motivated by our mental health care specialists mainly.

With over 100 free templates dedicated to therapy techniques you can utilize in your clinic, you can ensure you're obtaining only the most significant and genuine information to use in your clinical setting.

We're also big on our OS system. Carepatron has a range of tools and resources that set us apart from other healthcare systems.

When you choose Carepatron, you can access therapy practice management software that supports you and your co-workers. You can look forward to our ability to set patient reminders with our patient appointment reminder software, the ease of our clinical note system with our clinical documentation software that allows you access from home or the office, and the payment part of the session with our medical billing software.

Download Carepatron, and you can access various psychological and other resources that allow you and your client in their mental health journey.

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References

Attachment Styles and How They Affect Adult Relationships. (n.d.). Https://Www.helpguide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/attachment-and-adult-relationships.htm#:~:text=By%20identifying%20your%20attachment%20style

Beckes, L. (2019). attachment theory | Features & Types. In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/attachment-theory

Mandriota, M. (2021, October 14). 4 Types of Attachment: What's Your Style? Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/health/4-attachment-styles-in-relationships

Why do some people develop anxious attachment styles?
Why do some people develop anxious attachment styles?

Commonly asked questions

Why do some people develop anxious attachment styles?

The anxious attachment style may be from early childhood experiences such as caregiving. These practices may shape a person's expectations and fears within their future adult relationships.

What are some common signs of anxious attachment styles?

A range of symptoms include seeking constant reassurance, fearing abandonment, being overly sensitive to perceived rejection, and clingy behavior.

Can anxious attachment styles be changed?

Yes, through self-awareness, therapy, and a motivated and intentional effort to change these behaviors.

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