Book Review: Attached

I recently read Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find and Keep Love.

The authors, Amir Levine, MD and Rachel S.F. Heller, MA,  have applied classic attachment theory to adult romantic relationships. The book contains several quizzes to determine your attachment style, as well as that of your partner: Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure. It is reassuring to read that attachment styles are not fixed and you can become securely attached regardless of your childhood or present experiences. I often work with co-dependency and focus on the negative aspects of over-dependence on your partner. Attached is a good reminder of how a secure attachment can actually increase independence.

I think this book has the most to offer those with predominately an anxious attachment style. It gives an excellent description of what they call the anxious-avoidant trap. This helps tremendously with understanding your behavior and why you are drawn to the same type of partner repeatedly.

It also provides solutions. The last section of the book focuses on how to improve your current relationship, when to call it quits, and how to choose the best type of partner for you.  It includes practical skills to improve your communication. I agree that direct communication is an important component of healthy relationships. If you can effectively communicate what you want/need, you are more likely to receive it. However, my only criticism of this book is that there isn’t enough attention given to meeting our own needs. Perhaps this is beyond the scope of this book, given it’s about attachment. However, I think it’s essential that you also learn to understand and meet some of your own emotional needs. Even the most securely attached partner will at times fail to meet your needs. I suspect the authors would say that meeting your own needs happens as you become more securely attached, but I would have liked to read more about this.

Overall, I highly recommend Attached to those who are struggling in a romantic relationship or struggling to find the right partner. The book is normalizing, hopeful, and practical.

Sharon Martin, a counselor and therapist in San Jose, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety in order to create a peaceful and balanced life. Sharon provides counseling to adults and teenagers to help them heal, succeed, and grow happiness. She has had a private psychotherapy practice in Campbell for the past 15 years where she is available for counseling and coaching. Sharon is also the author of Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment.