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GOD ATTACHMENT Dr. Tim Clinton & Dr. Joshua Straub.

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Presentation on theme: "GOD ATTACHMENT Dr. Tim Clinton & Dr. Joshua Straub."— Presentation transcript:

1 GOD ATTACHMENT Dr. Tim Clinton & Dr. Joshua Straub

2 MADE FOR RELATIONSHIPS  The Sacred Romance -- “Lover of our Soul”  Love and Marriage -- Genesis 2:18-25; SOS; Matt.19; I Cor. 7; I Cor. 13; Eph.5:21 ff; I Peter 3:1-10  The Family -- Deut. 6:6-9, Psalm 127; I Tim. 5:8

3 Attachments vs. Close Relationships The Big Five  Seeks closeness in times of trouble  Safe Haven  Exploration  Separation  Anxiety/Anger  Loss  Grief

4 Core Beliefs Relationship Rules SelfOther Am I worthy? Am I capable? Am I willing? Are you trustworthy? Are accessible? Are you capable? Are you willing?

5 Relationship Rules Secure Attachment Self Dimension I’m worthy of love I’m capable of getting the love I need Other Dimension Others are willing and able to love me I can count on you to be there for me Avoidant Attachment Self Dimension I’m worthy of love (false pride) I’m capable of getting love I want and need (false sense of mastery) Other Dimension Others are incompetent Others are untrustworthy Ambivalent Attachment Self Dimension I am not worthy of love (I feel flawed) I’m not able to get the love I need without being angry or clingy Other Dimension Capable but unwilling (bc my flaws) May abandon me (bc my flaws) Disorganized Attachment Self Dimension I’m not worthy of love I’m unable to get the love I need Other Dimension Others are unwilling Others are unable Others are abusive; I deserve it

6 Attachment and Feelings Secure Attachment  Full range  Good control  Self-soothes  Shares feelings  OK with others’ feelings Avoidant Attachment  Restricted affect  Focus is on control  Uses things to self soothe  Keeps feelings buried  Doesn’t share feelings Ambivalent Attachment  Full range  Poor control  Can’t self soothe  Shares feelings too much  Overwhelmed by others’ feelings Disorganized Attachment  Full range, but few positive feelings  Poor control  Can’t self-soothe  Can’t really share with others  Overwhelmed by others’ feelings  Dissociates

7 Attachment and Intimacy Secure Attachment  Comfortable with closeness  Shares feelings and dreams  Willing to commit  Balances closeness and distance  Participates in non-sexual touch Avoidant Attachment  Not comfortable with closeness  Withholds feelings and dreams  Difficulty with commitment  Distances Ambivalent Attachment  Desires closeness, but never seems to have enough  Wants to merge with other  Preoccupied with abandonment  Clings and criticizes Disorganized Attachment  Desires closeness, but fears and avoids it  Wants to merge, then wants to distance  Terrified of abandonment  Sabotages closeness  Attracted to people who victimize

8 Attachments vs. Close Relationships The Big Five as it relates to God  Seeks closeness in times of trouble  Safe Haven  Exploration  Separation  Anxiety/Anger  Loss  Grief

9 God Attachment  -Research shows people seek God for a safe haven and secure base during times of stress.  Most researched area of attachment theory in the context of religion  In times of emotional distress or loss, it has been found that people: -turn to prayer rather than the church -grieving persons tend to increase their faith and religious devotion -soldiers pray more frequently in combat -times of death and divorce -fears associated with serious illness -emotional crises -relationship problems -other negative events

10 God Attachment  As substitute attachment figure (Kirkpatrick, 1992)  Provides “felt security” (Sroufe, 1977)  More similar to parent-child relationship but moderate and consistent link to romantic attachment (Kirkpatrick, 1992, 1999; Rowatt & Kirkpatrick, 2002)  Measured on two dimensions: Anxiety and Avoidance (Beck & McDonald, 2004)

11 Assessing Attachment with a Loving God THE ATTACHMENT TO GOD INVENTORY (Beck and McDonald, 2004) The Experiences in Close Relationships scale (Brennan et al. 1998) -Avoidance of Intimacy -Anxiety about Abandonment

12 God Attachment Results Increased Avoidance A reluctance to communicate Avoidance of emotionality Obsessive self-reliance Increased anxiety of abandonment Preoccupation and worry Angry protest Increased jealousy Resentment Concerns that they are lovable Fears of abandonment in love relationship with God

13  Attachment style impacts how God is viewed  Secure: He is there, I can count on Him. He will accepts me, in spite of my flaws  Avoidant: He isn’t there for me when I need Him. I will have to go at life alone. I don’t really need Him.  Ambivalent: I’m too flawed; God is sure to reject me. I probably committed the unpardonable sin  Disorganized: I’m flawed, beyond repair. God will strike me down if I turn toward Him. He will surely reject or punish me. Christian Attachment Therapy 13 Attachment and Spirituality

14 Assessing Attachment with God Compensation Hypotheses -God may serve as a compensatory attachment figure for individuals displaying insecure attachment patterns (Kirkpatrick & Shaver, 1997, 1998). --avoidant attachment types had higher incidents of sudden conversions. These results indicate that God may serve the role of a substitute attachment figure (emotional compensation), compensating for the distant, unresponsive care-giving style they experienced in infancy and childhood. This hypothesis is based upon Ainsworth’s (1985) findings that those with insecure attachment styles seek substitute objects of attachment.

15 Assessing Attachment with God Correspondence Hypotheses -proposes that individuals with secure attachment styles are more likely to sustain a future belief and relationship with God because a foundation has been established throughout childhood. This hypothesis is based on Bowlby’s (1969) idea that relationship permanence and stability stem from stable working models of attachment (Kirkpatrick & Shaver, 1997, 1998).

16 Thoughts on Hypotheses According to this hypothesis--the explanation to the root of religiousness in securely attached individuals may be derived “from without”, or socialization processes, whereas the religiousness of the insecurely attached individual may be derived “from within”, or emotional regulation (Granqvist & Hagekull).

17 Thoughts on Hypotheses The connection between attachment insecurity and sudden religious conversion may be considered the most robust and corroborated finding from the research on attachment and religion…This interpretation is in line with ambivalents’ observed tendency to desperately seek care and easily fall in love, and may be a continuation of the inconsistency in parental caregiving that has been shown to be characteristic of parents in ambivalent dyads

18  Factual  Emotional  Volitional Three Kinds of Religious Doubt

19  Warmth and security—responsiveness and attunement  Regulation so child is not overwhelmed  Relatedness and engagement  Back and forth emotional signaling and gesturing  Problem solving  Using ideas in meaningful and functional way  Thinking and reasoning Qualities of Sensitive, Growth Promoting Relationships

20 Breaking Free Step I: Remember Your Story – Narrative Recall Step II: Recognize Your Pain and Need for Healing – “Can’t heal what you don’t feel” Step III: Reframe the Meaning of Your Story Step IV: Repair Your Story – ‘forgiveness, grace and acceptance’ Step V: Reconnect – deepening emotional strands of safety, trust and intimacy; able to accept influence from others.


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