Mary Jo Sue's third parent coaching session- Attachment

Feb 17, 2023

Mary Jo Sue came into our third session (second on attachment) excited and ready to learn. She jumped right into telling me about her homework and what she noticed.

Mary Jo had noticed over the week that she became agitated when her children had persistent needs that they *could* satisfy on their own.  She was surprised with her observation and we processed what happened next. We discussed how when her children place demands on her that they are capable of doing themselves that she becomes heated and sends them away.

We ponder if they are bringing these needs to her as a bid for connection, rather than what they are asking for. This is something that Mary Jo is going to ponder for the upcoming week. 

We jump back into the psychoeducation and talk about the pie chart that Mary Jo sent me from her attachment quiz. Before we dig into what it likely means, we re-visit the fact that attachment isn't fixed, and that we can have different attachment styles with different people. We explore attachment styles as loose terms and as generalities as to how she *may* show up in relationships. 

Mary is focused on the fact that her secure percentage is less than 50%, even though it is her highest percentage. This is common for people to focus on, and we explore how stress, demands, and other people's attachment styles impact how we respond.

There is a ton of great information out on the net around attachment and multiple styles of explaining it. We explore The Foster Lane's interpretation of the latest research and how this may or may not connect with Mary Jo.

She is blown away and calls me a mind reader. It makes me chuckle, as almost all my clients say that at this point. It is less about mind reading, and more about identifying patterns in relationships.

We explore the difference between organized and disorganized attachment and Mary Jo recognizes herself in both. This leads to a conversation about how she was responded to when she was a child and how it left her feeling like she had to grow up faster than her peers and the strain that has put on her relationship with her parents- even though she loves them very much.

Then we cut to quick. I ask Mary Jo which of these aspects she sees in her relationships with her children. We tie this back to the conversation when she first came into session about dismissing her children's bids for connection/needs. Mary Jo acknowledges that it is likely that she learned, when she was little, that children should (that is a disliked word in parent coaching) take care of things they are able to, even if they want support, and that she carried that mindset into parenting her children.

We are getting low on time, so I ask Mary Jo to ponder over the coming week if this approach is serving her, her children, or their relationship to each other. No need to change anything, just ponder and pay attention to how the interactions go. 

Our next session, we will talk about the attachment related diagnoses:

Reactive Attachment Disorder


Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

Until then, have a wonderful week!

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