Back to School Tips for College Students

Date: August 19th, 2019

Filed under: Tips

Summer is almost over and it’s time to hit the books. Follow these back to school tips for college students to make sure you’re prepared for the new school year emotionally as well as academically.

Create a Troubleshooting Plan

Feeling homesick, anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed is very common among college students. Even if you don’t think you’re likely to deal with these things, create a plan for what to do if these types of problems come up. Make sure you have contact numbers for family and friends who can help you cope with difficulties, find out where your school counseling center is, and come up with a list of things you can do to help yourself feel better.

Make Connections

One of the best ways to stave off homesickness and combat feelings of anxiety or depression is to have a strong social network. Introduce yourself to classmates, attend campus events, get involved in a student organization or club, and get to know your roommates. Keeping busy and spending fun time with friends can help you to feel less isolated and give you a sense of belonging.

Stay Healthy

There’s no question that the rigorous schedule of college life can make it tough to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and find time to exercise, but your school experience will be much better if you do. Pack healthy snacks and a water bottle in your backpack, and stick to a bedtime schedule that gives you at least seven hours of sleep each night. It’s also easier to exercise regularly if you have a buddy, so use those social connections you’ve made to find a workout partner.

Seek Help When You Need It

Stay in touch with your emotions. If you’re struggling, there are many resources available to help you manage the stresses of college life. Contact your school’s counseling center, or talk to one of our team of licensed therapists and counselors. Your well-being is important to us, and we can help you find a school/life balance that will allow you to be your best self—academically and emotionally.

Attachment Styles Series (Part 4) -- Developing a Secure Attachment Style in Children

Date: August 7th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

We all want what’s best for our children. As a parent, one of the most important and lasting things you can do for your child is to help them develop a secure attachment style. This not only contributes to a happy childhood, but lays the foundation for healthy, fulfilling relationships throughout their entire lives.

Understand and Respond to Your Child’s Cues

In childhood, a secure attachment style starts with a child feeling confident that their needs will be met. Pay attention to your child’s cues. These types of communications, although often nonverbal, can provide a wealth of information about what your child is thinking and feeling. By learning to understand your child’s emotional state, you can respond appropriately and give them what they need, whether that’s food, a nap, hugs, or some quiet time.

Create Positive Interactions with Your Child

Establish a relationship of trust with your child by connecting with them in positive ways. You can demonstrate this by listening when they talk to you, making eye contact, smiling, and playing together. It doesn’t require a huge investment of time to help your child feel loved and valued. Try talking to your child in the car on the way to school, or setting aside 10 minutes for playtime before you have to fix dinner.

Make Yourself Available to Your Child

During a child’s early years, their parent acts as a home base. Children use this base as a center from which to explore, and a safe place they can return to. Help your child know that they can come to you no matter what they’re experiencing. Show that you’re interested by asking them how their day was, celebrating good things that happened to them, and helping them work through distressing emotions.

Remember, You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

As you parent, remember that you don’t have to be perfect to help your child develop a secure attachment style. Be as consistent as you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Show your child how good relationships work by apologizing and repairing trust after a mistake, and allow them to do the same. And if you feel that you need some help, don’t hesitate to ask. Our team is here as a resource for you as you help your child develop a secure attachment style.

Attachment Styles Series (Part 3) -- Developing a Secure Attachment Style Between Adults

Date: July 17th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

For most people, the attachment style they developed in childhood is likely to carry on into their adult years. This is great news for those with a secure attachment style, but if you or your partner struggle with relationships, you may feel as if that’s just who you (or they) are. The truth is, you can develop a secure attachment style no matter what stage of life you’re in.

Recognize Your Current Attachment Style

Identifying your current attachment style—and that of your partner—is the first step to developing a more secure relationship. Knowing your attachment style also helps you better understand what changes may be beneficial in your life. For example, if you have a dismissive-avoidant style that makes it hard for you to form intimate relationships, it may be especially helpful to focus on sharing positive thoughts and feelings with your significant other.

Talk Together

Communication is the bedrock of a secure relationship. No matter what your attachment style, it’s important that you and your partner make time to share your thoughts and feelings with each other. This can be more difficult for some people than for others. If you find yourself struggling to open up, it may be a good idea to make a list of questions, or use a ready-made list such as this one, to give you a place to start.

Use Supportive Language

Healthy respect for yourself and your partner is key to developing a secure attachment style. Make a special effort to build one another’s self-esteem by using positive language in your interactions, pointing out things you admire about your significant other, and expressing that you value and love them. Be sure to do the same in your self-talk.

Try Therapy

One of the many great resources you can use to build a secure attachment style is therapy. A therapist or counselor can help you identify your current attachment style, better understand it, and guide you through the process of developing a more secure relationship. Our team of professionals is on hand to help you through each step of developing a secure attachment style. Please contact us to learn more.

Attachment Styles Series (Part 2) -- Attachment Styles in Adults

Date: July 3rd, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

The attachment style we develop as children carries over into our adult years. Children with a secure attachment style are likely to become adults who foster healthy, caring relationships. People who developed other attachment styles as children may have a harder time creating or maintaining relationships as adults. The good news is that being aware of attachment styles in adults—and understanding what may have contributed to developing those styles in childhood—can allow you to foster a secure attachment style in yourself and others.

Secure

Those who grew up in homes with a parent who nurtured them emotionally, provided for their basic needs, and was consistently present are likely to have a secure attachment style as adults. Adults with a secure attachment style tend to have a healthy level of self-esteem. They generally feel comfortable sharing their feelings with a partner or trusted friend, and they seek out social support in the forms of friends and family.

Dismissive-avoidant

An avoidant style may be fostered in childhood by a parent who is emotionally distant, but it also has to do with temperament and personality. Whatever the reason, an avoidant attachment style in childhood frequently translates into a dismissive-avoidant attachment style in adulthood. Adults with this attachment style may struggle to form strong relationships because they are subconsciously afraid to make an emotional investment. An underlying belief that their needs will not be met can make it hard for them to become intimate or share thoughts and feelings.

Anxious-preoccupied

Many people with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style (usually described as an anxious or ambivalent style in childhood) may have experienced inconsistency and unpredictability during their formative years. The worry caused by this can make them appear clingy or possessive, both as children and adults. Adults with this attachment style may worry that their partner doesn’t love them or isn’t committed. This anxiety and the behaviors it engenders can cause their relationships to feel unsatisfying, lead to frequent breakups, and make them particularly upset when a relationship ends.

Fearful-avoidant

This is the least common type of attachment style, but it can also be the most difficult. Again, while there are many factors that contribute to the development of attachment styles, early childhood influences are often key. A fearful-avoidant style (described as a disorganized style in children) may be caused by abuse, trauma, or erratic behavior from a parent or caregiver. Adults with this attachment style can experience deep confusion and conflicting emotions when it comes to relationships, as they both fear and desire intimacy.

The attachment styles we develop in childhood influence our behavior and relationships as adults. It’s important to understand that attachment styles are complicated: they result from a combination of many factors, including personality, life experiences, and early relationships. If you or a loved one has an attachment style that makes relationships difficult, know that there are reasons for this, and that people have the ability to develop a secure attachment style. We’ll discuss how adults can develop a more secure attachment style next month in Part Three of our Attachment Style Series.

Attachment Styles Series (Part 1) -- Attachment Styles in Children

Date: June 20th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

There are four basic attachment styles displayed by children: Secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized. Secure attachment is the predominant style that parents seek to foster in their children, but while parental behavior is the primary influence in determining a child’s attachment style, other factors also come into play. This post is designed to help you to identify your child’s attachment style, while the next post in our Attachment Styles Series will discuss ways to help your child develop a secure attachment style.

Secure

Fortunately, most children fall into this category. Children who are securely attached are generally happy and trusting. They are attached to their parent or caregiver and enjoy being with them, but are secure enough to explore the world and test the limits of their independence.

Avoidant

Children with an avoidant attachment style may be emotionally distant, often preferring to play and interact with objects rather than people. They may be wary of physical contact like hugs and cuddles. A child with an avoidant attachment style often displays early signs of independence, wanting to do things themselves rather than seek help from their parents or other adults.

Ambivalent

An ambivalent style in childhood is characterized by high levels of anxiety and insecurity. Children with this attachment style may seem clingy, and more frequently seek the attention of their parent or caregiver, yet may reject that attention when it is offered. They may also be particularly wary of strangers.

Disorganized

Children with a disorganized attachment style often seem to struggle with managing their emotions. They may display anger and erratic behavior, but are just as likely to seem depressed, withdrawn, and unresponsive.

Children and Attachment Styles

Although all children have a specific attachment style, it’s important to realize that as a child goes through developmental stages, he or she may display behaviors characteristic of other attachment styles, such as hiding behind a parent when strangers are around or asserting his or her independence. These types of behaviors in a child who otherwise seems to have a secure attachment style are a normal part of development.

It’s also important to recognize that a child’s attachment style can be changed and become more secure as their parent consistently helps them to feel safe, loved, and encouraged. We’ll discuss how you can help your child develop a secure attachment style next month in Part Two of our Attachment Style Series.

If you have concerns about your child’s attachment style, it’s a good idea to consult with a therapist experienced in child development. A therapist can help you determine what your child’s attachment style is, and help you develop a personalized plan for fostering your child’s self-esteem and helping them to create healthy relationships.

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