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  • Writer's pictureJustin Tilghman, Ph.D.

Understanding Attachment Styles: A Christian Perspective

Attachment styles, formed in our early years, play a significant role in how we relate to others, affecting our relationships, our reactions to conflict, and even our overall satisfaction with life. Understanding our attachment styles can provide valuable insights into our behavior and help us navigate relationships more effectively.


Over the past few weeks I've been studying under Dr. Todd Hall, professor of psychology at the Rosemead School of Pyschology at Biola University. His work on attachment theory, and particularly how it relates to our interactions with others and with God, has been extremely helpful for me personally and as I work with coaching clients.


In the light of Dr. Todd Hall's work on relational spirituality, we can see that our attachment styles are not just patterns of behavior, but they are deeply intertwined with our spiritual development and our relationship with God.


The Four Attachment Styles

  1. Secure Attachment: Individuals with a secure attachment style feel comfortable with closeness and are usually warm and loving. This style reflects a healthy, secure relationship with God, where there is trust and reliance on His love and provision.

  2. Anxious Attachment: Those with an anxious attachment style crave closeness, are overly dependent on others, and often fear others do not reciprocate their feelings. This can mirror an anxious relationship with God, where there is a constant need for reassurance of His love and presence.

  3. Avoidant Attachment: Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are uncomfortable with closeness and tend to maintain emotional distance in relationships. This could reflect a distant relationship with God, where individuals may struggle with accepting His love and grace.

  4. Disorganized Attachment: This style is characterized by a lack of a clear attachment strategy. Individuals with a disorganized attachment style desire closeness but are afraid of it at the same time. This can reflect a conflicted relationship with God, marked by fear and uncertainty.

Why Understanding Attachment Styles Matters


Understanding your attachment style can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses in relationships. It can shed light on why you react the way you do and provide a framework for understanding and responding to your emotional needs. It can also help you understand others' attachment styles and foster deeper connections.


In a Christian context, understanding your attachment style can also deepen your relationship with God. It can help you understand how your early experiences have shaped your perception of God and how you relate to Him. This understanding can lead to healing, transformation, and a more secure relationship with God.


Remember, no attachment style is 'bad' or 'good.' They are simply strategies that we developed early in life to meet our needs. With awareness, prayer, and God's grace, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style, enhancing your relationships and your walk with God.


If you can't tell by now, I believe in the power of self-awareness, personal growth, and spiritual development. Understanding your attachment style is a step towards a deeper sense of fulfillment in your relationships, a more satisfying life, and a more intimate relationship with God. If you're ready to explore this further, let's start this journey together!

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Justin is a Board Certified Advanced Life Coach with the Board of Christian Life Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in coaching, the ICCA and ICF Core Competencies, the Code of Ethics, and the ICF definition of coaching.

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Justin is a Board Certified Master Mental Health Coach with the Board of Mental Health Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in providing ethical and competent mental health coaching.

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