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  • Creating Sacred Figures: Relearning attachment

    The way that we relate to others has to do with our attachment style. This is something that we learn from our first caregivers.

    If we are lucky then they do everything right and we develop secure attachment. However, in most cases, they are imperfect. Therefore, we develop insecure attachment.

    There are different types of insecure attachment. Whichever type we have, it affects all of our relationships. The patterns we learned early on repeat themselves again and again.

    However, we aren’t doomed to these patterns forever. We can relearn attachment. We can develop secure attachment in adulthood and change those patterns of relating.

    One way to relearn attachment is to use sacred figures. When we combine this with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) techniques, we gain access to a powerful method of relearning a healthy attachment style.

    Three Sacred Figures

    There are three sacred figures that each relate to an important part of healthy attachment. These are ideal people – real or imagined – who we desire to emulate.

    We may look to books, movies, spiritual figures, and people in our lives who embody the traits of each sacred figure. We can learn to draw strength from those figures in order to improve our own attachment style.

    The Nurturer

    This figure is the person who would be the ideal one to nurture you. Many people choose to think about an ideal mother figure since the mother is commonly the person who first nurtures a baby.

    When a child receives nurturing, they develop a bond with the nurturer. They feel loved and connected. This is the start of healthy attachment.

    What would you want your ideal mother to be like, look like, feel like, and sound like?

    When you think about someone who is perfect at nurturing their baby, what do you imagine? This is the sacred figure you want to draw on as you work to relearn your own secure attachment.

    The Protector

    The second sacred figure is the protector. Children need to feel that their parents will protect them at all costs.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t all get to feel that when we were young. As a result, we may not trust that the world is a safe place.

    If we can learn to call on an ideal protector then we can relearn that aspect of healthy attachment.

    The Sage

    This is a figure that represents inner wisdom. If we believe that we have innate wisdom, then we trust our decisions.

    Sometimes it helps to personify that sage. This sacred figure might be a crone, a wise elder, a diety, or a wizard.

    Note that for you the sage, nurturer, and protector may all be the same figure. On the other hand, they may be two or three different figures.

    As you identify the traits of each figure, the picture of them will become clearer in your mind’s eye.

    Integrating Sacred Figures with EMDR Techniques

    You can draw on the strengths of these sacred figures as resources by integrating them with EMDR techniques. Those techniques include:

    • Butterfly hugs
    • Eye movements
    • Slow tapping
    • Tapping in

    For example, one therapeutic process might be:

    • Share, with your EMDR therapist, something that disturbs you.
    • Describe in specific detail how that feels in the body.
    • Invoke the name of the sacred figure. For example, say the name of your ideal nurturer.
    • Sit in a positive place feeling the energy of the sacred figure.
    • Begin slow tapping or using eye movements to enhance the positive feeling.

    Of course, EMDR is a detailed process that can’t be learned overnight. Therefore, it helps to work with a trained therapist. Reach out today for an appointment.

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