Attachment injuries range from infidelity to physical or emotional absence during a time of critical emotional need. An attachment injury is defined as a specific relational incident, where one partner is inaccessible or unresponsive to offer comfort and caring in a particular moment of need, shattering the bond of trust between intimates. I describe different ways an attachment injury can emerge in therapy.
Since such injuries cannot be ignored nor be resolved in the negative climate of Stage 1, I begin with describing how to work in Stage 1 when an attachment wound is present, and then describe the attachment injury resolution model (AIRM) for reconciliation and rebuilding trust in Stage 2.
With the case of Gail and Paul, I show Emily working in Stage 1 with the mistrust of a shattering attachment injury. I present the specific steps of the AIRM and studies validating the model to resolve an attachment injury in Stage 2. I show Emily with Deshawn and Tanisha, following the AIRM to resolve an attachment injury.
For additional training in the AIRM, you are recommended to consider:
Brubacher, L. L., & Buchanan, L. (2014). Emotionally Focused Therapy Attachment Injury Reduction Model (AIRM) Training Program [Interactive Video Training Program]. Available from www.iceeft.com