Debbi Carberry is a clinical social worker in private practice in Brisbane, where she specialises in relationship transformation. She is also the creator of a revolutionary approach to relationship coaching that centres on attachment styles.
There are many people who identify with being in unfulfilling relationships, often over and over again. Relationships in the 21st century are under increasing strain, with an estimated 1 in 3 marriages in Australia today ending in divorce. Being in a healthy, fulfilling relationship is not easy. More and more people express concern about their significant relationships, whether this is with families, friends or their intimate partners.
With more than 10 years of working with women and couples to improve their relationships Debbi has observed fascinating recurring patterns of behaviour. Her clinical observations grew into a passion for the theory of adult attachment styles and, more importantly, how understanding and identifying your personal attachment style enables you to transform your relationships for the better.
Attachment theory helps therapists to understand the way that human beings create emotional attachments to one another. During the 1940’s attachment theory helped us to begin to understand how people, think, feel and behave in relationships.
Attachment is about connection. It is the bond that binds people together and it all beings in infancy with our parents. These early attachments significantly influence how people behave in their relationships.
Things like selection of a partner, communication, conflict, levels of satisfaction, feelings about love and sex as well as how and why we break up with partners are all affected by our personal attachment style.
Everybody has an attachment style. It is intrinsic to who we are as human beings, like our blood type. We aren’t aware of it. We can’t overcome it with willpower.
It was hardwired in our first few years of life. It is the neurobiological structure in our brain that was formed by our early experiences and is as much a part of us as our fingerprints.
Research shows that 60% of people have healthy secure attachment styles. For these people the kind of attachment style they have is positive and assists with connection, management of strong feelings like anger and the capacity to manage conflict in healthy ways.
The remaining 40% of the population can benefit from finding out what kind of attachment style they have, how it impacts all of their relationships but particularly how it affects their most intimate connections. We are biologically driven to connect with one another.
An absence of connection causes suffering.
As a therapist, Debbi is dedicated to easing suffering. She realised that the ability to connect can be problematic for many people because of a collision of attachment styles and attachment wounds. People who find themselves in unhealthy relationships time after time, people who tend to date a certain “type” even though they know it’s a bad idea; those who have been called clingy, needy, distant, emotionally limited; all of these signs, especially when they come up again and again, are indicative of attachment styles that are inconsistent with the desires we might have for a healthy, fulfilling relationships.
Individual differences in attachment styles are shaped by our different experiences with caregivers in early childhood.
In turn these early representations shape the quality of the individual’s subsequent attachment experiences. For example, some people are more anxious than others. People who are high in attachment-related anxiety tend to worry about whether their partners really loves them and often fear rejection. Some people are more avoidant than others. People who are high in attachment-related avoidance are less comfortable depending on others and opening up to others.
“As a therapist I meet people who are struggling with their relationships, whether with their parents, their children, their friends and colleagues or their partner. The people I see inevitably have an attachment style that is getting in the way of their relationships, preventing real connection from happening and causing pain. They don’t know they have them but because of my training, research and observations, I know they have old attachment wounds. In my experience, 9 times out of 10, relationship struggles come down to attachment wounds from a time we don’t even remember,” Explains Debbi.
The field of attachment provides hopeful possibility of changing a person’s harmful or negative behaviour neurobiologically. It is the ability to improve people’s lives through understanding their attachment styles, and thereby affecting every relationship they have that excites Debbi.
She is convinced that individual attachment styles are at the root of many relationship problems. In her busy private practice in Brisbane she helps countless people who come to her because their relationships are breaking down to identify their attachment style and any old attachment wounds they may have. Working closely with her clients, Debbi has seen success in a process she calls “Rewiring the brain for better relationships.”
Having achieved notable success in her methodology in her practice, Debbi adapted her one-on-one counselling method into a 6-week online relationship coaching course.
Debbi explains; “Like anything in life, once you work out how it all fits together it becomes relatively simple to fix. I’m not saying that it’s always easy, or even possible to fix a relationship that is under strain, but by identifying your attachment style, and by acknowledging any old attachment wounds, it becomes so much easier to make your relationship work. My program, “Rewiring your brain for better relationships”, has the ability to transform people’s lives. I’ve seen it happen with the people I counsel. It just made sense to me to make it available online.”
And so, while the pace of life in the 21st century may cause stresses and strains in relationships, its technological advancements mean that developments in the field of psychotherapy can now be shared with the world in a single click. And that is worth sharing.
For more information about Debbi’s six week online Relationship Program click here