Understanding Relationships: Why do they Matter?

Understanding Relationships: Why do they Matter?

Relationships and attachments matter to us. 

When we relate and have the experience of being listened to and being heard by another person, it has a positive effect on us: we feel better

We are meant to relate: understanding relationships helps us to relate better.

The experience of relating well has a profound effect on us. Relating well enables our nervous system to settle into naturally good rhythms.  The hormones that are active in times of stress, are processed and become reduced.  This means that:

  • you feel settled
  • your systems self-regulate  
  • your hearts start to beat to your natural rhythm
  • you feel much better
  • it’s like being rebooted!


We start to settle into the rhythms that we were exposed to in our very early years and days, and the rhythms that we were exposed to and were part of in-utero, before we were born.  This means that:

  • we feel better
  • we become more relaxed
  • we feel lighter
  • we have more energy and confidence
We have become accustomed to ideas of quick fix, and of therapies that will quickly change us and make us do things that will make us feel better quickly.  Sometimes we just need to take a bit of time to relate to ourselves and others, time for understanding relationships.

When did you last feel relaxed?

Sometimes what we need is to give ourselves the time and space to unwind and recover from the stressful states we get into.  Then we start to feel better.

Often we find we do better when we give ourselves the chance and time to relax and be ourselves, and sometimes the best way of achieving this is through the confidentiality of a psychotherapy or counselling relationship.

Understanding relationships: the people we are attached to matter to us

That’s why being in the right kind of counselling or psychotherapy relationship can enable you to relax.

To my mind, when we relax we start to feel better about ourselves, we look after ourselves better, make better plans and so on.

The problem is that many of us have not had the experience of relaxing in a long time.  Some of us may never have had the experience. 

Why attachments matter and help us relax: understanding relationships

For many of us, our early years were characterised by stress and traumatic experiences.  Too many shocks and surprises have been felt, which has the effect of upsetting us and sets up negative patterns of relating.  This becomes part of what is called complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).  The word complex refers to the fact that the traumatic experiences were repeated.  This has left us conditioned to jump at the slightest noise. 

People who suffer from these kind of experiences don’t need to be told to do more things.  They need to be able to rediscover their confidence in a confidential psychotherapy relationship.

Imagine an eight week old kitten is hiding under a bed – a model of becoming attached 

You don’t try to drag the kitten out, you coax it with kind noises.  You wait patiently by the bed, and if you wait long enough and don’t throw in any sudden moves, sure enough, out the kitten comes. 

It comes out, it is not bothered by you and quickly starts to develop confidence and the urge to explore takes over. 

So it is with us.

This is why you need a psychotherapy that doesn’t over stimulate you, but which is able to be patient and attend to you, one that is able to learn what startles you and what makes you feel more relaxed and confident. 

If this happens, you start to develop confidence in your attachment to your psychotherapist and confidence in the sessions.  Once this starts to happen you will quickly find yourself feeling more confident in other situations.  The good experience of psychotherapy quickly becomes a template for other relationships and for living better.

 John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and understanding relationships

Bowlby’s evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that from the start, as children, we are biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, to develop relationships because they helps us to survive.

“We need to always keep in mind that as primates, attachment equals survival and abandonment equals death.  This may help us appreciate the power of parental abuse and abandonment to shape children for the rest of their lives.”  


In Bowlby’s model the kind of attachments we develop in our early years, which Bowlby referred to as:

  • secure
  • anxious-ambivalent
  • anxious-avoidant
  • disorganized

play a crucial role in determining the way we relate to people as we grow and mature.  A blueprint of our later attachments is set up.

Psychotherapy and counselling might be the one relationship we can have in our adult life that provides us with a genuine chance to repair our attachment style.

How can Counselling Buckinghamshire help?

At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people who are trying to overcome all kinds of problems that are spoiling life, including how we relate and develop attachments to others. We are dedicated to understanding relationships

We are highly trained listeners and thinkers. This means that your story will be heard, we find that being heard tends to be the start of feeling better. We are serious about our work, very experienced and we work to very high standards.  

Contact now for a free telephone consultation to discuss how our approach may be relevant to you.