April 1, 2024

Attachment theory and divorce with Dr. Clare Rosoman

middle aged couple fighting


Episode Summary

Welcome back to The Communicate & Connect Podcast with your host, Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky. Today, we continue our special series on attachment in relationships and are joined by Dr. Clare Rosoman, a Clinical Psychologist in Brisbane, Australia. She is an international trainer in Emotionally Focused Therapy and is the author of “An Emotionally Focused Guide to Relationship Loss: Life after Love,” and its companion workbook, Dr. Rosoman brings compassion, expertise, and grounded advice on navigating the turbulent seas of heartbreak. Before we dive in, remember to take our ARE quiz based on the brief accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement scale to assess the attachment dynamics in your own relationships.

In this episode, we’ll explore the realities of divorce rates among military couples and delve into the “Goldilocks flexibility” needed to manage the delicate balance between honoring our feelings and moving forward pragmatically. Dr. Rosoman will reveal how your attachment style can be a guiding north star through the process of healing and growth after a relationship loss.

Together, Dr. Rosoman and I discuss attachment theory as it relates to our need for closeness, comfort, and the inevitable impact on our emotional regulation when bonds are severed. We’ll also share personal reflections on how varying attachment strategies play out in real life, particularly through the lens of military deployments.

This episode isn’t just about loss—it’s a beacon of hope for rediscovering your capacity to thrive post-divorce, and a reminder that through understanding and grieving, we can emerge resilient and ready for deeper connections.

So, let’s navigate the journey of relationship loss and the transformative power of attachment theory. Whether you’re grappling with the end of a relationship or seeking to understand your emotional landscape, we’re here to guide you through it—with grace, empathy, and insight.

Guest Speaker Bio

Clare is a clinical psychologist and Director of the Brisbane Centre for EFT (BCEFT) and a psychology practice, the Brisbane Centre for Attachment and Relationships. With over 24 years’ experience in public, private and educational settings, Clare finds working within the EFT framework to be the most satisfying and rewarding work of her career. Clare has spoken nationally and internationally on EFT and is happiest when inspiring other therapists in the EFT model. Clare is the author of two resource books for therapists, a self-help book An Emotionally Focused Guide to Relationship Loss: Life After Love, and she co-authored with Dr Kathryn Rheem An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Relationship Loss: Healing Heartbreak Session by Session. Clare has a YouTube channel and an Instagram page to help to inspire, encourage and support EFT therapists.

Clare believes in the power of attachment and connection in all relationships of all constellations and the unique people who make them what they are. She is deeply respectful of the cultural context in which people live, love, and grow and prioritizes this in her training and in her therapeutic work. Clare is continually inspired by the power of EFT, grateful to Dr Sue Johnson for her vision, and remains committed to sharing this most amazing model of therapy with the world.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:00:02]:
This podcast is sponsored by my counseling practice, Elizabeth Polinsky Counseling, where I offer weekly marriage counseling, weekend long marriage intensives, and therapist training in emotionally focused couple therapy. To learn more about my marriage counseling services, visit www.elizabethpolinskycounseling.com.

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Communicate and Connect Podcast. This is episode 49, attachment theory and divorce with Dr. Clare Rosomond. All right, Clare, I’m so excited to have you on our podcast. We’re doing this series on attachment and how important that is for relationships and how military couples can be thinking about that. But one of the things, one of the reasons I really wanted you on the podcast is because military couples, at least the US military anyway, they have a considerably higher divorce rate than the civilian population.

And so one of the things that ends up being common is that they have remarriages and there’s co parenting dynamics, and then also a lot of people thinking about what happened in my marriage. Why did it get to this point? What do I think about moving forward as I go into another relationship? But I think I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me just slow down myself and say, Clare, would you mind just telling us a little bit about you so my audience, they can get to know you a little bit?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:01:53]:
Well, hi. It’s lovely to be here with you. I think this podcast sounds like it’s such a needed resource for military couples facing unique challenges. So I’m delighted to be here. It’s sad to hear that there’s such high rates of divorce amongst military couples. It really speaks to the strain that must be put on relationships. So the need for resources must be extremely high. So I’m an EFT therapist and trainer from Australia, from Brisbane. So I’m speaking to you from Friday, even though it’s your Thursday.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:02:27]:

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:02:28]:
So I love working with couples and families and individuals using the EFT framework, and I love to train therapists in the EFT model. And so I got interested in thinking about relationship loss because we focus so much on building bonds in our EFT work. It’s all about how to build and maintain and strengthen attachment bonds. But a natural part of attachment is also loss. And so I started thinking, like, how do we help people through the loss of close relationships? How do we help people undo bonds? Because it’s so deeply painful and we needed more resources that were in the attachment channel and drawing on the powers of emotionally focused therapy to help people through loss. So that’s what really prompted me to research and then start writing my book.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:03:24]:
Yeah, very. I’m really excited already I’m getting like, I’m getting excited on the inside for our conversation. I feel really intrigued. But can you just tell, maybe this is a moment where you could tell people a little bit about the book, because I think that could be a really great resource and we’ll probably reference it a little bit throughout.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:03:45]:
Well, yeah, the book really is about how we can use attachment science and EFT to navigate breakups and the loss of romantic attachments. I think one of the key messages that we get from attachment theory is that love is an attachment bond, and so it hurts enormously when those bonds are broken. So the aim of the book is to help people learn about attachment bonds and attachment strategies and how we learn how to cope with our emotions and with our relationships from our earliest attachment bonds. And those ideas that we hold a later shape throughout every subsequent relationship we have, they impact how we navigate close relationships, how we signal what we need, how we manage distance, closeness, big emotions, small emotions. And they also impact how we navigate loss of love. So the idea of the book is to help people learn about attachment and loss, their own attachment strategies. It’s to validate the pain that comes with the loss, but also the learning that can come, that when you face the devastation of an attachment bond, it’s actually an enormously fertile ground for growth, even though it’s immensely painful. And so I wanted to really harness the knowledge that can come from attachment theory and the knowledge that can come from heartbreak so that people can navigate the process and be able to grow stronger for it and hopefully bring that into their next relationship.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:05:19]:
Yeah, I really like that approach that you have with the book of, I can think about my relationships, my past relationships, as a learning experience for how to do it differently going forward. Yeah, that feels really big. It’s not just finding a new partner, but thinking about what could I be looking for differently, or what could we be doing differently?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:05:47]:
Yes, definitely. And I think it changes the focus from just surviving heartbreak and moving on to growing from heartbreak and thriving, rather than just surviving. And for many people, and it sounds like the people who will be listening to your podcast are having to be able to manage an ongoing relationship with an ex partner, because they may be co parenting, they may still be in each other’s orbit in some way. And so learning how the relationship went wrong and being able to create a new narrative around the loss of that relationship and how each person contributed to that, it can really help the moving on process, and it can help people to be able to make peace with some of that some of the hurts that can linger and get in the way of being able to have a healthy relationship with your ex partner moving forward.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:06:43]:
Yeah, that feels huge when you talk about that. I’m remembering here in the US, we have hospitals that are called the Veterans affairs hospitals that are for ex military veterans. And I remember when I used to work there, our clinic did this paper looking at suicide rates and what helped people like, that suicide risk was really high right after an inpatient stay. And what helped people and what were the risk factors for going back, like having a repeat suicide risk. And one of the things that they talked about in that paper was relationship loss, like how painful relationship loss was. And that suicide risk was really high for veterans when there were relationship struggles or. Or the loss or a breakup or a divorce. The idea of thriving versus just being buried and the pain feels big.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:07:52]:

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:07:53]:
Yes. That’s one thing that I was feeling kind of helpless with. Like, I knew how to help people build bonds, but I felt helpless about how to help them navigate the loss of those bonds, to not just survive it, but to thrive. And that’s really what I was hoping people would get from the book, is how can I learn more about myself as an attachment being? How can I learn more about relationships and make sense of this loss in a way that allows me to make some peace with that and to be able to still have some kind of relationship with my ex partner if I need that? How do I navigate future relationships more intentionally? How can I build more secure attachment strategies and foster to that in my relationships moving forward so that all this suffering and hardship can be put to good use, so that I can grow stronger and healthier in my relationships moving forward.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:08:51]:
Yeah, great. I’m hoping you’ll tell us a little bit of how to do that. But I’m also thinking just in case this is someone’s, you know, their first episode or they haven’t been connecting with the rest of this series on attachment, could you give us maybe like, a brief review of attachment, especially as it relates to this idea of relationship loss and divorce?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:09:19]:
Yeah. Yeah. I think the most beautiful contribution that John Bowlby made with attachment theory is really validating the very normal need for love and connection that we turn to our caregivers in times of need, because we need that as a survival imperative, not because they give us food and shelter, but because we need contact comfort. We need to seek proximity with safe others, to nourish our nervous system, to expand our ability to manage our emotions, to be able to connect is part of being human, we don’t do well in isolation. And so attachment theory really validates what we now know is just part of being human, that we’re built to bond, that we do better in co regulation with safe others, and that when we’re alone and trying to cope on our own, that actually uses way more of our brain’s resources. It’s way more energy taxing. And while a lot of messages can be sent to us growing up, that we should be able to cope alone, we now know, largely thanks to John Bowlby and attachment theory, that that’s just not realistic, that’s not how we’re actually wired as humans. So the biggest contribution of attachment theory, I think, is television telling us that it’s okay to need others, it’s okay to love and be loved and to need that and to seek that, in fact, that’s really healthy.

We call that functional dependence. And the idea is that when we have secure attachment figures in our world, we don’t actually need them that much. They give us strength to be able to go out and face the world and take on challenges and push ourselves in safe ways and test our limits and have more success. We are braver when we know we have safe others to turn to as a secure base to come, come back to as a safe haven of comfort. So a secure attachment figure is someone who’s there for you when you need them. They’re a safe haven of comfort and they encourage you to launch, to go and spread your wings and try things, and they’re there to come back to. And so we look for special others who are accessible, responsive and engaged. That’s the are of attachment that Sue Johnson has told us all about in EFT.

And so if our caregivers are accessible, that means we, when we need them, we can signal and they’ll come. If they’re engaged with us, then we know we matter to them. And if they’re responsive, we know that as soon as we put a signal, they’re going to come and it’s going to make us feel better. So those ingredients are really important in a secure attachment figure. And when we have that, we develop the ability to internalize some of that goodness from a young age. If we can turn to our attachment figures when our emotional storms are raging, their comfort and their proximity and their reassurance helps us regulate and we develop a wider window of tolerance for being able to manage our own emotional storms. We’re able to ride those emotions out. We develop confidence in our own ability to manage our emotions, and we develop confidence in other people’s reliability and dependability.

So a secure attachment relationship teaches you what to expect. In relationships, if we have secure, consistent are attachment figures, we learn that turning to others is a great idea, that they’re a resource, they extend our ability to cope, and we also learn that we are worthy of that. So we develop what we call a positive model of other, this idea that others are there and can be turned to. And then we develop a positive model of self, like an idea of our worthiness, of love. And that’s what we hope everyone has. But if we don’t have that and we don’t have are attachment figures, then we have to come up with other ways to manage our emotions alone. And that’s where we’ll either ramp up signals to get an unreliable attachment figure, to pay better attention, or we learn to dampen down our attachment signals and we withdraw and cope alone. So our attachment relationships teach us everything about others and relationships, and also our own ability to manage our emotions, which, of course then plays out throughout our relationships. Those strategies impact how we navigate close relationships and also how we manage loss, which we can get to.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:13:47]:
Yeah, I think that’s. Yeah, I was just thinking, well, I feel very curious about the loss. Like, as you were talking about that, I was thinking about, this isn’t quite divorce, but it is a feeling of loss that a lot of military couples, when the military member goes on deployment and the civilian spouse is at left at home, and that could be for a long time, especially during COVID there were ones that were over a year at times, and a feeling for a lot of military spouses that I do have to cope alone. So my mind is a little bit jumbled, but I was just thinking that feels like a loss too. And so I feel very curious about how this does relate to loss.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:14:38]:
Yes, I was wondering that too, whether it’s almost like a mini loss every time your partner is deployed and then a reconnection when they come back. Like that would be so tough. It’s so many mini losses, ruptures and repairs that would have to be rebuilt all the time.

Yes. Yeah. And it’s the most common spot for military couples to divorce is right after a deployment, after they’ve been separated that long. And then it’s also, deployments tend to be a hotspot for infidelity. It ends up compared to if they were just at like, in the same amount of time, the rate in the civilian population tends to be like one, one to 2% that same period of time for deployed military members, it’s like 22%. And then divorce is really high if there’s been infidelity in some way. But, yeah, the loss of that, well, I think it’s probably some sort of feeling of loss during deployment relating to how we’re dealing with emotions, probably. And then it elevates the risk of more permanent loss through divorce after that.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:16:10]:
Yes. Yeah, yeah. And I can see how a person’s attachment strategy could really impact how they manage those smaller losses as opposed to the loss through divorce. Like, I can see a real parallel there. Like, we know that people with secure attachment strategies are going to be more flexible in the way they navigate these sorts of stressors. They got a wider range of emotion regulation skills. They’re less likely to be blaming of their partner or to like, hold a grudge or to act out. They’re likely to be more flexible in being able to reconnect and redefine the relationship after a loss.

But I imagine with deployment, someone with more secure attachment strategies might just have a few more skills at their fingertips to be able to ride out that adjustment constantly, having to adjust to coping alone and then adjusting to having their partner back like that. Security would give them that bit more flexibility. Where people with anxious attachment strategies, they’re more likely following a loss. They’re more likely to be preoccupied with thoughts about their partner and to feel really heightened emotion that can feel like they’re drowning in it. And so they’re more likely to have high levels of distress compared to securely attached people. And they’re more likely to keep trying to make contact with the partner. And if the partner is deployed and can’t respond, you imagine that the distress that that would cause, or even if the partner can respond, but is helpless to change the situation, that would be so difficult. So there’s more likely to be elevated emotion, lots of attempts to have contact, there might be more self blame.

There’s more likely to just be heightened unbearable emotion that can leave someone feeling like they’re in a tailspin. Where on the other side of the attachment coin, people who have more avoidant attachment strategies, they’re more likely to show lower levels of distress, but it doesn’t mean that they are actually less distressed inside. They’ve just become more practiced at suppressing or pushing those emotions away and just trying to be very logical and very practical. So we might see partners following a loss who have avoidant attachment strategies. We might see them getting very organized, moving on, looking like they’re fine, or with a deployment, looking like they’re coping with that, no problem, but then might be neglecting the emotions that are really simmering away from them inside so they can sort of gloss over the emotion and the potential learning and growth that comes from connecting with those emotions and go straight into practicalities so they can kind of run over their feelings with a lawnmower.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:19:05]:
Yeah, I guess I was thinking that feels comforting to me to hear. So, like, I’m thinking my husband is in the military. People listening probably know that, but I don’t think. You don’t know that. But I’m just thinking about when he deployed, and he was very logical and the deployment was hard too, but the lead up to the deployment was really hard. And I was sad all the time. And he was actually even excited, excited to go do his job and all of those things. But I feel comforted knowing that I think I’m probably a pursuer and he’s a withdrawer and he’s more on that spectrum. And he would be okay with me saying this on this episode, but to know that he would be feeling that inside, even if he’s not expressing it, that is a comforting thing to hear.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:20:05]:
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And it kind of fits with that attachment strategy that people with avoidant attachment strategies have learned for good reason, that they need to cope on their own. And in order to cope alone, they have to, as a survival strategy, they have to learn how to push the emotion to the side and do their job. And I imagine military training would teach that as well.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:20:31]:
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Most of my clients are military or veterans, and I’ve had several of them tell me, like, they’ll practice it even in the session, some sort of compartmentalization technique that they learned from the military.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:20:53]:
Yeah. So we’re really kind of fighting against a natural attachment strategy, learned and earned for good reason. Usually people with avoidant attachment strategies have had caregivers that dismiss or just don’t pay attention to emotion at all. Just don’t do feelings, just focus on practicalities or even might have been shaming of vulnerable emotions. And so people who develop avoidant attachment strategies have learned, for very good reason, that you keep your emotions in a box in the corner over there and you do what you should do, which is get on with it. That’s what the messages that they receive. So when you then add the double whammy of training on top of that to really refine and enhance what’s naturally there that’s evolved in an attachment context, it’s a really big ask to say, you know, that coping strategy that works so well 90% of the time in your life. That tool that you’ve honed and is really validated and revered in your work life, and you learn for good reason growing up.

Well, that tool doesn’t work in this attachment context. It’s the wrong tool for the job. And you know how you hate feeling helpless? Well, now here you are feeling helpless on a platter because your partner needs something that your best hone tool just doesn’t work for. That’s a big ask.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:22:23]:
Yeah. So I’m seeing the challenges, and I think we’ve talked about that on the podcast as well, like how these two different styles can create cycles that conflict. But I’m also thinking for couples who are going to divorce or they’re in the process of divorce, or they just went through one and they’re thinking about, well, I actually want to thrive, you know, and I want to do. I want. I want this secure thing in the future. Can you walk me through, like, what, what advice do you have for those people who are facing loss from divorce and breakup?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:23:09]:
Yes. I think the first thing that stands out to me is to validate the pain, that the pain really honors the love. And if you can, be kind to yourself in that place and remind yourself that this hurts because it matters, that it hurts because you love deeply, and it’s your capacity to love that leaves you open to hurt. And that’s a beautiful thing. And don’t give up on that. You will find love again, and these wounds will heal and you can learn from them. But it starts with honoring the pain. So really leaning into that pain and reminding yourself that you’ll grow stronger from it if you allow the emotion to do its work, that would be my first suggestion.

The second would be to understand yourself as an attachment being. Like, look at the lessons that you learned in relationships growing up, those key pivotal attachment relationships, and what they taught you about, about closeness, about how to manage your own emotions. And look at how those early lessons contributed to how you showed up in your relationship. And that’s not to blame yourself for all of the troubles in the relationship, but it’s so that you can at least see which part of it did I contribute to. And the reason that that is empowering is because it shows you exactly what you can work on to change the outcome in your future relationships. So it might be that you learn that attachment figures are pretty inconsistently reliable, and you better send very loud signals to get them to pay attention. And you might have brought that into your relationship. So when your partner shut down or seemed unaffected.

You learned to get louder and get on their radar, and yet for good reason. Some of the ways you might have tried to get on their radar might have also played into them stepping away. So the more you can bring your awareness to that, the more you can look at. How can I send clearer signals in my next relationship that will stand a chance of being heard without pushing the other away? Like, that would be such a valuable learning that you could take into your next relationship. So what I’m really saying there is get to know yourself as an attachment being look at the ways you navigate close relationships and which bits you would like to tweak and change moving forward, and that will empower you to be able to do it differently. It also gets you out of a blaming and finding the bad guy spot where you either cascade into shame and beat yourself up, or you get really angry and vengeful, which we know just gets people stuck. So that would be the attachment part of it. And then the third thing would be to do the work of grief, like really honour this process and don’t run over your feelings like a lawnmower and rush to the practicalities of just moving on.

And also don’t let yourself fall into like a pit of despair. It’s like a balancing act. Healthy grief really balances being able to feel the pain and learn from it and examine your own role in it and be able to really let the emotion move you. And it also involves the practicalities and we’re toggling back and forward. That model is the dual processing model of bereavement. And I love that idea that there’s emotional work that needs to be done and there’s practical work, and we need to toggle back and forth between the two for healthy grief.

Yeah. And it’s like the honoring the pain is the part, where is the one part? And then the examining myself and my attachment and seeing myself as an attachment person. That would be like the. I’m spacing on the word you used, but that would be like the problem solving version of that. Oh, the practical. The practical side.

Yeah. Well, and also you might have to get a new house, you might have to get across financial changes, you might have to make other practical considerations. You might need to more intentionally build other attachment relationships. So you have a widened attachment support circle. So there’s that sort of practicalities of what supports do you need to build? What changes do you need to make to your life and the emotional learning around. Can this emotion, all this suffering, be put to good use. Can I let myself really be moved by that pain? Can I learn from it? Can I really process and make room for these big, painful emotions that need to be heard and felt?

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:28:01]:
Yeah, I guess I’m thinking that feels big to me, like, honoring the pain. I think when, when I remember back on breakups that I’ve had, I wanted to be really busy, you know, or, like, do something to move past it. And I think that has even been my strategy sometimes when my husband deploys or, like, if I’m sad, like it’s time for a project or something to. To distract away from that. And that. That feels big, I think. Because the way that you’re talking about it is that grief and that pain is because you cared, because it did matter.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:28:48]:
Yeah. And having a project and distracting yourself is incredibly adaptive, and so is honoring the pain and making some room for that. And I think we get lots of messages in society that the practicality is the thing that everyone agrees is what you should be doing and paying attention to the emotion and making room for that and allowing yourself to grieve and to cry and to remember the good things and remember the bad things and sift through it and reflect on what was my contribution and what was okay, what wasn’t okay. What do I need to learn and take that bridges the gap between the emotional and the practical. How do I really attune to this emotion? Learn from it. Let it move me and let it play a role in the choices I make next. That’s where we want to bridge both of those.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:29:43]:
Yeah. Yeah. That by allowing yourself to sit with it, that gives you more information when you then have to go. Make future choices for finding, like finding a new partner or new relationships.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:30:04]:
Yeah. And how you want to show up in those new relationships, what you’re looking for in a new partner, how you’re going to signal what you need, getting clearer about what it is that you need. Often we get clearest about what we need by looking at what was missing in relationships that didn’t work or how we might have gotten in our own way. And the thing we really were crying out for from our partner, we kind of blocked them from being able to show up in the way we needed by our own moves in the cycle, so that learning and growth really only comes from sitting in the pain. I’m not talking about getting completely engulfed by the pain, though. And that’s where this idea of Goldilocks flexibility comes in. Like, you want to touch the emotion enough to learn from it and let it move you but not so much that it’s way too hot and it sucks you under and you can’t cope. No one could be in painful feelings all the time.

And likewise, if you’re just in the practicality and not touching the feelings at all, it’s way too cold. So we want to get it just right where we can touch the emotion, learn from the emotion, and move it towards practical choices and changes without it immobilizing you.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:31:22]:
Yeah, yeah. I can see how that would be really beneficial. And so, and so I’m thinking for people listening, your book sort of walks them through this a little bit. And I know there’s a workbook too. How might those help with what we’re talking about?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:31:42]:
I think it starts with getting more aware of your own attachment strategies and then that helps with the Goldilocks flexibility. Like say I learn that I’m more anxiously attached, then I know that my emotions are probably, I experience them as quite big and at times overwhelming. And I get scared when others are not around. So during loss, I’m going to feel really scared. I’m going to keep wanting to approach my ex partner or my deployed partner who can’t respond. I’m going to keep doing things that just fuel me feeling worse and worse. And so the more I can get that and the more I can understand where I learned that, the more I can be kind to myself and build that awareness that this is what I do that can sometimes make my emotions feel way too hot to handle. And so then that gives me important information about how I can manage that and turn down the heat a little bit.

Like maybe I need to use some distraction at certain times. Maybe I need to allow myself a certain amount of, of feeling time. And then I need to schedule something straight after that, where I touch base with a friend or I walk the dog, or I do something enjoyable so that I can just manage the intensity of that emotion to keep it within a workable window of tolerance. Then also I’ll have a clue that if I’m more anxiously attached, I got no problem with actually accessing the emotion. I need to learn how to toggle it back. And I might have to be way more intentional about the practical side. So I might need to make some clear goals that I need to call a real estate agent. I need to get across my finances, change the billing for things like, and have a practical list that I work my way through where if I’m on the flip side and I’m more avoidantly attached, then I know I’m probably fine.

With the practicalities, and that’s my strength. But I might miss some of the emotional meaning. So I have to be way more intentional to turn the heat up on my emotional signals. So I might need to set myself some time each day where I really ask myself, how am I feeling? What am I needing? I might need to look at photos or deliberately bring to mind this lost relationship to really access that and really intentionally ask myself what I can learn from this, what I need, what was missing and what I need in my future relationships, how I can show up differently. So I might need to have some key questions and prompts to sort of push myself in that direction, because it’s not where I would naturally go. So the book and the workbook helps people identify their attachment strategies and then to do the work of grief in a tailored way that really meets their own attachment strategies and the attachment context that’s there for them.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:34:36]:
Yeah, great. I can really see it and I can see the two different sides and how they both have these different things to work on and how the book would and the workbook would help them. Could you just state the name of the book and where people could find this?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:34:57]:
Yeah. The book is “An Emotionally Focused Guide to Relationship Loss: Life after Love,”. I wanted to just call it life after love, but the publisher wouldn’t let me. And so that’s routledge. And then I co authored with EFT trainer Dr. Kathryn Rheem, An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Relationship Loss: Healing Heartbreak Session by Session. We just wanted to call it healing heartbreak again to publishers. Makers have a longer name, and so we did that together and that was so much fun. And so they’re both available through route Legion, Amazon and various.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:35:36]:
Okay, great. I will include links to those in the show notes in case anybody wants to just go grab the book. So. Yeah. Well, I have really, really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. Do you have any kind of, like, final words of wisdom for military couples or spouses or member veterans? Anybody who might be listening?

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:36:04]:
Yeah. Oh, I would just say, be gentle with yourself. This is such a difficult thing. It’s so hard to undo attachment bonds and it hurts because it matters and you will get through it. You can learn and grow from this suffering, and you can make your next relationship different, but you’re brave to love and keep loving. Don’t give up on that.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:36:28]:
Wonderful. Thank you so much.

Dr. Clare Rosoman [00:36:31]:
It’s a pleasure. It’s been so nice to be with you.

Dr. Elizabeth Polinsky [00:36:45]:
As part of this special series on attachment in relationships, I created the ARE quiz. ​ This quiz uses the brief accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement scale, which I used in my own dissertation research and I use with each couple when I start working with them in couples counseling. This quiz helps you and your partner know how secure your relationship is, the level of distress you’re in, when you should be considering marriage counseling, and what sort of behaviors you both can work on to help promote the security of your attachment bond. Make sure to check out the show notes to download a copy of the quiz. While I am a therapist, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not considered therapy, and it should also not be a replacement for therapy. If you think you need a professional of any kind, you should definitely of go find one. Until next time.


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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


    My podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are general information for educational purposes only; they are not psychotherapy and not a replacement for therapy. The information provided is not intended to be therapy or psychological advice; and nothing I post should be considered professional advice. The information provided does not constitute the formation of a therapist-patient relationship.

    I cannot answer questions regarding your specific situation; you should consult your doctor or mental health provider regarding advice and support for your health and well being. If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, you should call 911, report to your local ER, or call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

    The podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from clients regarding counseling. If you are a current or former client/ patient, please remember that your comments may jeopardize your confidentiality. I will not “friend” or “follow” current or past clients to honor ethical boundaries and privacy; nor will I respond to comments or messages through social media or other platforms from current or past clients. Current and past client’s should only contact me through the professional contact information provided on the website.

    ​Lastly, accounts may be managed by multiple people. Therefore, comments and messages are monitored by staff and are not confidential.