Welcome to the Secure Base Priming Program. This program is based on the ground-breaking research of social psychologists Philip Shaver and Mario Mikulincer, who studied how priming of secure base words, images and guided imagery can temporarily enhance a person's attachment security. The reason this is significant is because secure attachment is associated with many positive effects, such as relationship satisfaction and stability, over-all personal happiness and emotional well-being, altruism and many other positive personality characteristics.
Their research studies (as well as those conducted by many others psychologists) has demonstrated that secure base priming temporarily brings about many positive changes in how people approach problem-solving, experience their mood and relate to others. The exercises you will experience here have been adapted from these research studies. All of the exercises are repetitive, which is done on purpose. According to theory, strengthening secure attachment brain circuits and solidifying memory requires repetition, like any mental or behavioral change. The more we do something deliberately initially, the more likely it will become second nature over time. The Secure Base Priming Program will hopefully help you develop more positive behavior patterns in your close relationships.
The theory behind the program is based on attachment theory. You can read introductory information about attachment theory here (Click on this link). However, learning about attachment theory is not necessary to benefit from this program. Secure base priming is not psychotherapy or counseling. It is not a medical treatment. It is an intervention that is very similar to brain fitness programs that are commercially available. It is based on the principle that many brain structures remain plastic (and open to changes) throughout life and that repeated training exercises can both strengthen already existing pathways as well as create new pathways in the brain. This is meaning of the term, neuroplasticity
Secure Base Priming
Priming is a form of memory and one way in which we learn through experience. When we are exposed to a behavior (such as your parent's response when you were needing support or comfort) it can affect our response to a later situation that is similar (such as how you respond to comforting from your partner). Attachment patterns are behaviors we learn very early in life through repeated experiences with our caregivers - usually our parents. We learn about close relationships through those repeated daily interactions with people who are invested in providing care and protection of us. Those experiences teach us about how to provide care and nurturing to others. They also contribute to our strategies for resolving personal distress and our expectations when and if we seek care and comfort from others. Experiences with our attachment figures help to ultimately create life-long patterns of behavior in our close relationships. So we become primed to either feel comfortable or uncomfortable seeking care from others and we find it easy or difficult in providing care to others in distress.
Of course both of these qualities develop in degrees; so one is either very comfortable seeking support, mildly comfortable, mildly uncomfortable or extremely uncomfortable seeking support from others. The same is true with giving support and nurturing to others. The day-to-day experiences with our parents (as well as other caregivers) prime or teach our brain these and other important attachment behaviors. When people have difficulty in their adult relationships, it's usually because they were primed to respond in unhealthy ways to either their own emotional needs and/or the emotional needs of others.
The Secure Base Priming Program
The Secure Base Priming Program has been developed to help boost attachment security. The priming exercises are meant to activate positive memories or create new positive mental images in your mind of soothing, reassuring and helpful experiences with attachment figures. The theory behind the program is that the more accessible the positive memories and mental images are, the more likely those positive attachment representations will help guide your reactions and decisions in your real-life relationships with attachment figures (partner, friends and family). In general, the more positivity we bring to problem-solving situations, the better the outcome for ourselves and others. These positive thoughts may ultimately help you become more open to being sensitive to the loved ones in your life. They may also help you become more open to seeking and accepting support from others when you are distressed. Both of these skills are necessary to experience greater happiness and more successful interpersonal and parenting relationships.