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13th December 2019 

Attachment Centered Therapy in Manchester or Anywhere via Electronic Media

Hello and welcome to my website. My name is Charley Shults and I provide:
Addiction Counselling Manchester
Relationship Counselling Manchester
Family Therapy Manchester
Attachment Centred Therapy Manchester

I provide these in Manchester in person, or Anywhere via Skype, telephone, or other electronic media as you prefer.

What are attachment relationships? Essentially, they are people with whom we have a close personal relationship of a familial nature. This includes parent & child and spousal (domestic partnership) relationships. So, when you grow up with your parents, then choose a life partner, then have children yourself, these are all attachment relationships. In addition, there can be other, alternative attachment figures, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, occasionally siblings, and sometimes people who have no familial relationship, but stand in as substitute attachment figures.

When they go well, we are happy. When they don’t go well, then it leads to unhappiness in one way or another.

These relationships can be conceived of in five different core beliefs. First is how you relate to yourself, whether you relate to yourself in a loving and accepting way, or whether you relate to yourself as being bad and unworthy. Second is how you relate to others: can you be who you really are with others, or do you have to put up a false self in order to win approval. Third is your model of the world and how it works, which create the rules or beliefs that you use in order to interact with the world. Fourth is the strategies and tactics that you use in order to get your needs met. And fifth is your primary strategy for how you nurture yourself and others. These then determine how we behave in our close personal relationships and how we feel about ourselves and others.

Since you have found this website, you are perhaps interested in knowing more about attachment and how it affects us in our lives. The basic proposition is this:

We need to feel safe with the people we need to feel safe

When we don’t feel safe with our caregivers - the people that we need in order to feel safe - then we are left with difficulties in knowing how to deal with others. There are 3 basic strategies, A, B, and C, that, in broad terms, determine how you relate to those closest to you.*

Addiction Counselling Manchester
Relationship Counselling Manchester
Family Therapy Manchester
Attachment Centred Therapy Manchester

B3 or not B3, that is the question.
If you were lucky enough to have caregivers, usually parents, who helped you to feel safe, who helped you to understand your feelings and how to deal with them effectively, and how to get your needs met by interacting with others, then you are likely to be a B3. That is as good as it gets in attachment terms. Those are the folks who grow up, get married, and live happily ever after. B’s use a balance of both facts and feelings in processing information about relationships. And, they are not likely to be reading this now, because B’s are not generally going to be seeking therapy for themselves, and are much less likely to seek therapy for those close to them.

A’s on the other hand, tend to deny their own needs and feelings and are pre-occupied with meeting the needs of others. They rely primarily on facts in processing information, to the exclusion of emotional information, particularly negative emotions. If something goes wrong in relationships, they tend to blame themselves and exonerate others. In fact, some A’s will insist that they had a perfectly normal childhood, and it is only because of their own personal inadequacies that they are seeking help.

C’s tend to dismiss the needs and feelings of others and are pre-occupied with their own. They rely primarily on their own emotional state in processing information. If something goes wrong in relationships, they tend to blame the other and exonerate themselves. This keeps them stuck in a cycle of insecurity, because they fail to learn from experience, lacking the cause and effect connections that help them to understand how their behaviour is contributing to the problems they experience.

How did it get this way? Research, both in the lab and in direct observation of child and caregiver relationships, support the theory that vagal tone (our default response setting to environmental influences, plus our own internally operations) is set during the first months and years of life. In fact, in Mary Ainsworth's observations of mother/infant relationships, she could predict how the infant would be classified at around age 12 months on the Strange Situations Procedure (SSP) during the first 3 months of life! This then sets the 'tone' for the rest of life's experiences. That is why it is so hard for people to change their ways even when they want to. In order to do this, we have to reprogram the unconscious mind.

I have created 3 sayings, one for each category, that are designed to help them to reprogram, except for the B’s who don’t really need much help and rarely show up in a therapy office.

For A’s: Logically, it makes sense to be more emotional.

For C’s: Emotionally, it feels good to be more logical.

For B’s: I am comfortable using both facts and feelings in making choices in relationships.

Addiction Counselling Manchester, Relationship Counselling Manchester,
Family Therapy Manchester, Attachment Centred Therapy Manchester


Considering the state of affairs around the world today, it is worth reflecting on the role that attachment plays in making things how they are. You may not think immediately that how parents raise their children has much to do with the geo-political status of our planet. I think that it has a great deal to do with how we relate to one another on a personal, local, national, and international level. Let me explain.
When a child experiences consistent and sensitive caregiving that meets the child’s emotional needs and helps them to learn to deal with their feelings in a healthy way, then we know that results in secure attachment. When those needs and feelings aren’t dealt with properly, then we know that results in insecure attachment. Secure attachment means that people can feel calm and confident in their dealings with others, and feel good about themselves. Insecure attachment means that people operate out of a sense of threat and danger, and so feel fear and anger disproportionately.

Of course, many people who are insecure do a good job of projecting that outwards on to others, unconsciously. This is the root of xenophobia, or fear of strangers. This explains the current backlash against immigrants and ‘the other’ in our present political polarization. Thus, people who already feel fear and anger are going to be drawn to those who appeal to those very strong feelings. The fear and anger motivation is very powerful, because you only have to be wrong once when danger threatens in order for it to be game over. Thus, when we feel threatened, we take protective action in order to assuage feelings that may be disproportionate to the actual threat.

There are two very useful books that address this tendency to see danger everywhere and disaster looming. The first is by Stephen Pinker, a very impressive Harvard University Psychologist, The Better Angels of our Nature, the title taken from a phrase of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address. Lincoln was hoping at that point to avoid the impending Civil War that engulfed the USA. In his book, Pinker uses statistical data to demonstrate that, overall, the world is getting to be a much better place than it used to be. Although it is quite a long read, I found it to be well worth it. If you have an interest in history and evolution, then this book will interest you from that perspective as well.

The second is Factfulness by Hans Rosling, now deceased, and completed posthumously by Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund, his children. Here is a link to the Factfulness website,, where they define factfulness as “The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.” Factfulness also demonstrates, using statistical data compiled from around the world, that things are getting better in virtually every way. So, as a species, we can truly say that ‘every day, in every way, we are getting better and better.

That’s not to say that some things are not still bad, (and some are really bad!) just that they can be bad, but also getting better. In other words, just because we believe that things are getting better, we still need to keep working to make them even better, because in many cases it is still pretty bad. On the other hand, no matter how bad things are, when we can pull back and look at the larger picture, things are getting better.
This is in keeping with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In this Hierarchy, the bottom level of need is Physical: that is, just what it takes to keep the body alive, and beyond that, well nourished physically. The next level of need, in my Maslow’s Modified Hierarchy, is Nurtural needs. This relates to our need for emotional nourishment that is expressed in a physical way: to be held, touched, smiled at, spoken to gently and tenderly, and so on, in the way that we do when we care for someone and want them to feel our warmth and caring.

Next comes Safety and Security. This is the level where, if you don’t get these needs met, something kills you and eats, or someone kills you and robs you, or takes you prisoner, or you get swept away in an avalanche, and so on. In other words, you may be fat and happy one minute, and dead the next. This is why our Triple F – freeze, fight, flight – response is so strong when there is an immediate threat. We need this ability of our mind to keep us safe. It reacts much more quickly than our conscious mind can do. That’s because all we need for our FFF to kick in is a trigger from our perceptions and then our unconscious mind – the life support system and the limbic system – responds either directly (think of the doctor hitting your knee with the rubber mallet to test your reflex response) or indirectly (Think of responding automatically when someone holds out their hand for a shake, or if you’ve ever slammed in the brakes without thinking to avoid an accident) by triggering the involuntary nervous system to take some action (as described above).

The thing is, our conscious mind is also aware of these activities, we just don’t have much control over them. We can increase our control by training, but for the most part these activities take place automatically, in the moment. But we can also plan with our conscious mind in order to deal with threat. Thus, if there is a Sabre Cat haunting our territory and threatening every day to kill us and eat us, then we can form a plan to take out the Sabre Cat by working cooperatively together. Likewise, if there is an enemy army approaching, we can build a fortification (think ‘a wall’ here) to keep them out. These are useful responses, and we don’t need to do anything to get rid of these.

The problem arises when we rely only on the emotional information we are receiving, and especially when those emotions arise from erroneous beliefs. Thus, when some demagogic leader spouts imprecations about ‘foreigners’ based on erroneous beliefs, those who are predisposed to anger and fear already are much more susceptible to those false beliefs, and thus, dangerous feelings of insecurity. I say dangerous, because those feelings that are meant to protect us, when unleavened with fact, lead us astray.

Hence the need to make decisions based on facts and feelings. A combination of both is what leads to secure attachment. This then allows us to get to the level of Love and Belonging, where we see others as like unto ourselves.

So, by you addressing your own attachment needs and issues now, not only are you helping yourself, you are also helping all those you love, and helping to make the world a better place as well.

Attachment Centered Therapy Manchester:

I have developed a model of therapy that I call Attachment Centred Therapy. What this means is that the services that I provide, while varied, are all centred around attachment relationships.

As a part of my work with individuals, couples and families I provide
Relationship Counselling Manchester
Addiction Counselling Manchester
Family Therapy Manchester

These are offered either separately or as an integral part of Attachment Centred Therapy, since I find that difficulties in these areas almost always spring from attachment difficulties. I also find that this work has a global effect, so that those clients who do this work experience changes in all areas of their life's functioning.

Relationship Counselling Manchester: Over decades of working with clients, and training in many areas of specialisation, I am convinced that the problems that most people present in therapy settings grow out of difficulties in their attachment relationships. These attachment experiences determine how we relate to other people in our lives, particularly those most close to us, and also how we deal with the difficulties that life presents us. I believe that by correcting these difficulties with attachment people are enabled to make the changes that they want to make and do the things that they know they need to do. My experience tells me that this is so.

Family Therapy Manchester: I also use an attachment based approach for working with families. Family work can be done with an entire family, or with different configurations of people from the family.

Addiction Counselling Manchester: I believe that most addictive disorders are due to attachment difficulties that result in unmet needs and feelings not being dealt with in an effective manner. The addictive disordered behavior develops because it is a vain attempt to meet unmet needs. While the addictive behavior provides the illusion of making things better by making the negative feelings that come from unmet needs go away, this is only temporary and so those unmet needs come back stronger than before, often leading to an escalation of the addictive behavior.

Attachment difficulties in families often lead to other common problems, such as:

  • Trauma
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Stress
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Panic Attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement unresolved
  • Employment problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Co-dependency
  • Eating Disorders
  • Hypoactive and hyperactive sexual desire disorder
  • and many other difficulties.

    My practice for Attachment Centered Therapy, Addiction Counselling, and Relationship Counselling is in Manchester. My Manchester practice is within easy reach of Cheshire. I provide Relationship Counselling Manchester and Addiction Counselling Manchester.

    Thank you for the work you are doing for me and for Isabella. To my surprise she has told me about her "compulsive self reliance" and even read to me some data from the website you have kindly advised to look at.... I see this... as a big step forward in her life for which I am grateful to you. We are so lucky to have a professional person like you!
    Sent from my iPad
    (Names changed to protect identity)

    Charley Shults

    I provide: Addiction Counselling Manchester, Psychotherapy in Manchester, counsellor Manchester, as well as Relationship Counselling Manchester and Addiction Counselling Manchester.

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