How Can I Become More Secure? A Grounded Theory of Earning Secure Attachment

Rachael A. Dansby Olufowote, Stephen T. Fife, Cydney Schleiden, Jason B. Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to develop a grounded theory of earning secure attachment. This study included 15 women and 5 men who met the criteria of having a self-reported history of attachment insecurity and demonstrated evidence of earned security. The grand tour research question, How do adults with a history of insecure attachment earn security?, was explored using constructivist grounded theory and semi-structured interviews emphasizing processes of positive attachment change. The results describe a process model of change hinging on three interrelated categories: meta-conditions of positive attachment change, making intrapsychic changes, and making interpersonal changes. Clinical implications include the importance of clients committing to the process, clients working with a clinician trained in trauma-focused therapy, and clinicians being surrogate attachment figures for clients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-506
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


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