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How traumatic events can break our vital connections—and how to restore love, wholeness, and resiliency in your life.
From our earliest years, we develop an attachment style that follows us through life, replaying in our daily emotional landscape, our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves. And in the wake of a traumatic event—such as a car accident, severe illness, loss of a loved one, or experience of abuse—that attachment style can deeply influence what happens next.
In The Power of Attachment, Dr. Diane Poole Heller, a pioneer in attachment theory and trauma resolution, shows how overwhelming experiences can disrupt our most important connections— with the parts of ourselves within, with the physical world around us, and with others.
The good news is that we can restore and reconnect at all levels, regardless of our past.
Here, you’ll learn key insights and practices to help you:
• Restore the broken connections caused by trauma • Get embodied and grounded in your body • Integrate the parts of yourself that feel wounded and fragmented • Emerge from grief, fear, and powerlessness to regain strength, joy, and resiliency • Reclaim access to your inner resources and spiritual nature
"We are fundamentally designed to heal," teaches Dr. Heller. "Even if our childhood is less than ideal, our secure attachment system is biologically programmed in us, and our job is to simply find out what’s interfering with it—and learn what we can do to make those secure tendencies more dominant."
With expertise drawn from Dr. Heller’s research, clinical work, and training programs, this book invites you to begin that journey back to wholeness.
About the Author
Diane Poole Heller, PhD, is an established expert in the field of Adult Attachment Theory, the Somatic Experiencing® method of trauma resolution, and a synthesis of integrative healing methods. She is a trainer and presenter who offers workshops and educational materials on trauma, attachment models and their dynamics in childhood and adult relationships, and other topics.
For several decades, Dr. Heller has lectured and taught around the world as both a Somatic Experiencing trainer and special topics presenter, most recently with her popular DARe (Dynamic Attachment Re-Patterning experience) series on Adult Attachment.
She began her work with Dr. Peter Levine, founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment, now the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, and the Somatic Experiencing method of trauma resolution. As a senior faculty member for the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, she teaches work based on Dr. Levine’s model in the US and worldwide, including Denmark, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Israel, Germany, and Australia.
She weaves her 30 years of experience in the Diamond Approach spiritual practice with principles from the fields of body, mind, and spiritual sciences in a holistic approach to trauma healing.
Her book Crash Course, a guidebook on how to resolve auto accident trauma, is used as a resource for healing many types of trauma, both in the US and internationally.
Dr. Heller presents at national seminars and conferences, and is the author of numerous articles in the field, as well as the documentary "Surviving Columbine," featured on CNN. As president of DARe and Trauma Solutions, a psychotherapy training organization, she concentrates her efforts to support the helping community through an array of specialized psychotherapy topics. Learn more at dianepooleheller.com.
Peter A. Levine, PhD, has spent 45 years studying and treating stress and trauma. He holds a doctorate degree in medical biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley and in psychology from International University. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing®, a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. He has practiced and taught at treatment centers, hospitals, and pain clinics throughout the world, and has dealt with a wide range of trauma, including accidents, rapes, assaults, abuse, and invasive medical procedures. Peter was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the Space Shuttle program. He served with the Institute for World Affairs Task Force for "Psychologists for Social Responsibility" and the American Psychological Association "Presidential Initiative on Responding to Large-Scale Disasters and Ethno-Centric Warfare." He is also the bestselling author of Waking the Tiger (published in 22 languages), as well as several other books and audio programs that teach people how to use the body as a tool in resolving trauma. Peter is the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment, based out of Boulder, Colorado, which now has a membership of 5,000 Somatic Experiencing® training practitioners worldwide. His current interests include prevention of trauma in children, for which he has published two books, his most recent being Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: a Parent’s Guide to Instilling Confidence, Joy, and Resilience.
In Fall 2010, he published his master opus In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. In October 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP.org).
“Filled with wise guidance based on decades of clinical experience and scientific training, Dr. Poole Heller provides a wealth of clear, practical tools that anyone can use to improve their relationships and enrich their lives. With warmth, honesty, and a gift for teaching, she weaves together insights from attachment research, neurobiology, and life experience to provide easy-to-use tools to connect more deeply to others and heal our hearts and minds in the process—creating a valuable resource for us all.” —Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Author of The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems
“In The Power of Attachment, Diane Poole Heller fearlessly and compassionately explores our innate capacities for truly enriching relationships and the tragedies and terrors that can derail them. Diane’s clinical expertise in attachment and trauma guides the reader through many exercises that radically and effectively transform the early perceptions of broken connections into new experiences of genuinely fulfilling, resonant connections. The science is solid; the stories are compelling; the style is engaging; the wisdom is a tremendous gift.” —Linda Graham, MFT, author of Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster
“Diane Poole Heller has written a gem of a book that clearly conveys what decades of attachment research have taught us about how we become who we are and how we can change. Drawing on her experiences as a person, therapist, and student of psychological science, Heller offers the reader a wealth of insight. The book is a gift—practical and, yes, inspirational—from a very special writer whose depth of understanding, compassion, and humanity shine through on every page.” —David Wallin, PhD, author of Attachment in Psychotherapy
“Written with great warmth and clarity, this beautiful book turns the scientific insights of attachment theory into practical healing and help for our most important relationships. It is full of examples, experiential exercises, and deep insights into the lingering effects of childhood. Dr. Heller has a depth of heart, intellect, and experience that is rare and remarkable, and it shows on every page.” —Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
“Diane Poole Heller brings us good news—a healthy romantic relationship is attainable, despite whatever attachment wounds we’ve survived. Reading this book can be the first step to your own recovery and ability to connect intimately with another. Diane Poole Heller’s knowledge of trauma and recovery begins with her own hard-won experience, shared here as the inspiration for her life’s work. Whether clinician or client, yoga therapist or student, The Power of Attachment is an essential read and reference. Keep this book within easy reach for the moments you fall away from your own sense of compassionate connection. The exercises here helped me grow in love and understanding of my own and my partner’s attachment styles and brought us to a new level of intimacy.” —Amy Weintraub, Founder of LifeForce Yoga, author of Yoga Skills for Therapists and Yoga for Depression
“Diane Poole Heller has given us a new primer on attachment theory that breaks down some basic concepts for readers. She describes the characteristics of the various attachment styles and gives readers some elementary ways to begin to track their own behaviors and skills. The chapter specifically devoted to understanding attachment in relationships can serve as a good introduction for couples or anyone interested in coupling. Diane’s warm and personal writing style makes this an easy read.” —Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, developer of A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT) and author of Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship
“What maintains the grip of painful patterns that play out again and again in our relationships? The Power of Attachment answers that big question and shows why liberating change is possible. Diane Poole Heller is a superb guide for finding your way in the deep, compelling domain of attachment, and her warmth creates a healing connection with the reader.” —Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT, co-creator of Coherence Therapy and co-author of Unlocking the Emotional Brain
“The Power of Attachment is a beautifully written book, exploring the definitions and manifestations of attachment styles from a strengths-based perspective. Diane’s warm and optimistic voice continually empowers the reader to reaccess and strengthen their capacity for secure attachments and to heal relational wounds. Powerful creative exercises, guided imagery, and concrete strategies help the reader to be more internally resourced while deepening their ability to forge secure relationships through repair, empathy, corrective experiences, and compassion. For anyone who works with traumatized clients or has experienced attachment wounds firsthand, this book is a gift—nurturing, enlightening, and healing.” —Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA, author of Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons from the Therapist’s Couch
“Diane Poole Heller proves herself a superb guide to the new exciting science of attachment theory. In clear, readable, touching prose, The Power of Attachment gives you the practical tools you need to understand yourself and your partner at the deepest level. It has the power to change your life.” —Terrence Real, founder of the Relational Empowerment Institute and author of The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work
“The Power of Attachment is a masterful compendium of how to understand and bring healing to the major attachment styles. Equally valuable for both therapists and the general public, this book possesses comprehensive modes of assessment and countless, evolved, effective exercises. Kudos to Dr. Poole Heller for her book that both explores the brain and engages the heart.” —David Grand, PhD, author of Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change
“We blame ourselves or our partners when intimacy goes south without awareness of the unconscious relationship template that organizes those failures. With clear illustrations and practical exercises, Diane Poole Heller helps you understand and change this powerful inner operating system that came from your childhood attachment history, thereby defusing the mines in the minefields that love has been for most of us.” —Richard Schwartz, PhD, founder of the Internal Family Systems method and author of You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For