Attunement is a Key Ingredient in Healthy Relationships

By Jim Squire MDiv RP |

Emotional bonding is a basic need of all humans and is even necessary for survival. Awareness of our emotional connection to another is called attunement which refers to being “at one” with another person. Basically attunement alerts us that something is not right in the connection therefore it is necessary for maintaining healthy relationships. As a psychotherapist I see first-hand that attunement and openness are critical to having healthy relationships. Unresolved hurts create distance in relationships and in many cases these hurts go unnoticed by partners or are mishandled in attempts to resolve them. Sue Johnson a prominent psychologist and the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) writes that lack of emotional attunement and safety are the reason desire and passion fade with couples rather than familiarity and time. Therefore understanding the needs of those we love most is critical to staying connected or repairing any injuries that happen to the connection. Unfortunately when people don’t feel safe they do not allow themselves to be vulnerable and we cannot resolve problems in relationships if we are not willing to be open and vulnerable. Families or couples can increase attunement by having frank discussions about their relationships, checking in with each other regularly and being open to resolving issues or misunderstandings. Striving for more attunement will also demonstrate caring for those around us and be a tangible reminder that they are important to us and that we care about the health of the relationship.