Our initial caregivers hand off to us patterns of giving and receiving care that we learn as infants and which generally influence how we connect to both ourselves and to others throughout our lives. We learn automatic or default patterns of behavior when we experience need and its associated discomfort. When our caregivers fail to respond to our needs consistently, we learn not to ask for or expect care, but, rather, that we need to find other ways to deal with the discomfort of vulnerability. Most of us probably have learned ways to either cover/hide/deny our needs or to seek to control others in the effort to guarantee that they will meet our needs. This sets up patterns in which the human vulnerability that we all feel is not authentically addressed. This covering of needs short circuits real connection to the degree that the vulnerability needs are disguised. To be truly seen, known, and cared for responsively is the basis for felt safety, trust, and connection. To the degree that real, flexible connection is limited, trust is destroyed and replaced by domination, control, withdrawal, and/or external performance of task. For us to build connection, we must learn how to safely experience our need and vulnerability and how to ask caring others for attention and responsiveness while we are willing to wait for a positive response. If we are asking our clients to do this with their horses, we need to be actively pursuing this work within ourselves.
Objectives To understand the relationship between attunement and responsiveness of caregivers to the building of trust and connection. To understand how early treatment influences a person’s pre-conscious working model of how to obtain felt safety. To understand how these various models or styles of relating distill into several basic styles of interpersonal giving and receiving .