Attachment Styles and some comment on mental health diagnosis

—– Cool little brief about attachment styles.

I would  change only one phrase: it is not a diagnosis.

People might be diagnosed with an attachment disorder, but the explanatory trope here is about styles of interpersonal attachment. They are ways to help people understand what they are involved with, what they are doing, to then help them do something different. We speak of this as styles because it is simply that it is characterized manners that people engage in relationships with other people (and likely the world in general, but that is another discussion :). There is nothing inherently wrong with having an anxious attachment style, per se; it is simply the way of engaging with relationships. The degree that it is wrong is entirely up to me or you.

In fact, I would even go so far to say that one does not attempt to stop having any particular attachment style. Rather, one comes to terms with how they must adjust their expectations for relationships, who they might want, who might fulfill them as people in a relationship.

Knowing ones attachment style helps a person figure out themselves toward helping them choose the right person with which to have a fulfilling relationship with and how to participate in that relationship. Attachment styles are not necessarily diagnoses that the person must be cured of so they can be mentally healthy. I submit, that kind of idea is inherently not mentally healthy from a treatment standpoint.

What do you want?

Perhaps to most who simply want to live a life, this is splitting hairs. As a mental health practitioner, I want the best for people, and as many who read my blog might know, I am skeptical that a mental health diagnosis has substance. 

I should note that from the effort to help people where they are through how they already understand the world and themselves, I must defer to what works. To many people, like I believe the author of this post tells of themselves, to have a diagnosis helps them. So, I am not here to suggest that a diagnosis is not helpful; rather, I am also a philosopher, a thinker, an agent of change, so I regularly delve a little deeper into subjects than the regular person.

As well, the author of the link could have just been using the word ‘diagnosis’ meaning explanation.  So there’s that…

Of course, my word is not the beat all, end all, of any subject. But neither is empirical science. You can read my works if you have interest in getting a handle on what I mean by that. I definitely am not saying that empirical science is B.S. or wrong or some kind of fantasy.  I say it is real and valid as such, but not true.

Anyways, here’s my bit for those who want a little more.


No one is a diagnosis.  And here is my claim about diagnosis:

One does not have a mental health diagnosis like one has a finger or a kidney. A diagnosis is a way of helping a person to explain to themselves what is happening. 

See that this is not a standard view. For sure, there is a glut of career professionals, as well as philosophers, who work with mental health diagnoses as though there is a thing in the person that is interfering with thier ability to….

…I am not sure how I would qualify this. What: be themselves? Accomplish what they want to? behave normally? Be more mental healthy?? Cure their mental illness?

I am not sure. In fact, I am so not sure, to the extent that this is a good reason why I say a someone does not have a mental issue like they do a brain or a lip or a tumor.

Metal health is not the same as physical health, and it does not respond in the same way, neither as conceptualization, nor treatment.

Simply by virtue of the two facts that can only be disputed through blatant denial:

  1. There is no such thing as a common treatment of a mental health diagnosis.
  2. A person getting better does not always — and frequently does not — correlate with the treatment.

1 – FACT: mental health diagnoses are names of theoretical correlations of problem/solution. Every idea of what is wrong with someone is nested in an argument based theory which applies and supports a reason why a particular method of intervention might work. Any one of the many theories, say, about depression, is able to work effectively.  But it is just as likely not to work, and despite the statistical correlational proofs, which are empirical instruments.

This goes to the next point.

2- FACT: Often, and very often, even though someone might be receiving a treatment for a mental health diagnosis and it works, if you speak to the person about what actually happened and how they understand what changed or what occurred, they will report a situation that makes only partial sense in light of the diagnostic treatment.  This is to say, they will have made their own sense out of it.

Now, empiricists would readily clam that the patient is simply ignorant of the empirical diagnosis and treatment. However, this goes to the point number one: there are as many on the ground ‘treatments’ to any named diagnosis as there are therapy sessions.

Theory beyond theory

If you are simply trying to feel better, perhaps the more philosophical depths are not required.

This is not about what is right and wrong, but about what works.

As I have said: it is not that empirical science is wrong or incorrect or that diagnosis is not identifying something correctly. Rather, the issue is what is actually occurring.

So it is, in the same way as empiricists would claim the ‘cured patient’ is simply ignorant of the actual situation, the empiricist herself is living in a conceptual world of denial about what is actually occurring such that their theories’ correlates actually have effect.

This effect can be explained to its truth outside of real correlations.


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