By Phil Zaffos, LPC

Attunement describes how in touch a person is to another’s emotional needs, moods and feelings. A person who is well-attuned will respond with appropriate language and behaviors based on another person’s emotional state. They are good at recognizing moods and emotions in another and adapting their own response in accordance.
Attunement is so vital for the development of a sense of self, especially in childhood. When we are missed by others, our desire and need for relationship is unfulfilled, which can birth in us a confusion and shame, which we wrestle to cope with in various ways though life.

Simply stated: being misattuned to or not attuned to can create harm in a person.

Probably all of us have been impacted by the effects of having been ‘missed’ or harmed, whether in an acute moment or a more chronic history of events. How do you experience this influence within yourself? How do you see this impact your choices? Your relationships?

Being heard and understood by another let’s us know that what is happening within us is significant. Feeling significant by having our hearts seen, known and understood offers an affirmation and a reflection of the worth that we inherently possess. It also creates a security and safety through unconditional acceptance, connection and support.

Through counseling, what many experience is that attunement carries with it an inherent challenge because it invites you into experiencing your true worth. It simultaneously beckons you to wrestle with the pain and shame offered to your heart in your life and awakens your deepest desires. When this happens, the foundations of harm have been disrupted, releasing it’s grip over your heart and opens a door for healing. My hope as a counselor is that this sacredness can be a gift offered to those who are desiring more for life.

Phil is a Licensed Professional Counselor and founding director at Foundation Counseling. He enjoys working with groups, individuals and families in the Marietta & Kennesaw area. Learn more about him and other therapists at Foundation Counseling here.

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