Circling can be very powerful in contributing to an already established way of thinking about relationships called Adult Attachment Theory. Adult Attachment Theory is a branch of psychology that says that the early experiences between parent and child create working models of relationships that, without reflection, an adult will carry with them for their entire lives. Marenka Cerny, who is a somatic psychotherapist practicing Circling for a few years with Guy Sengstock, recognized that the substantial benefits of immersion in Circling are in many ways the same as when someone is, what is known as, “securely attached”.
In her article, A New Development in Psychology: Adult Secure Attachment and Circling, Marenka points to the significant distinctions between secure and insecure attachment. She wrote, “adults who are insecurely attached will frequently exhibit recurring negative behaviors in relationship: the tendencies to avoid other people, to be critical, controlling, insensitive, readily show anger and fear, and, to deny one’s own needs. Basically, an adult with insecure attachment will frequently either not clearly recognize their own needs, or the other person’s, or both.” By contrast, “securely attached adults have a greater capacity to trust others, tolerate conflict, and exercise discernment when forming new bonds. They are empathetic, and know how to set and sustain appropriate boundaries as they cultivate meaningful connections with others.”
Marenka has been working to articulate the connection between Circling and Adult Attachment Theory, and she is currently working on her third essay on the topic. She has proposed that “Circling creates the conditions to experience what secure attachment feels like even before attachment wounds are healed,” sometimes even the first time a person circles. For anyone interested in this thesis, Marenka has an important caveat: “Circling by itself does not develop secure attachment, nothing creates secure attachment without a person’s intention to heal their attachment wounds.” But, she also suggests, “since Circling generates the feelings and mindstate of secure attachment with peers — by engendering the emotional and psychological clarity between people that occurs in securely attached relationships — then if one circles regularly, perhaps in conjunction with psychotherapy,” it is possible that “secure attachment can be expedited more efficiently than with psychotherapy alone.”
For more information, Google the article: A New Development in Psychology: Adult Secure Attachment and Circling by Mařenka Cerny.