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  • Writer's pictureChristina Cunningham Spinler

Importance of Attunement

Dr. Daniel Siegel describes attunement as the process of being aware of and responsive to your partner's emotional state, but the same advice could also be used with your children. Attunement involves being present with your partner and noticing their verbal and nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.

To practice attunement with your partner, try the follow these steps:

Be present: Put away any distractions, such as cell phones or computers, and focus your attention on your partner. This can help you tune in to your partner's emotional state and connect with them on a deeper level.

Observe: Pay attention to your partner's verbal and nonverbal cues. Notice their facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. This can give you clues about how your partner is feeling and what they may need from you.

Reflect: Reflect back to your partner what you are observing. This can help your partner feel heard and understood. For example, you might say, "It sounds like you're feeling stressed about work."

Respond: Respond to your partner's emotional needs in a supportive and nurturing way. This might involve offering comfort, reassurance, or validation. For example, you might say, "I'm here for you and I believe in you. Let's work together to find a solution."

It requires practice and may not come naturally. Therefore, it's important to allow yourself enough time to practice and learn from mistakes. By practicing attunement, couples can help each other develop a sense of emotional regulation and self-awareness. Attunement can also promote a stronger relationship and a greater sense of security and safety for both partners. This tool is an excellent resource for managing the metaphorical "flipped lid" of your brain during stressful situations. The term "flipped lid" refers to the hand model used to explain the brain, which I will discuss further in a separate post.


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