Moving together with you: Bodily expression of attachment

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Body movement, also referred to as nonverbal communication is a complex and rich phenomenon. One possible way of systematically organizing the way we interpret nonverbal interpersonal behavior is to link it with one of the most studied and validated constructs of interpersonal relationship: attachment. The preliminary bond between a baby and a caregiver is first and foremost a bodily one, therefore we expect it to be internalized and expressed in the body along the life span. In the present paper, we aim to deepen the understanding of patterns of nonverbal expression by describing several case studies that illustrate in detail each of the attachment classifications and its bodily manifestation in adulthood. We used a simple movement interaction paradigm called the mirror game (MG). The MG is a mimicking task between two participants, taking turns in leading and following each other's movements. We examined the link between the bodily expression during the MG (based on the Mirror-Game Scales) and attachment classifications (based on the Adult Attachment Interview). Based on this link we describe in detail four case studies that demonstrate the use of the MGS. The results present integration of the quantitative and qualitative analysis that enable to demonstrate the synergy between the two methods. To this end, several case studies are described, that illustrate each of the attachment classifications and their bodily manifestations. Individuals with secure classification expressed easiness and flow in their movements, while individuals with insecure classification expressed rigidity and tension. To conclude, the interface between the quantitative analysis and the case studies enabled the translation of the statistical findings into applied information about individual differences in nonverbal communication, that may have clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101950
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adult attachment
  • Body
  • Embodiment
  • Mirror game
  • Movement
  • Nonverbal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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