Attached to God: A Conversation with Krispin Mayfield

Attachment science is both revolutionary and simple. Basically, it states that humans were created for relationships, or, as attachment science founder John Bowlby called it “lasting psychological connectedness between humans.” Of course, this is what we find reflected in Scripture. Creation is good…until God looks at man and determines that his aloneness is “not good.” So, God creates woman. But does attachment go beyond that? What relationship exists between God and us? Using attachment science, Krispin Mayfield explores our attachment to God—specifically, he lists three insecure forms of attachment and one secure form of attachment. It was such a revolutionary book, I had to have him on the program to talk more about it.

The Conversation | Krispin Mayfield

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and content.

Josh Olds: I want to start—for those people who are like, “I don’t know what this title means and I don’t know that I want to spend the next 45 minutes of my life figuring it out”—can you give us your nutshell summary? What is this book about? Who is it for?

Krispin Mayfield: Yeah, basically, attachment science is the study of relationships. So it’s looking at what are the ways that we are trying to get relationship with God or trying to connect with God or do relationship with God? And what ways are there insecurity in that relationship? What are the, typical ways we can expect that we will deal with that insecurity through these different attachment styles? So basically, if you’re not feeling totally secure with God, you might feel really anxious about it. Or you might shut down your emotions, or you might beat yourself up and basically be like, you know, there’s something wrong with me. And if I can just continue to criticize and beat myself up, then maybe I’ll get a better connection with God. So that’s my best shot at summarizing it.

Josh Olds: Your experience with attachment science is as a therapist. You use this not necessarily to talk about clients’ relationship with God, but talking about marriage relationships, all sorts of human relationships. At what point were you like, “Oh, hey, this thing that I’m doing here also applies very much to the relationship between God and people.”

Krispin Mayfield: Right? Attachment science really start started out as a very scientific way of looking at what are proximity seeking behaviors, which is basically like, what are the ways that that primates try to get connection with their loved ones? And so, you know, they actually looked at monkeys first, but then also looking at infants and looked at what are the ways that babies who need their mothers try to get close to their mothers to get protection and get nurturance? You know, that sort of thing. And then we basically looked in as a field and realized, oh, this plays out in marriagesvwith adults? And so then recognizing there are these just patterns of behavior of like, “How do I get how do I get close to you?” And for some people, it’s, like, really clingy. For some people, it’s like, you know, I’m gonna kind of be standoffish, but that’s kind of how I know how to do relationship. And I started sitting in church services and looking around and kind of being like, “Oh, I can see these same sort of behavior patterns playing out with people. And, you know, if you were sort of like a scientist, just sitting in the back of a church or looking at a faith community and taking notes on what are the ways that people try to get close to God, what observations would you make?

The Book | Attached to God

Read our full review of Attached to God here.

Why does God feel so far away? The reason–and the solution–is in your attachment style.

We all experience moments when God’s love and presence are tangible. But we also experience feeling utterly abandoned by God. Why?

The answer is found when you take a deep look at the other important relationships in your life and understand your attachment style. Through his years working in trauma recovery programs, extensive research into attachment science, and personal experiences with spiritual striving and abuse, licensed therapist Krispin Mayfield has learned to answer the question: Why do I feel so far from God?

When you understand your attachment style you gain a whole new paradigm for a secure and loving relationship with God. You’ll gain insights about:

  • How you relate to others–both your strengths and weaknesses
  • The practical exercises you can use to grow a secure spiritual attachment to God
  • How to move forward on the spirituality spectrum and experience the Divine connection we all were created for

You’ll learn to identify and remove mixed messages about closeness with God that you may have heard in church or from well-meaning Christians. With freedom from the past, you can then chart a new path toward intimate connection with the God of the universe.

The Author | Krispin Mayfield

Krispin Mayfield LPC, has a background in full-time ministry and is now in private practice as a licensed professional counselor in Oregon, where he and his wife, D. L., live with their two children. Trained in attachment-based emotionally focused therapy, Krispin has served for over ten years in church-based trauma recovery programs. In his writing, podcasting, and speaking, Krispin explores the integration of faith and psychology, and his writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Christianity Today, Relevant, Aleteia, Boundless, and Fathom.