attachment theory

A Note from George (February 2019)


Mettagroup x the Bay Area

There are a lot of events happening in the Bay Area this winter into spring from Mettagroup! 


First up is my Dharma talk about meditation and attachment on Friday, March 1, followed by a day-long introduction to our Meditation x Attachment course (formerly known as The Meaningful Life) on Saturday, March 2. It all leads up to a special two-month version of the Meditation x Attachment intensive taking place over four day-longs on April 6, April 20, May 4, May 18. It's all happening at San Francisco Dharma Collective and you can read more here

Also in March (March 3 - 8 to be precise), my good friend Dave Smith and I are offering a six day/five night workshop called An Awakened and Meaningful Life at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley. This is the first time we're co-teaching a retreat like this, focused on developing skillful emotional regulation strategies for use in intimate relationships (friends and lovers). Get the details and register here

We still ❤️ you, LA!

Back on our home turf in Los Angeles, we'll also be offering Meditation x Attachment – Level One during four day-longs, meeting every other week on April 13, April 27, May 11 and May 25. After a successful trial run of this new format in Santa Cruz last year, we're very excited to bring it back home - and it will be completely Dana-based, so here we go! Read more and register here

Then later in the Spring, Mettagroup will begin a series of day-longs under the banner Coupling for Single People, focusing on understanding the dynamics of collaborative relationships and meditation based emotional regulation strategies. We are taking a Noah’s Ark approach (is there a Buddhist metaphor that is equivalent?), inviting everyone whatever your object choice. We love a good mash-up!! Stay tuned for details.

Switching Up Our Retreat Schedule

Mettagroup’s ten-day Metta-Vipassana retreats will move from Winter and Summer, to Spring and Fall. Since we held the Winter retreat, the next 10-dayer will be in the Fall, back at Seven Circles Retreat Center in Badger, CA. Maybe California living changes your blood into wimpy, wimpy, wimpy, but many of our retreatants have emphatically stated that the meditation yurt is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, so we have opted for milder weather. People have also requested a lay-away plan for paying for the retreat, so we have created a pay-as-you-like possibility, so you can register now for the retreat and pay little-by-little over the months ahead of the retreat. Register here

The infamous yurt at Seven Circles.

The infamous yurt at Seven Circles.


I think we have finally perfected our retreat format (not forgetting that everything remains impermanent), adding a period of restorative yoga at the end of the day, so the body can stretch and relax in preparation for sleep and another day of practice. 

The Tiger and the Strawberry

Now for a little Zen story: a monk or a nun depending on which makes you happier, walks along a forest path on the edge of a steep, mountain cliff. S/he hears a crash in the forest behind him/her and turns to see a tiger lumber out between the trees. The tiger licks her/his lips and charges toward the nun/monk. The monk/nun runs as fast she/he can but loses her/his footing taking a turn and slides over the edge of the cliff. Just as he/she is about to drop a thousand feet to her/his death, s/he grabs ahold of a root sticking out of the cliff with both hands. The tiger looks over the edge of the cliff and sees the predicament of the nun/monk, then trots down the path until s/he is standing underneath the nun/monk waiting for her/him to fall. 

As the monk/nun attempts to pull her/himself up the cliff back to the path, two mice crawl out of a small hole next to the root the monk/nun is clinging to. One white mouse called, “Expansion,” and one black mouse called, “Contraction.” The mice begin to chew through the root. The nun/monk sees what quick work the mice are doing on the root, looks down, and realizes, if the fall doesn’t kill me the tiger will eat me alive. 


Then, out of the corner of her/his eye, the nun/monk sees a perfectly red-ripe strawberry growing of the side of the cliff just within reach. With one hand clutching the root, the monk/nun reaches out with the other and picks the strawberry. S/he tastes its luscious loveliness, and exclaims to the world itself, “Ahh, how sweet it is!!” 

Happy practice, love to you,

P.S. As always please feel free to call the office at 213-378-0489 for answers to any questions you have about our stuff.


A Note From George (September 2017)


I hope everyone is happy and well. Mettagroup is excited to announce two new trainings for the fall of 2017: the Idealized Parent Figure Work Group, and Facilitation and Mentoring Training for our long-running intensives The Meaningful Life and Meditation Interventions for the Addiction Process. 

The Idealized Parent Figure (IPF) protocol is adapted from the Tibetan Mahamudra meditation practice by Daniel P. Brown et al, and is designed to repair attachment disturbances in adults. During the therapy, students imagine ideal relationships with ideal attachment figures replacing the actual relationship experiences with their actual attachment figures, updating their insecure attachment strategies with a secure working model of self and others. 

In delivering IPF to students, Mettagroup will develop three levels of care. Basic IPF will be included in first level curricula of The Meaningful Life (TML) and Meditation Interventions for the Addiction Process (MIAP) led by Mettagroup facilitators/mentors. As practice deepens, students will be supported psychologically by licensed psychotherapists in addition to Mettagroup facilitators/mentors. Some students may require a higher level of care than a Mettagroup facilitator and/or psychotherapist can provide, so a third level of additional support by licensed psychiatrists will be available as needed. Facilitators/mentors, psychotherapists and psychiatrists working with Mettagroup will need to have a practical understanding of the TML/MIAP curricula, including a developed meditation practice, and a working knowledge of IPF. 

At Mettagroup, we feel very strongly that the IPF protocol should be widely available to people living with attachment disturbance, so we do not wish to restrict dissemination of IPF training to people only interested in the TML/MIAP approaches. To that end, we have divided the training into two groups.

The IPF Protocol Work Group will train practitioners to use IPF, and provide ongoing support. Members will learn IPF by doing, and will be expected to both facilitate IPF for a member of the group and to receive IPF facilitation from a member of the group. Dan Brown will support the training during a two-hour video conference call every four to six weeks. Training in how to use the Adult Attachment Interview, and scoring services will be available to members. The group is open to TML/MIAP facilitators/mentors, licensed psychotherapists and psychiatrists. The group will be ongoing, and supported by member’s monthly dues. 

In addition, Mettagroup will offer an Attachment Theory and Meditation Basics course for therapists and psychiatrists who are interested in engaging this work but may not feel informed enough on the concepts and language of mindfulness meditation (and how it relates to attachment theory) to jump right into a work group. If you're interested in this course, follow this link and fill out the form to get in touch.

Mettagroup's Facilitator and Mentoring Training is a continuation and expansion of our existing mentoring training program that many of you may be familiar with. Focused on our signature intensives, The Meaningful Life and Meditation Interventions for the Addiction Process, it will have a special emphasis on teaching MIAP in treatment centers. The new format reflects the extensive expansion of these courses.

TML has been expanded to five levels of training, each in a six-month module. MIAP is offered in a 12-week, 36 class intensive outpatient format, and a six-month intensive post-acute treatment training. Students working with MIAP move to TML after stabilizing in their recovery from process and substance addictions. Meditation Mentoring training is a central part of our strategy. Students in the TML/MIAP Facilitator and Mentoring training will be supported in teaching classes, and working with mentees.  

I hope that we have peaked your interest. We are gathering names and contact information for those interested in these trainings. Please follow the links above to fill out the forms on our website and if you have questions, please feel free to call our office at 213-378-0489 to set up a time to speak with me directly.


A Note From George (August 2017)


Mettagroup is changing the way we will offer The Meaningful Life teaching, our meditation-based attachment disturbance repair. Until now, we centered the teaching on ten or nine-month classes, repeating the same level of instruction once per year. Responding to the requests of our students, we have developed five levels of training, each for a six-month period, each with a different emphasis.

Level One training (beginning August 2nd) will focus on teaching the meditation techniques used in information on Attachment Theory, attachment disturbance repair, emotional regulation, and the development of mind states associated with secure attachment and spiritual maturity. Level One training is a required prerequisite for the additional trainings.

Level Two training (beginning in March of 2018) will focus on developing the skill set of secure attachment in relationships, shifting your current relationships from the native attachment strategy you developed in your family system to earned secure dynamics. This training will incorporate meditation mentoring, the mindfulness-based strategies, adapted from Shinzen Young’s teaching, for the development of the basic mind states and emotional regulation, and group Idealized Parent Figure protocol developed by Dan Brown at Harvard. The IPF protocol is based on the Tibetan Maha Mudra practice, where you replace the model of how relationships work you developed in your actual system with a working secure model.

Level Three training will focus on doing the deep work of uprooting the original conditioning that caused the attachment disturbance using the mindfulness-based strategies, and a personalized IPF protocol based on the outcome of your Adult Attachment Interview.

Level Four training will focus on who you pick to be in relationship with, shifting who you find attractive from the native attachment strategy of your childhood conditioning to an earned secure strategy using mindfulness-based strategies for the development of intermediate and advanced level mind states, and Dan Brown’s Idealized Partner Figure protocol.

Level Five training will focus on developing interpersonal conflict resolution strategies that work in harmony using mindfulness-based strategies and Dan Brown’s Conflict Resolution Inventory.

We are very excited to expand The Meaningful Life teachings. Each level can be repeated as often as required for the insights offered to be deeply integrated. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 213-378-0489, and we will be happy to ask any of your questions. 

I hope you are happy and well, 

Characteristics of Secure Attachment


Followed by the correlating meditations that are suggested.

1. A coherent thinking process – Right View; Mindfulness
2. Thinking about thinking – Investigating Self-generated Emotion
3. Seeing the value of attachment – Right View
4. Ease with expressions of self – Investigating Self-generated Emotion; Equanimity Practice
5. Clear manifestation of self – Equanimity Practices; Heart Practices
6. Forgiveness of self and others – Forgiveness Practice
7. Compassion – Heart Practices; Equanimity Practice
8. Balance/sense of humor – Present Moment Awareness
9. Recognizing different views of same experience – Heart Practices
10. Recognizing the effects of conditioning – Right View; Mindfulness
11. Seeing clearly what happened without minimizing negative effects – Heart Practices; Mindfulness
12. Authentic – Heart Practices; Mindfulness
13. Flexible – Heart Practices; Mindfulness
14. Generous – Generosity Practice; Heart Practices