'Secure Attachment' and 'Enmeshment' May Be Socially Determined in Their Definitions and Applications in Child and Youth Mental Health Care Systems

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McNichols, Chipo
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Attachment theory has been used as a basis for planning intervention and understanding human behaviour in relationships since it was first introduced by John Bowlby. One of the principles of the theory, "secure attachment" has been identified as being significant for the achievement of positive relationships from infancy and childhood right through to adulthood. As an opposing construct, the family systems theory of "enmeshment? has been identified as a maladaptive form of relating. This study examines whether the two concepts are defined based on a North American socially constructed ideal and explores the diverse meanings attributed to the concepts across different cultures and in different contexts. It also explores what implications this has for clinical practice in child and youth mental health care settings.
attachment theory , family systems , youth counseling