The Power of Relationships to Harm and to Heal: An Attachment-Informed Perspective

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Narain, Shavinesh
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The subject of human relationships is vast and expansive. This capstone will focus on the importance of attachment styles, as proposed by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, on the psychological development and social relationships of the individual. I will be exploring the various ways in which relationships have the power to harm and also the power to heal. I will begin with a brief overview of my own experiences in relationships and my resulting perspective on the subject; followed by a thorough exploration of the attachment-based theoretical perspective which may explain how psychological and social development occurs via relationships. I will conclude this work by presenting how the power of attachment styles can be harnessed in psychotherapeutic work to effectuate psychological and relational well-being for our clients. My hope is to make some implicit understandings of relationships more explicit and incorporate it in therapeutic practice so that along with all the other therapeutic stances we take as therapists such as being client-centered, trauma-informed, and harm-reducing, we can include the practice of being attachment-informed to augment our work as therapists.
relationships , attachment theory , attachment styles , secure attachment , insecure-anxious , insecure-avoidant , disorganized attachment , John Bowlby , Mary Ainsworth