Making Connections: Healthy Attachment and Healing

By Tom Jameson, MS, NCC

Primary Therapist

The Father of Attachment Theory, John Bowlby, described attachment as the “lasting psychological connections between human beings.” The way in which humans attach to others has been proven influential in terms of how individuals relate to others, themselves, and the world.

Research has found that a person’s attachment style impacts behaviors throughout his/her life. Failure to form secure attachments early in life can have a negative impact on behavior in later childhood and throughout adulthood. Disruption in the parent-child relationship, issues related to adoption, and early trauma are all factors which can negatively impact an individual’s attachment style.

 At Pacific Quest, we work to help our students and families understand the importance of attachment and the devastating effects unhealthy attachment styles can have on individuals and family systems. Some PQ students have experienced attachment disruptions early in their lives. These situations have impacted their ability to connect with others, form a healthy self-esteem and self-concept, manage their own emotional states, and form healthy and secure relationships. At PQ, we treat attachment issues by helping students understand how past experiences with caregivers and significant others, shape coping patterns. We assist students and families in recognizing how established patterns may work to protect them initially, but later contribute to poor relational health.

Pacific Quest seeks to heal attachment wounds by working with individuals to find alternative ways to meet their unmet needs and learn how to form long lasting healthy attachment bonds. We help students and families to not only modify ineffective coping strategies, but to better understand the underlying, unmet needs that are satisfied by ineffective coping strategies. Pacific Quest aims to help our students learn alternative ways to satisfy their psychological or emotional needs. Our focus on relationships, and providing consistent, safe, and nurturing care creates a healing environment where students first learn to regulate in the garden setting, and then begin looking at ways in which they struggle with attachment issues. Pacific Quest provides a safe container where students and families begin to process and heal old wounds, and emerge with a healthier understanding of attachment issues, thus creating the opportunity for healthier attachments in relationships as they move through life’s transitions.


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