A Place to Be: Attachment and the Experience of Home

Kolker, Joy (2008) A Place to Be: Attachment and the Experience of Home. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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Home involves ancient and enduring tradition imbued with rich complexity. This study considered the Research Problem: In what ways does relating to home with awareness contribute to healing a sense of primal separation and loss of home? The hypothesis was: When individuals creatively and mindfully interact with their personal space and belongings, they can facilitate a reparative experience to the adaptive relationship to home, repairing insecure attachment issues. This study’s Literature Review explored multidisciplinary sources on place attachment, interpersonal attachment, the psychology of home, and mythic and archetypal aspects of home. Literature from psychology revealed underdeveloped interconnection of place attachment and interpersonal attachment theories, addressing an individual’s relationship to home. Methodology for this study utilized Imaginal Inquiry, comprised of four phases, including Evoking, Expressing, Interpreting, and Integrating experience. The research design involved three individual meetings with each of seven participants in their homes. Research activities evoked their experiences of relating to home, as well as loss of home, vii expressed through journaling, artmaking, and oral response. Participants were supported in their integration of experience through artmaking, storytelling, and reflection. This study’s Cumulative Learning was: The relationship to home involves the attachment features of proximity maintenance, separation distress, safe haven, and secure base. Four learnings emerged. First, individual attachment organization, developed in the family of origin and later recreated in social relationships, is reflected in the relationship to home. Second, an adaptive relationship to home, arising from early insecure attachment organization, manifests in an obsessive desire for continual home improvements, recurring relocation, or acquiring additional homes, signifying the soul’s yearning for a secure base. Third, primal separation and loss of home is a traumatic attachment injury that, in the absence of ritual, can evoke primitive psychological defenses to manage intense affect. Fourth, after experiencing reactivation of primal separation and loss of home, responses ranged from fixed, frozen, and uncreative ones, reflecting a loss of imagination, to a fluid ability to ritualize and take creative action. The study’s reflections focused on the archetypal themes and psychological patterns of Hestia, ancient Greek goddess of hearth and home, as well as implications for various constituencies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Joy Kolker
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 18:57
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2017 18:57
URI: http://scholarship.meridianuniversity.edu/id/eprint/133

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