The maturation of relatedness
Differences in capacities for relatedness interest us in planning psychotherapy because, no matter what our interventions, they are presented and responded to within the context of relationship. Relationship is a primary nutrient for healing and growth. A healthy relational network is a robust correlate with longevity and physical and mental health (Seligman, 2011; Yapko, 2009); it provides buffers to new environmental stress (Wickramasekera, 1988, 1993) and increases the chances of recovering from prior environmental assaults (Green et al., 1985). Our patient may struggle and suffer in severe ways, but if he is capable of forming a solid connection with us, then much can be overcome and possibly repaired. We want to understand the strengths and vulnerable places in the maturation of our patient’s ability to connect so that we can build on his strengths to help him heal and grow.