Storied relationships: a narrative inquiry into trauma, attachment, and the school experience
LE3 .A278 2022
Doctor of Philosophy
Young people with histories of trauma and attachment disruption tend to have difficulties at school academically, behaviourally, and socially. Among youth in the foster care system, such difficulties are evident in comparatively fewer graduating from high school as contrasted with other students. Much in the research literature suggests that poorer outcomes for students with trauma and attachment injuries should be unsurprising, considering the effects of complex (or developmental) trauma and attachment injury on brain development and on learning. Using a narrative inquiry methodology, I employed a semi-structured interview to explore the educational experience of three people with backgrounds of trauma and attachment injury who had been taken into care as youth. All had graduated from high school and attended post secondary studies. Each identified emotionally available attachment figures who served to enhance their feeling of security and safety and who also supported their learning and navigation through the school environment. Analysis of the narratives affirms the importance, centrality, and sufficiency of relationship as a therapeutic/supportive focus for counsellors and educators. Implications for entry to practice and counsellor education are noted.
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