Developing a Secure Base: Applying Attachment Theory to the Advisor-Advisee Relationship Kami A. Merrifield and Allison Ewing-Cooper Overview Introduction to Attachment Theory History Key terms Attachment styles
Attachment and Advising Group Activity Attachment Theory Bowlby Ethological Attachment = Survival (evolutionary)
Children come programed to form attachments Ainsworth Measure of Attachment Strange Situation Different levels of security in attachments Key Terms Proximity-Seeking Behaviors- to keep the caregiver close
The Strange Situation laboratory technique for assessing infant attachment Safe Haven caregiver is there in threatening, uncertain times Secure Base a familiar figure from which to explore Internal Working Model- set of expectations about the availability of caregivers and worthiness of self Attachment Styles Model of Others
Model of Self Positive Negative Positive Secure Insecure Anxious-Ambivalent Negative Insecure Avoidant Insecure Disorganized Things to Consider
Multiple attachments Changes/stability over time Individual's influence Interdependence Adult attachment Attachment and Advising
Proximity-Seeking Behaviors- to keep the caregiver close Proximity-Seeking Behaviors- seek advisor out (emails, phone calls, appointments) Safe Haven caregiver is there in threatening, uncertain times Secure Base a familiar figure from which to explore
Safe Haven advisor is there in threatening, uncertain times (bad experience in class, schedule not working/classes not available, grades) Secure Base a familiar figure from which to explore (trying things on own, like enrolling in classes, and checking in to see if correct, joining a club) Internal Working Model- set of expectations about the availability of caregivers
Internal Working Model- set of expectations about the availability of university personnel (advisors, professors) Advisee Styles Perception of Others Perception of Self Positive Negative Positive Secure Insecure Anxious-Ambivalent Negative
Insecure Avoidant Insecure Disorganized Advisee-Advisor Relationship Based on teacher-child relationship literature 3 factor model: Closeness - warmth, open communication Conflict - friction, anger Dependency clinginess, over-reliance Advisor Reactions What responses do certain student behavior evoke from you? What about... Thoughtful Appreciative Anxious Hostile
Entitled...? Evocative gene-environment correlation Scenarios Get in groups of 3-4 and answer the following questions: Describe the scenario using Attachment Theory. What key terms are displayed? What style(s) are shown? How would you help this student?
What about the advisors behavior? How should advising look different for insecure vs. secure students? Scenario #1 Carly is a first-year student, majoring in Biology. You met her at Freshmen Orientation. You emailed her a follow up welcome email to the university; she didn't respond. When it was time to register for classes, Carly didn't visit you and registered for more math and science classes. She finished her first semester with a 1.5 GPA and went on academic probation. You emailed her again to let her know she's on probation. She never responded to your email. It's now the end of the spring semester and her
GPA decreased to a 1.3. You are worried about her continuing in Biology and at the University. Scenario #2 Ben is a first-year student, majoring in Political Science. You met Ben for the first time at Freshmen Orientation and you immediately bonded over your love of the Kentucky Derby. Ben emailed you three times over the summer before school started to check his schedule. He also visited you four times during the fall semester and registered for classes in your office. In the spring semester, Ben changed his major to History, but he still visits you, the Political Science advisor. Scenario #3 Delores is a third-year student, majoring in Public
Health. Delores usually meets with you once a semester, mainly to plan out courses. Sometimes, she emails with questions if she is thinking about changing up her plans. This semester, she schedules another meeting to talk about internships. She found an opportunity to study abroad in Columbia and earn internship credit and wants to bounce some ideas off you regarding her plan. Summary Advisors as secure bases Consistent
Warm Supportive Predictable Meeting students where they are Adapting to their individual needs
Scaffolding/facilitating growth Relationship building interactions Not just transactional Invest time Learn about the individual Thank You!
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