Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Depression, Mental-Etiology, Attachment behavior, Phenomenology, Phenomenological psychology, Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961, Depression, Attachment theory


This theoretical study explores how attachment theory and Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception could enrich our understanding of the phenomenon of depression. The study was undertaken as an effort towards clarification of how the psychodynamic training that I received could be more strength based and less pathologizing in my future work with those who suffer from chronic forms of depression. Each separate theory, attachment theory and phenomenology, focuses on the impact of relationships. Whereas, attachment theory primarily focuses on the early primary relationships with attachment figures, phenomenology explores the impact of all relationships in the person's environment. Who we are and the way we exist in this world is related to and dependent on the relationships we form with the people around us. We perceive ourselves and learn about ourselves through our embodiment, through our being-in-the world. This thesis examined areas of complementarity between the two theories, specifically the use of conscious and conscious, secure and insecure attachments and sedimentation, and the nature of relationships. The synergy of attachment theory and phenomenology helps clinicians bridge Cartesian dualism between body and mind. It also recognizes the importance of looking at the person in treatment as a whole, as a "lived body," and pre-Cartesian dualistic body.




94 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 90-94)