Glenn Goldman, MA, LPC
Experienced, affordable counseling in Portland, Oregon




Connection: We're hard-wired for it. An infant is dependent and vulnerable and will simply die without connection to a caregiver. We're born knowing how to seek that connection. Our arms reach out, our hands grasp, our eyes seek other eyes to focus on.

Not only is this connection necessary for our physical survival; it is essential for our psychological survival. Infants who have been given adequate nutrition, yet have been deprived of adequate psychological warmth and bonding with a caregiver, are subject to all manner of developmental complications.

As we mature, we become less dependent on our caregivers for survival, but we still have a need to bond with others. Without adequate social bonding, we become vulnerable to psychological distress. So much of our psychological suffering can be attributed to a sense of alienation and disconnection from others.

One of the axes of the five-axis system of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) used by mental health professionals is an assessment of the psychosocial factors contributing to a person's mental health condition. This is the profession's recognition of the importance of social support. When you reflect on your own situation, ask yourself how much of your emotional distress has to do with feeling socially isolated or unsupported. A good therapeutic relationship can be an important foundation from which to expand your sense of social support and connection.