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The following blog submission has been approved by the Board of the Attachment Network of Manitoba

Secure Attachment is One Path to Nonviolent Culture Shift

Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day Jan 18 2021

Susanne Walker Wilson

As a person committed to nonviolence, I often ponder the ingredients list needed for the recipe of peace. There are many, to be sure, but I’ve come to believe that secure attachment is an essential ingredient. Some humans believe at their core: I’m safe. I’m loved. I’m good enough. I’m not alone. I’m free to head out with curiosity into the world and free to come back again regularly to my Trusted Ones for nurture, comfort, or another chance to organize my feelings and reset. These are the people I want to be led by, to be friends with, and from whom I long to learn new things. How did they come to live and lead this way? Well, much of it began when they were very little. 

(If this sounds surprisingly like Circle of Security concepts, then perhaps you, too, are indebted to the founders and leaders of COS like I am. If this way of seeing attachment is unfamiliar to you, I’d encourage you to explore their website at circleofsecurityinternational.com).

Too often, though, some people and some systems (educational, medical, theological, ‘correctional’/judicial) are built on a different foundation. Shame, blame, and fear can run the show. Punitive cultures and intergenerational trauma cycles (be they in families, communities, or institutions) leave many folks in deep struggle. Violence and addiction are responses to overwhelm and to under-love. Believing we are all alone or that we have to prove our worthiness and hide or escape from our feelings take many forms. None of them help us be our best selves or thrive. 

So, parenting, caregiving, and educating our youngest members of society into secure attachment are essential acts of peacemaking. As we practice and share accessible, practical tools for co-and self-regulation across the lifespan, we are cooking up peace. We are creating the conditions for systems change. And we are living into the ongoing creation of Dr King’s Beloved Community. For more information about how some people in North Carolina, USA are sharing tools to support balanced nervous systems and the power of connection, check out resourcesforresilience.com.

Susanne Walker Wilson is a Clinical Social Worker specializing in behavioural health and social services supporting parents, caregivers and children as a therapist, parent educator, doula, early intervention specialist, paediatric behavioural health care manager, trainer and consultant. Trained in parenting education curricula, it is Circle of Security Parenting that strengthens her beliefs about attachment, preventing ACEs, interrupting intergenerational trauma, and growing well families and works to strategically to spread COSP as a resilience-focused and public health resource for community wellness.

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