Attachment-Informed Mentorship

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Abstract

Attachment theory has been widely integrated into how clinicians view personal development and enduring relationships. Through the burgeoning field of interpersonal neurobiology, this model has also been applied to adult professional, training, and family relationships. However, the medical and integrated care literature currently lacks attempts to apply attachment principles to the mentorship relationships that are created between trainees and the faculty of a training program. Through this conceptual article, the authors introduce the attachment-informed mentorship model to bridge this gap. It is based on seven guiding principles that we hope can assist mentors and mentees: (a) Mentorship is an enduring relationship focused on the professional and personal development of the mentee. (b) Lived experience leads to attachment styles. (c) The mentoring relationship evolves across training. (d) The mentor and training program provide a secure base for the mentee. (e) The mentor and program provide a safe haven for the mentee. (f) Both mentor and mentee should address ruptures in trust. (g) Other roles may conflict with the mentor role.

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