It takes a village

Advancing attachment theory and recovering the roots of human health with the Circle of Seven Essential Needs




Abraham Maslow, John Bowlby, Circle of Seven Essential Needs, hierarchy of needs, attachment theory


INTRODUCTION: Bowlby’s attachment theory (AT) remains a popular way to understand infant, child, adolescent, and even adult and family dysfunction. However, attachment theory, which has not changed significantly since its inception, is a reductive theory that ignores a wider range of human needs and has caused significant hardship and trauma. The limitations of this model, particularly when applied outside the Eurocentric and ethnocentric frames of mainstream psychology, are well known.
APPROACH: In this article, we suggest it is time to replace the reductive theory of needs that underpins AT with a comprehensive theory, one that could help us develop a less ideological, healthier, and more empirically informed approach to socialisation and social care; one that might help us answer Abraham Maslow’s eupsychian question which is how to build a society capable of actuating the full potential of all its citizens.
CONCLUSIONS: The answer is simply this: the only way to actualise full human potential is to move the locus of human health and full development away from a single female, or even a single nuclear family, to a village, a community, and a society that understands humanity’s complex constellation of needs and that is consequently and exclusively geared towards meeting those needs.

Author Biography

Mike Sosteric, Athabasca University

Mike Sosteric is an associate professor of sociology in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University


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How to Cite

Sosteric, M., & Ratkovic, G. (2022). It takes a village: Advancing attachment theory and recovering the roots of human health with the Circle of Seven Essential Needs. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(1), 113–127.



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