Geoff MacDonald, PhD
Professor of Psychology
I want to understand why we relate to each other the way we do - what is the space between us, and what draws us to risk narrowing that space? My perspective begins with the premise that belonging is a deep and ancient need, instilled through millions of years of natural selection. Early in life we learn whether it is safe and rewarding to make ourselves vulnerable to our caregivers, and we carry those lessons into our adult relationships. For people who were treated badly, carrying feelings of worthlessness and distrust into relationships can make it difficult to satisfy that need for connection. How do those patterns of insecurity manifest in romantic and sexual relationships? What can be done to heal emotional wounds that were inflicted so early and feel so natural that you may not recognize they are there? These are the questions that occupy me in my work.