Sunday, April 1

Attachment Theory Intervention

“The present moment can be held hostage by either the past or the future.”
-Daniel Stern

Attachment is the strong emotional bond that develops between infant and caregiver, providing the infant with emotional security. By the second half of the first year, infants have become attached to familiar people who have responded to their need for physical care and stimulation.
I'd be attached too...
Four different attachment styles have been identified in children:
1) Secure:  They are worthy of attention.  Someone will consistently respond to their needs.  The believe people are trustworthy.  They do have power to affect their environment.  They are safe enough in the world that they can take the risks needed to explore and learn.

2) Anxious-ambivalent:  Infants show little interest in exploring their environment.  They become highly distressed when left alone or when in the presence of an unfamiliar adult and cannot be easily comforted by their mothers. Infants classified as ambivalent seem fearful about exploring on their own.  These infants show a high level of agitation and become very tearful when separated from their caregiver. When a mother returns, ambivalent infants require contact with their mother, but also arch away appearing to be angry, and resist efforts at being soothed.  Cling, withdraw in unfamiliar environment.  Often suffer from Separation anxiety.  Reject efforts to comfort or sooth.

3) Anxious-avoidant:  Pseudo independence and self-sufficiency.  Rejects or avoids comforting.  They’re unaffected by close, intimate contact.  Avoidant infants seemed to be independent.  These infants would explore the new environment without seeming to rely on their mothers as a base, and they do not engage in repeated checking on their mother’s presence like the infants labeled secure.

4) Disorganized:  Most serious form of attachment.  No consistent strategy for comfort-seeking.  Depression, motor-freezing, and disassociation are common.  These children are typically later found to be in abusive or traumatizing mother-infant relationship that caused a mixture of fearful and uncertain reactions that appeared disorganized and inconsistent. 

It is a biological necessity for human beings to have a secure attachment relationship. 

The development of the brain and emotional regulation capacities depends on this attachment.

Emotions influence what we see and how we see it. They motivate of inhibit behaviour. Emotions influence such things as attention, perceptions, appraisal, reactions, defenses, relationships and communications.  Emotions refer to the way our bodies, brains and minds react when aroused by meaningful events.  Emotions are rooted as much in the body as they are in the mind.  They are a guide to action: to approach or to avoid.  They are triggered whenever important things happen to us.
They influence what we see and how we see it.

Children who begin to recognize how emotions affect their own and other people’s behaviour quickly get the hang of social life and how it works. They become socially competent. They are at low risk of developing behavioural and mental health problems.

In contrast, children who suffer abuse and neglect are at serious risk of not being able to understand their own or other people’s emotional make-up. They are poor at managing their arousal. As a result, they don’t deal competently with social relationships. If and when they do have children, their parenting is likely to be anxious, uncertain and distressed.

Secure attachment during adolescence is related to fewer mental health problems, including lower levels of depression, anxiety and feelings of personal inadequacy.   Securely attached adolescents are less likely to engage in substance abuse, antisocial and aggressive behaviour, and risky sexual activity.  Securely attached adolescents also manage the transition to high school more successfully, and enjoy more positive relationships with family and peers. They demonstrate less concern about loneliness and social rejection than do insecurely attached adolescents, and they display more adaptive coping strategies.
Adolescents benefit from parental support that encourages autonomy development yet ensures continued monitoring and emotional connectedness. Specific parenting skills that promote attachment security and autonomy development include psychological availability, warmth, active listening, behaviour monitoring, limit setting, acceptance of individuality, and negotiation of rules and responsibilities.
What happens when attachment doesn't.

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Lauren Kent

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