What is Attachment?
> The capacity to form and maintain healthy emotional relationships which generally begin to develop in early childhood.
> Enduring bond with ‘special’ person
> Security & safety within context of this relationship
> Includes soothing, comfort, and pleasure
> Loss or threat of loss of special person results in distress
What is the Attachment Theory?
> John Bowlby (1907-1990) British Child Psychiatrist/Psychoanalyst
> He was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.”
> Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life.
> According to Bowlby, attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the child’s chances of survival.
> Disturbance/ Disruption of initial attachment bond between child and caregiver renders person insecure as an adult.
> The central theme of attachment theory is that caregivers who are available and responsive to their infant’s needs establish a sense of security in their children.
> The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world.
> From our childhood experiences we develop schemas that are connected with dependability of others and the worth or ‘lovable-ness’ of self.
> These schemes are easily maintained across time into adulthood as they are reinforced over and over again.
> In the literature these schemas are referred to as attachment styles.
Types of Attachment Styles
(Hazen & Shaver 1994)
> Can I count on this person to be there for me if I need them?
> Are others trustworthy and responsive?
> Am I lovable and able to elicit caring?
fearful- tend to recognize their need for others, but avoid others and frame them as untrustworthy.
Dismissing- Tend to deny their need for attachment and frame others as untrustworthy.
Tend to cling to attachment figures or aggressively demand reassurance, often fearing that they are somehow deficient or unlovable.
Tend to believe that others are reliable and see themselves as lovable and worthy of care.
***A sense of security provides better
1.better Affect regulation
> less reactivity
> less hyper arousal
> less under arousal
> more acknowledgement of support seeking
A Sense of Security Provides
2.Better information processing
> more flexibility, curiosity, openness
> tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty
> more ability to collaborate, to disclose, more assertive and empathetic
A Sense of Security Provides
4.Sense of Self (love)/ is more positive.
How This Applies to Adults
> Seeking and maintaining contact is viewed as the primary motivating principle from childhood into adult relationships
> A secure connection offers a safe haven and a secure base.(needs for connection, comfort and caring are key)
> Accessibility and Responsiveness builds bonds
> Separation Distress – a predictable process.
> Cling and Seek
> Depression and Despair
Attachment Styles are working models of self and others
> The way we see ourselves
> The way we see others
> The way we see relationships
> Predict the way we will respond
Role of Emotion
> Emotions will automatically arise when an attachment figure is perceived as inaccessible or unresponsive.
> Attachment Injuries
> An Attachment injury occurs when one partner violates the expectation that the other will offer comfort and caring in times of danger and distress.
> It is characterized by an abandonment or betrayal of trust during a critical moment of need.
> When a partner cries out for help and there is no response, the sense of basic trust that is the foundation upon which the welfare of their bond depends is shattered.
Believes and trusts that his/her/their needs will be met.
Parent: Quick, Sensitive, Constant
Child: Secure, Exploring, Happy.
Subconsciously believes that his needs probably won’t be met.
Parent: Distant, Disengaged
Child: Not very explorative, Emotional
Cannot Rely on his needs to be met.
Parent:Inconsistent, Sometime sensitive, Sometimes neglectful
Child:Anxious, Insecure, Angry
Severely confused with no strategy to have his needs met
Parent: Extreme, Frightened, Frightening, Passive
Child: Depressed, Passive, Angry, Non-responsive.
REf: OTMH, 4th Floor., attachfromscratch.com