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Attachment and Separation.

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In the absence of human ties, those mental qualities that we call human will fail to develop or will be grafted upon a personality that cannot nourish them, so that at best they will be imitations of virtues, personality facades."2 2Selma Fraiberg, The Magic Years (New York: Charles Scribner & Sons, 1959), p. 300. The term "attachment" was coined in the 1960s by British psychiatrist John Bowlby Bowlby and Ainsworth were struck by the depth of the children's attachment and their despair upon separation. The process of developing healthy attachments can be disrupted by... Abuse, neglect, abandonment, multiple changes in caregivers, foster care, adoption, painful illness, exposure to alcohol/drugs in utero, maternal depression, inconsistent day care. No variables have more far-reaching effects on personality development than a child's experiences within the family. Starting during his first months in his relation to both parents, he builds up working models of how attachment figures are likely to behave towards him in any of a variety of situations, and on all those models are based all his expectations, and therefore all his plans, for the rest of his life. Attachment and Loss (1973, p.369) The activation of attachment behaviours depends on the infant's evaluation of a range of environmental signals which results in the subjective experience of security or insecurity. The experience of security is the goal of the attachment system, which is thus first and foremost a regulator of emotional experience (Sroufe, 1996). In this sense it lies at the heart of many forms of mental disorder and the entire psychotherapeutic enterprise. Secure explore readily in the presence of the primary caregiver, are anxious in the presence of the stranger and avoid her, are distressed by their caregivers' brief absence, rapidly seek contact with the caregiver afterwards, and are reassured by this. The infant returns to exploration. Some infants, who appear to be made less anxious by separation, may not seek proximity with the caregiver following separation, and may not prefer the caregiver over the stranger; these infants are designated 'Anxious/Avoidant'. ...read more.


This can interfere with his sense of trust in others and himself. By spending time and talking with the child, a new, trusting relationship can be built between the worker and child during preparation. This, in turn, can lead to other healthy relationships. 7. Encourage information about the past. A child's identity is partly a result of having a past that is continuous. To achieve this continuity, various techniques, such as the Life Book, are valuable. Social, cultural, and developmental information needs to be included in the book and made available to the child. 8. Understand your own feelings. It is difficult to share the pain of separation and to be the one who helps the child face reality--such as the fact that he may never see his biological or foster parents again. Often, the worker would prefer to avoid the pain and angry feelings. However, if these feelings are not dealt with now, they will recur and may jeopardize placement. Source Fahlberg, V., Jewett, C., with contributions by Buress, C., and Lopez, C., in Morton, Thomas, ed. Adoption of children with special needs. Athens, GA: Office of Continuing Education, University of Georgia (developed under contract with the U.S. Children's Bureau), 1982, pp. 9-11. (c) 1997 Jordan Institute for Families CONTROVERSIAL ASPECTS OF BOWLBY'S ATTACHMENT THEORY by Juan Carlos Garelli BOWLBY'S INITIAL SCIENTIFIC STANCE Bowlby's first attempts focused on countering psychoanalysis psychologism and replacing it by a more common-sense, everyday experiences both children and their parents undergo, and which may be labelled "environmentalism", which enable him to make a strong point against psychoanalysis' subjectivism, fantasies, inner representational world, and the like, since the hypotheses he advanced were in keeping with empirical data, whereas, psychoanalytic introspective speculation was not liable to contrastability, and so it simply rendered it unscientific. Let's recall the three fundamental papers that, to my mind, make a tremendous dent in psychoanalysis' structure: Bowlby's first formal statement of Attachment Theory, drawing heavily on ethological concepts, was presented in London in three now classic papers read to the British Psychoanalytic Society. ...read more.


a way of describing... ideas traditionally described in such terms as "introjection of an object (good or bad) and "self-image". So you see, what difference is there between these formulations and current psychoanalytic thinking? None. Now this amounts to a very serious contradiction to a man who had fought Freud's contention that neuroses are the result of a misdeveloped component instincts which led to fantasies that made the patient ill, and for so doing had presented evidence that environmental reality, and not inner representations, were far more important -as a matter of fact the only relevant aspect to be taken into account- to a person's mental health. So there isn't one Bowlby and one Theory of Attachment: there are at least two quite wide apart. One which unmistakably states mental health depends entirely on the relationships the individual keeps with his attachment figures so as to make him say that "the psychology and psychopathology of emotional life is the psychology and psychopathology of affectional bonds". This we can call the "young Bowlby", or the "uncontaminated Bowlby". The other Bowlby which begins to appear in the seventies, two decades later, has little difference with a common psychoanalyst, and thus gives way to all that fake literature on attachment produced by American attachment theorists. For instance, just to underscore my previous assertion with a quotation from Bowlby's Attachment II: Separation, p. 239. He writes: "In terms of the present theory much of the work of treating an emotionally disturbed person can be regarded as consisting, first, of detecting the existence of influential models of which the patient may be partially or completely unaware of, and second, of inviting the patient to examine the models disclosed and to consider whether they continue to be valid..." What difference is extant between these naive words and those of making conscious the unconscious and contrasting both? None. The decadence we now observe pervades all of US university system and academic life devoted to attachment is not even their own invention, they just followed this gattopardism Bowlby himself had elaborated, consciously or unconsciously. ...read more.

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