Session Two Presentation: Attachment Theory


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  • (ref Theresa O’Neill - Bristol University, RP, & Bomber 2007)
    Secure: Not preoccupied with basic survival needs. View others (eg teachers) as potential supporters. Able to settle to learn. Self esteem contributes to resilience - increases likelihood of making subsequent rewarding relationships.
    Avoidant: actively seeks to meet their needs on their own (had to in their infancy). Shut down – can even blank out or dissociate. Hard to connect with emotionally. Sometimes staff feel they have to really concentrate on being tuned into this child – easy to become distracted with other thoughts… Easy to manage in class but we need to be aware of high levels of anxiety (“Don’t get too close; you’ll hurt me!”). Achievements valued more than intimacy –> very task-oriented.
    Ambivalent: child becomes so tuned into a significant adult that they are continually on edge, attempting to get needs met by constantly working out how the other is feeling/what doing. (Adaptation to inconsistent caregiver.) Helplessness as way of keeping you connected. Exhausting for teacher. Little energy for learning. Quick to blame, resentful – early exps of adults not responding to needs.
    Disorganised: Fear, panic, helplessness. Erratic responses, bizarre or distressingly extreme behaviours. Out of the blue. Shock element: risk/safety issues – severe neglect, abuse. Hyper vigilance – little energy left for learning. Anxiety heightened and threatens sense of self – behaviours do not reduce anxiety (as can be the case in other styles).
  • Session Two Presentation: Attachment Theory

    1. 1. TT7860 – BAL30 Session 2: Attachment Theory
    2. 2. Session Aims In this session we will work to: •outline the key aspects of attachment theory •recognise the significance of attachment in children’s development •consider the implications for our role in supporting children •consider the implications for children’s learning
    3. 3. “Attachment is a bond which ties … the mother and baby together. It emerges out of evolution. It developed in order to protect us from predators, it is central to our survival and what we are beginning to realise now is that it’s also central to our well- being.” (Svanberg, 2005). Clip to View: Reactive Attachment Disorder What is attachment?
    4. 4. “What is believed to be essential for mental health is that an infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother-substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment.” (Bowlby,1953). Clip to View: John Bowlby: The Father of Attachment Theory
    5. 5. • Historical context – post WWII (women wanted back in the home) • Research context – ‘looked after’ teenagers (deprived backgrounds and orphans) • Maternal Deprivation Theory led to revised policies in care of children in homes and hospitals. • Implications for day care and the role of the mother in developing the child • Idea of ‘monotropism’ where mother is viewed as the sole attachment figure The Context of Attachment Theory
    6. 6. J. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory • Attachment is crucial for children's’ psychological welfare. • Infants have built-in propensity to form strong emotional bonds. • Need warm, intimate and continuous relationship with mother or substitute. • Believed attachment forms basis of personality development and socialisation (evolutionary/biological significance). • Caregiver plays role in infant’s emotional regulation. • ‘Maternal Deprivation Theory’
    7. 7. Emotional Development and Attachment
    8. 8. • Development of the affective system = infant/caregiver regulation (contingent attunement) • Important for social relationships (temperament probably plays role) • Attachment responses are social-learning processes. • First signs of attachment to specific caregiver take 6 months or so, but process begins at birth. Clip to View: Still Face Experiment Process of Attachment
    9. 9. From birth – 2 months: indiscriminating social responsiveness but general preference for main caregiver; built-in responses (or signals) designed to draw caregiver near and keep her near (e.g. crying); some believe maternal bonding must occur (conflicting evidence for sensitive period). From 2 – 7 months: discriminating social responsiveness – more directed social responses to caregiver and other familiar people (e.g. smiling); interactional patterns between child and caregiver for communication and development of relationship; child develops cognitive representation = working model of caregiver based on how reliable and trustworthy s/he is seen to be; caregiver also acts as social referencing person i.e. guidance on how to feel etc. Process of Attachment Continued
    10. 10. From 8 – 24 months: focused attachment = strong development of attachment bond; attachment related to emotional and cognitive development e.g. recognition of what is strange and familiar plus fear; separation protest, awareness of strangers; also related to physical development as child explores treating caregiver as secure base; development of self-regulation of feelings via mobility (ventures forth when feeling secure, retreats for comfort when feel threatened etc.). “Children who were judged secure with mother in infancy are found to be more co-operative, more empathetic, more socially competent, more invested in learning and exploration, and more self-confident than children who were judged insecure with mother in infancy” (Association for Infant Mental Health 2003). Process of Attachment Continued
    11. 11. • Can have attachment to more than one attachment figure, including fathers • Caregiver sensitivity is greatest predictor of secure attachments • Emotional regulation • Mind-mindedness – caregiver/child synchronicity • Nature of attachment type is predictor of emotional responses e.g. secure child more likely to be expressive and mindful of others’ emotions; insecure child tends to be less emotionally astute or sensitive • Nature of attachment has implications for later social behaviour • Early insecure attachments may have links with later psychopathology Revisions/Additions of Attachment Theory
    12. 12. • Possible critical periods for mother/child interactions, but can have secure relationships formed in later life. Plus interventions have led to more secure attachment (i.e. severe deprivation can be ameliorated). • Lifespan dimension of attachment recognised • Influence of family systems acknowledged (sibling order, gender) and sibling attachment • Multiple attachments can occur (but multiple caregivers can cause problems) – what is the difference? • Cultural context affects attachment processes and social bonding depends on particular environment Revisions/Additions of Attachment Theory Continued
    13. 13. • Nature of attachment is internalised via mental representations of close relationships, self-worth etc. • “The mind’s almost exclusive function is to reduce threat and create safety” (Hughes, 2006). • Mental models that mediate, in part, the ability of an infant to use the caregiver as a buffer against the stresses of life, as well as the later development of important self-regulatory and social skills. • A child’s view of himself is influenced by how his mother sees him and that “whatever she fails to recognise in him he is likely to fail to recognise in himself” (Bowlby, 1988). Internal Working Model Theory
    14. 14. • Gerhardt describes the internal working model as “inscribed in the brain outside conscious awareness” (Gerhardt, 2004). • Bowlby said it is “built in the mind during childhood” (Bowlby, 1988). • A child that does not experience a sense of security from their caregiver is likely to have difficulty in forming relationships and in showing empathy as these are “capacities that are internalised through experiencing them first hand” (Gerhardt, 2004). • Gerhardt suggests that it is not possible for a child to be aware of their own feelings if someone hasn’t done it for them (Gerhardt, 2004). Internal Working Model
    15. 15. • If a child is not able to rely on an adult to respond to their needs in times of stress they are unable to learn how to soothe themselves, manage their emotions and engage in reciprocal relationships. • “Dependence on others for protection provides the skills to help a child cope with frustrations, develop self- confidence and form the ability to relate to others - qualities necessary to promote positive engagement with learning” (Geddes, 2006: p127). • Through attunement with his caregiver “the infant learns that feelings can be recognised, given meaning by being understood and named” (Geddes, 2006: p41) • Attunement is beginning the “process of self-awareness and thus the capacity to empathise” (Bomber, 2008). Creating the IWM - Attunement
    16. 16. • Developed primarily in the orbital medial pre-frontal cortex • Secure attachments develop mental process enabling child to balance emotions, reduce fear, attune to others, have self-understanding and insight, empathy for others and well-developed moral reasoning Attachment Schemas
    17. 17. • By experiencing attunement a child feels safe enough to explore and understand their own feelings and, in turn, begins to feel empathy for others. • Making sense of our feelings helps us to build resilience and self-esteem. • IWM contains expectations and beliefs about self, self-worth, and emotional availability of others • Also contains behavioural strategies • Become self-fulfilling and self-confirming • Carried through to adulthood (intergenerational transmission), but open to modification IWM and Behaviour
    18. 18. • “Integrative communication between caregiver and child stimulates the activation and growth of integrative fibers in the brain. Integrative fibers in the brain are those that enable the coordination and balance of the nervous system at the heart of self-regulation. In other words, interpersonal integration cultivates neural integration” (Siegel, 2012). • Can create ‘synaptic shadows’ = strategies of survival Attachment and the Brain
    19. 19. Memories of day to day interactions Accumulating schemas or event scripts Guiding actions based upon previous interactions Expectations & affective experience associated with interactions Internal Working Model
    20. 20. Safe Haven Secure Base Relative Dependency Independence
    21. 21. Most fit into 3 categories: •A = insecure-avoidant •B = securely attached; •C = insecure-resistant •Further research found additional type •D = insecure-disorganised (e.g. bizarre responses such as freezing, unusual expressions, apprehensive, confused) Clip to View Insecure Attachments Attachment Types
    22. 22. • Secure – I’m ok, you’re there for me. • Avoidant – It’s not ok to be emotional. • Ambivalent – I want comfort. but it doesn’t help me. • Disorganised – I’m frightened. • Patterns of attachment are essentially self- protective strategies and develop dynamically - emphasizing the dynamic interaction of the maturation of the human with the environmental context across the life-span • Diagnosis – Strange Situation Clip to View: Strange Situation Experiment Attachment Styles
    23. 23. a) Caregiver’s Responsiveness: •Sensitivity to child’s needs and signals (e.g. more responsive to signals) •Demonstrations of affection •‘Interactional synchrony’ - caregivers’ actions mesh with baby, turn-taking etc. •Synchrony associated with securely attached •Studies show life events can create change in category (e.g. loss of partner etc.) Factors that Help Determine Nature of Attachment
    24. 24. b) Baby’s Temperament: • Conflicting results from research but does seem temperament affects interactions and responses in the dyad • ‘Goodness-of-fit’ between child’s temperament and social/physical environment • Same type of caregiving received differently and vice-versa etc. c) Cultural and Environmental Contexts: • No attachment relationship exists in isolation, cultural and environmental variants etc. Factors that Help Determine Nature of Attachment Continued
    25. 25. • Children of ‘over stimulating’ caregivers (e.g. physical abuse) tend to develop an insecure-avoidant pattern of attachment. • Children of ’under stimulating’ caregivers (e.g. withdrawal/neglect) tend to develop an insecure-resistant pattern of attachment. • Maltreated children tend to develop an insecure-disorganised pattern of attachment (often at risk of developing anti-social behaviour). Caregiver Sensitivity
    26. 26. • Way of ‘measuring’ internal working model or state of mind regarding attachment • Descriptions of recollections of childhood attachment-related experiences leads to classification of mothers into: i) Dismissive (little recall and assign little significance to experiences) ii) Preoccupied/enmeshed (emotional recall with some continued dependency on parents) iii) Unresolved (may display characteristics of all three but unresolved attachment-related trauma evident in some form) iv) Autonomous (good recall with balanced perspective even if negative) Adult Attachment Interview
    27. 27. • Some success in correlating attachment types with adult versions • e.g. secure become autonomous, avoidant become dismissive, resistant become enmeshed etc. • Also adult attachment types with offspring attachment types • e.g. autonomous adults have secure infants, unresolved adults have disorganized infants etc. • But potential to reverse situation via ‘reflective self-function’ (i.e. changing internal working model) Impact on Future Relationships
    28. 28. Securely attached infants are likely to: Be better problem-solvers Be more curious Increase quality and duration of play *Cognitive competence at 4 can be judged by responsiveness of mother at 3 months. Impact on Cognitive Competence
    29. 29. Securely attached infants more likely to: Be cooperative Be self-regulative Develop emotional and behavioural problems Be more socially empathetic Be more self-aware (i.e. self-knowledge) Be less biased in interpreting behaviour of others Impact on Social Competence
    30. 30. • Learning is an emotional experience • To be able to engage in learning a pupil needs to be able to take risks to learn new things and face new challenges. • A good learner needs to be able to manage frustration and anxiety, have good self-esteem, be willing to take risks and be able to ask for help when needed. • “As confidence in the secure base becomes an internalised process, then exploration and experience in the wider world is possible” (Geddes, 2006). • Having a secure base provides the reassurance to enable a pupil with attachment difficulties to explore their environment and gives them the confidence and resilience to engage in learning. Impact on Learning Behaviour
    31. 31. Why attachment matters – foundations of learning • Roots of attachment related to primary caregiver but full expression of attachment potential requires social and emotional interactions with others • Practitioners provide different and complementing social and emotional opportunities that help child's attachment capabilities mature • Research shows positive associations found between quality of practitioner-child relationships and achievement • Also, high quality practitioner-child relationships buffered children from the negative effects of insecure or other maternal attachment on achievement • Secure attachment relationships correlate strongly with higher academic attainment, better self-regulation and social competence • Priority of attachment system over exploratory system – feeling safe and secure is more important than playing/learning • In order to be capable of forming wide array of healthy relationships throughout life, a young child's attachment capacities must mature
    32. 32. Securely attached child Pupil TaskTeacher Triangle of Learning (Geddes, 2006)
    33. 33. Insecure-avoidant attached child Pupil TaskTeacher Triangle of Learning (Geddes, 2006)
    34. 34. Insecure-ambivalent attached child Pupil TaskTeacher Triangle of Learning (Geddes, 2006)
    35. 35. Disorganised attached child Pupil TaskTeacher Triangle of Learning (Geddes, 2006)
    36. 36. • It is estimated that at least one third of children have an insecure attachment with at least one caregiver (Bergin and Bergin, 2009). • Around 20% of people experience a potentially traumatic event in any given year (Joseph, 2011). • It is estimated that as many as 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD have attachment issues (Clarke et al, 2002 and Moss and St-Laurent, 2001). • One Scottish study found 98% of children have experienced one or more trauma event – for one in four this trauma can result in behavioural and/or emotional disturbance (Clackmannanshire Survey). What this means: • Mirror systems employed to defend vs. cooperate. • Attachment schemas are used as battle plans vs. ways of connecting. • Regulatory systems become biased/primed towards arousal and fear vs. relaxed (dysregulation). • Reward systems seek alternatives (e.g. drugs) vs. contact with loved ones (Conzolino, 2006). Children with Unmet Attachment Needs
    37. 37. • “Self-esteem is not just thinking well of oneself in the abstract; it is a capacity to respond to life’s challenges” (Gerhardt, 2004). • Children with attachment difficulties “have such low self-esteem that they do not value themselves or anyone else” (Dann, 2011). • Therefore, children with attachment disorders are less resilient (although may be able to ‘function’ and exhibit ‘false independence’). Attachment and Resilience
    38. 38. • Believe they are lovable and good • Have experiences of competence and mastery in their lives • Believe they can change, ameliorate, or at the very least cope with, the difficulties in their lives • Can realistically appraise their capacities and skills • Have at least some strategies and skills for dealing with problems in their lives • Are optimistic about their future Resilient Children:
    39. 39. • Ainsworth,M.S.(1979) ‘Infant-mother attachment’ American Psychologist , 34, 932-7 • Balbernie, R (2001) ‘Circuits and circumstances: the neurobiological consequences of early relationship experiences and how they shape later behaviour’, Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 27.3, 237-255 • Bowlby,J. (1988) A Secure Base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books • Dann, R (2011) ‘Look out! ‘Looked after’! Look here! Supporting ‘looked after’ and adopted children in the primary classroom.’ Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education 39:5 ,455-465 • Geddes, H (2006) ‘Attachment in the Classroom – the links between children’s early experience, emotional well-being and performance in school. London: Worth Publishing • Gerhardt,S.(2004) Why Love Matters; how affection shapes a baby’s brain. London: Routledge • Grotberg (1995) The International Resilience Project, Civitan International Research Center, UAB - • Hughes, D (2004) ‘An attachment-based treatment of maltreated children and young people’. Attachment & Human Development 6.3, 263-278 • Oates,J., Lewis,C. and Lamb,M.E. (2005) ‘Parenting and attachment’ in Ding,S. and Littleton,K. (eds) Children’s Personal and Social Development. Oxford: Blackwell • Piaget,J. (1955) The Child’s Construction of Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul • Schore,A. (2003) Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self. New York: Norton • Teicher,M.H. (2002) Scars that won’t heal: the neurobiology of child abuse. Scientific American, March 54-61. • Wang et al (1998) Building educational resilience, Fastback, 430. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, Bloomington • Werner et al (2000), Protective Factors and Individual Resilience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge References
    40. 40. •Bomber, L. (2007) Inside I’m Hurting; Practical Strategies for Supporting Children with Attachment Difficulties in Schools. London: Worth. •Bomber, L (2011) What about me? Inclusive strategies to support pupils with attachment difficulties make it through the school day. London: Worth. •Bowlby, J. (1988) A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. London: Routledge. •Cozolino, L. (2006) The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment And the Developing Social Brain. London: Norton & Co. •Conzolino, L. (2013) The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing attachment and learning in the classroom. London: Norton & Co. •Ellis, S. and Tod, J. (2009) Behaviour for Learning: Proactive approaches to behaviour management. Abingdon: Routledge. •Geddes, H. (2006) Attachment in the Classroom. The links between children’s early emotional well-being and performance in school. London: Worth. •Gerhardt, S. (2004) Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain. Hove: Brunner-Routledge. •Golding, K. Fain, J. Frost, A. & Templeton, S. (2013) Observing Children with Attachment Difficulties in Preschool Settings. London: Jessica Kingsley. •Gottman, J. with DeClaire, J. (1997) Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting. New York: Simon and Schuster. •Joseph, S. (2011) What Doesn't Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth. London: Basic Books. •Porges, S. (2011) The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication and self-regulation. New York: Norton. •Rose, J. and Rogers, S. (2012) The Role of the Adult in Early Years Settings. Milton Keynes: OPUP. •Riley, P. (2010) Attachment Theory and Teacher Student relationships. London: Routledge •Siegel, D. (2012) The Developing Mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York: Guildford Press. •Sunderland, M. (2008) What Every Parent Needs to Know. London: Dorling Kindersley. Book References
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