Attachment is crucial in the development of the human

The late John Bowlby, one time Director of the children’s department at the Tavistock Clinic, was one of the first to look at fear of abandonment in detail. He proposed the theory of attachment, already briefly mentioned, as a fundamental part of child development. It is underlies fear and all the issues outlined in Appendix 1, so in reality this book is about attachment. Bowlby also examined the mother’s emotional mind-set towards the child, which he saw as determining the long term emotional relationship or bond between mother (or substitute mother) and child. Mistakenly, he did not place the same emphasis on the father as a nurturer. Bowlby’s theory is one of the most significant contributions to the understanding of human development and was tested and expanded by Mary Ainsworth, who worked with him for some time in the Tavistock Clinic.
Mark Grant, author of Pain Control with EMDR (EMDR is explained in more detail in the last chapter of this book) shows that it is now recognised that the attachment system is a central organizing system in the brain by which infants use their parents for regulating their inner states, until their own psychoneurobiology develops. Initially, the attachment process is confined to non-verbal communication and gestures, when the child begins to mimic the primary caregiver and pays particular attention to her facial expressions. Soon the child will be able to see the difference between a smile and a scowl. The smile bodes well for a secure attachment, but frequent scowling may indicate the opposite. Unfortunately, not every parent is able to create the proper emotional environment to enable the child to acquire a healthy emotional life, and from Bowlby’s studies on both humans and primates, came the concept of secure and insecure attachment. Allan Schore explores attachment in his studies on the brain.
Bowlby’s theories were later developed and refined by the research of other psychologists, which is currently well documented. A broad understanding of these studies will help you to recognise the essence of good parenting in the developmental area, and thus to prevent the formation of core fear, and its accompanying distressing conditions, in your children. I have seen parents change due to counselling challenge with gratifying beneficial results for their children. Sometimes this can be only a matter of awareness to bring about a change of behaviour.

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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