Thinking about attachment

What is attachment?

Attachment is the interaction or bond that forms between carer and infant. The type or style of attachment may differ from one person to another. Attachment forms a blueprint for future relationships that informs emotional and cognitive development. Childhood trauma or neglect can lead to the development of insecure attachments.

Attachment styles

  • Secure attachment: results from typical development and what is described as ‘good enough’ parenting
  • Insecure attachment:

# Anxious avoidant – may develop if parents are emotionally unavailable for the infant/child. An insensitivity to the needs of the infant resulting in rejection, separation, or unresolved loss.

# Anxious ambivalent – infants needs are met,but this is on the adult’s terms, not the child’s. For example, dinner is served but when the adult is hungry, not the child.

# Disorganised attachment – all behaviour is an extreme with no pattern. A secure base is not available for whatever reason so attachment behaviour failed to achieve its goal. As a result, the child does not develop patterns of how the world (including people, themselves, emotions) work – who or what is ‘safe’.


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