Attachment Theory Powerpoint-Sotelo

Presentation Content
• Attachment Theory Overview
• Major Theorists
– Brief Biography
– Contribution to Attachment Theory
Attachment Theory Overview
Freud’s Influence:
“So long as we trace the development from its final
outcome backwards, the chain of events appears
continuous, and we feel we have gained an
insight which is completely satisfactory or even
exhaustive. But if we proceed in the reverse way,
if we start from the premises inferred from the
analysis and try to follow these up to the final
results, then we no longer get the impression of
an inevitable sequence of events which could not
have otherwise been determined.”
Attachment Theory Overview
Attachment Definitions:
Kail and Cavanaugh (2010): Infant behavior that elicits cargiving
from adults (pg.175).
Bolwby (1973): Any form of behavior that results in a person
attaining or retaining proximity to some other differentiated or
preferred individual, usually conceived as stronger and/or wiser.
Ainsworth (1969): "Attachment" refers to an affectional tie that
one person (or animal) forms to another specific individual.
Attachment is thus discriminating and specific.
– What do we mean by attachment? I lean to a definition
which equates love and attachment.
Attachment Theory Overview
Attachment Definitions cont.
Mahler,Pine, Bergman (1975): Separation and Individuation is
the process by which an infant moves from symbiosis with the
mother to awareness of separateness from the mother and
formation of a relationship with her as a differentiated other.
Siegel (1999): An in born system in the brain that evolves in ways
that influences and organize motivational, emotional, and
memory processes with respect to significant caregiving
figures (pg.67).
Major Attachment Theorists
– John Bowlby
– Mary Ainsworth
– Mary Main
– Margaret Mahler
Major Theorists: Bowlby
• John Bowlby 1907-1990
– British Child Psychiatrist
– Childhood Attachment
• Mother is said to have only attended to him for one
hour per day to prevent him from being spoiled.
• Nanny attended to him more consistently, but she
moved on when he was age four.
– He later described this as a “tragic loss of a mother”
• He was placed in boarding school at age seven
– Performed volunteer work with maladjusted
children in his early career
Major Theorists: Bowlby
Three Propositions of Attachment Theory
1. When an individual is confident that an attachment
figure will be available whenever desired, they will be
much less prone to intense or chronic fear than one
that does not have this confidence.
2. Confidence in caregiver availability (or lack of) is built
up slowly during the years of infancy, childhood, and
adolescence. The expectations developed in these
years tend to persist throughout life.
3. The expectations of availability and responsiveness of
attachment figures that individuals develop during
the years of immaturity are fairly accurate
representations of the experiences those individuals
have had.
Major Theorists: Bowlby
• All children “attach”
– Securely
– Insecurely
• Attachment relationships constitute the basis
upon which offspring are most likely to survive,
reproduce and flourish.
• Attachment system functions to curtail anxiety
and duress caused by separation that evolved
through the child’s desire for proximity with their
primary caretaker during times of danger or
• “Secure Base”
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Attachment Model:
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Mary D Salter Ainsworth: 1913-1999
– Developmental Psychologist
– Student of John Bowlby
– Conducted research focused on supporting
Bowlby’s attachment theory.
• Observed mother child interactions in Maryland and
• Published works include the “Strange Situation”
experiment, which yielded formulation of the three
attachment styles.
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Styles of Attachment:
–Anxious Avoidant
–Anxious Ambivalent
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Secure Attachment Style
70% of observed children had this style
Used mom as a base from which to explore
Turn around to see of mom is still there
Separation from mom results in protest & crying
Upon reunion mom is greeted with open arms
Upon prolonged separation, will eventually calm down
and play
– Moms were observed as being more responsive to
their children, more attentive and attuned.
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Anxious Avoidant Style
– 20-25% of observed children had this style
– Child presents as being independent
• Psuedo-independent
• Doesn’t care much if mom is present or not
• Connection with mom is inconsistent
– Mom’s not as skilled at responding to child’s cues,
afraid of intimacy with child.
– Child characterized by “I don’t need you but don’t
go away”
Major Theorist: Ainsworth
Anxious Ambivalent Style
10% of children had this style
Children were clingy, afraid to explore
Separation anxiety, agitated when mom left
Child would allow moms to pick them up upon return, but
would arch away too.
• “I need you, but it hurts when you leave, and I don’t like you
because of that”
– Moms tend to be much like moms in the avoidant style,
but with more indulgence. Seems as though moms
attempt to soothe dependency needs through their child.
Thus both get stuck in a snare of “never growing up”
Major Theorsit: Main
Mary Main (1943 - )
– Researcher
– Helped to develop the Adult Attachment
Inventory (AAI)
– Identified the fourth attachment style form
Ainsworth’s work as Chaotic / Disorganized.
– Translated Ainsworth’s child attachment style to
adult attachment styles
Major Theorist: Main
Adult Attachment Styles
Major Theorist: Main
Autonomous Attachment Style (Secure)
– Easily childhood recall experience with parents
– Self reliant
– Recall painful childhood events without being
– Objective
– Incorporates past into the present
Major Theorist: Main
Dismissive Attachment Style (Avoidant)
– Indifferent to early attachments
– Talks about the present only
– Idealized view of parents
– Remembers little from childhood
• Recollections conflict with others account
– Tend to have an absent parenting style, aloof
– Tend to be viewed as detached and cold
Major Theorist: Main
Preoccupied Attachment Style (Ambivalent)
– Almost completely focused on their past and
– Flooded with all the bad memories
– Predominant emotions tend to include anger,
despair, worthlessness
– Present and persistent desire for their past to
change to include favorable childhood attachment
Major Theorist: Main
Disorganized Attachment Style (Chaotic)
– Loss of parent(s)
– Early abuse and neglect
– Chaotic early life
– Traumatized
– Not able to make sense of childhood or how their
caregivers failed to tend to them.
– Lost Souls
Major Theorist: Mahler
Margaret Mahler 1897-1985
– Psychiatrist specialized in childhood development
– Interested in developing a theory of childhood
– Developed a tripatriate model of treatment
• Involved mothers in the treatment process
– Operated from the lens of Object
Relations theory of psychoanalysis

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