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What Is It?


Attachment is an unconscious motivational system. When children feel anxious it is normal for them to seek out someone wiser and stronger to protect them. This often requires a physical closeness. Infants and children require a Secure Base - usually the Mum but at nursery it could be a member of staff. This secure base is what they will seek out when anxious or distressed. If mum is able to be calm herself she is more likely to be able to calm her baby. If not, then a ‘different’ type of attachment will form.

4 different Attachment Patterns (Ainsworth, M)

1. Secure - believe and trusts that his/her needs will be met

2. Avoidant - subconsciously believes that his/her needs will probably not be met

3. Diisorganised - severely confused with no strategy to have his/her needs met

4. Ambivalent - cannot rely on his/her needs being met

Attachment In Adolescence

The attachment dynamic continues throughout life and is activated during adolescence and adulthood in times of distress. Family cohesion and good communication with Parents/Carers is strongly associated with good adaptation in early adolescence. A secure attachment is a strong protective factor against offending behaviours during adolescence.

Key Questions:

Does the child or young person have an attachment figure?

Do they have a secure base from which to explore the world and a place to come back to when they need it?

Attachment In Adults

Adults tend to pass-on their own attachment patters i.e. securely attached parents generally make secure attachments with their children. Adults with insecure attachments may experience difficulties with separating from their child/young person. However repair is always possible with the right support.

  Services: Attachment

Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings”. Bowlby ( 1969, p. 194).

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