The emphasises the role of the parent as mediator,

The word ‘attachment’ can be defined as any form of behaviour resulting in an individual developing a closeness to a significant other and maintaining it and the theory of attachment describes several behavioural systems with the joint function of regulating human attachment, fear, exploration care-giving, peer-affiliation and sex. It emphasises the role of the parent as mediator, reflector and moderator of the child’s mind and the child’s reliance on the parent to respond to their affective states in ways that are contingent to their internal experience, a process often referred to as secure base/safe haven functioning. To an infant, the primary caregiver is the source of stress regulation and, therefore, their sense of safety and security. In a close parent-child relationship, there are “neural networks” in place committed to feelings of safety and danger, attachment and the core sense of self are sculpted and shaped, also known as internal working models of attachment (Counselling-directory.org.uk, 2018).https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html (3/1/18) (key concepts) When forming attachments, there are two important theories when it comes to forming attachments. The learning/behaviourist theory (Dollard and Miller, 1950)suggests that attachment is a set of learned behaviours. The basis of learning these behaviours is the provision of food, meaning that, as an infant, we develop attachments to whoever feeds us and this tends to be the mother. As a result, the ‘feeder’ is associated with feelings of comfort and classical conditioning is applied in order to view contact with them as a source of comfort. Infants also learn that, if they display certain behaviours, specific responses are produced from those around them (i.e. crying results in attention), and repeating the behaviours helps to get them what they want. This is called operant conditioning. The second theory is evolutionary theory (e.g. Bowlby, Harlow, Lorenz etc.). This theory suggests children are born with the biological predisposition to form attachments in order to survive. Children produce social ‘releaser behaviours’ such as ┬ásmiling, laughing and crying as a way of producing caregiver responses from adults. Evolutionary theory says attachment is driven by care and responsiveness of the caregiver as opposed to being driven by food. According to Bowlby, only one primary attachment is made during infancy and they are used as a way to explore the world. The attachment is used as a “template” for all future attachments, meaning if at any point it gets disrupted, the infant can be affected later in life. The theory also suggests that between the ages of 0-5 years old is the critical time for developing attachments. If this doesnt happen, high aggression levels and lower intelligence levels can be experienced amongst other developmental issues.According to Bowlby, attachment theory is a spatial theory both literally and metaphorically. We experience feelings of happiness when ‘close’ to loved ones and sadness when there’s distance. This ‘distance can refer to being across the country from a loved one or feeling mentally distant. Attachment is mediated by looking/touching/feeling. It is an ‘umbrella term’ and used in a number of ways. Attachment style refers to the state and/or quality of individual attachments. Are they secure or insecure? Insecure attachments can then be further divided into subcategories; children with an avoidant attachment style will ignore their caregiver and show little to no emotion regarding them. Children with an disorganised attachment style still tend to ignore their caregiver however, they show more emotion when they leave or return. The final sub-category is ambivalent. A child with this type feels anxious whenwer their caregiver is gone (also known as seperation anxiety) and this feeling remains even after the caregiver has returned (Simplypsychology.org, 2018).Bowlby intended to discover the links between life events and psychiatric symptoms developing in individuals. In order to do this, he looked at 44 juvenile thieves and was able to link their disruptions with conduct disorder and phobias; two major psychiatric disorders experienced in childhood. He was ablr to anticipate the connections between changes in attachment during childhood and developing conditions such as depression and psychopathic behaviours in adulthood. Bowlby determined that anxious attachment was a result of major parental disruptions such as a death or divorce (Holmes, 2014)