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Attachment in practice – Insecure attachments

Insecure attachments. Dr. Svanberg talks about avoidant and ambivalent/anxious attachments. Strange situation assessment.

Good for looking at

  • Insecure attachment
  • Strange situation assessment
  • Mary Ainsworth
  • Avoidant attachment
  • Ambivalent attachment
00:05
In many ways, we are really quite fortunate
00:08
that the majority of parents are able
00:11
to behave in ways that helps their children
00:15
become securely attached quite normally,
00:19
quite spontaneously, no help,
00:20
that's just the way they are.
00:23
Around 60, 65% of all children are securely attached.
00:28
So what happens with the children
00:29
who are not securely attached?
00:33
The most common insecure attachment,
00:37
particularly in this culture, in the British culture,
00:40
is the avoidant attachment.
00:42
In an avoidant attachment, or in a relationship
00:47
that leads the child to become avoidantly attached,
00:51
the parent has, in many respects, sent signals
00:55
to the child that it's not a good thing to be emotional.
00:59
You know, we're not particularly kind
01:01
of emotional around here.
01:03
This is sort of stiff upper lip family, if you like.
01:07
And that can be all emotions.
01:09
So it is not good to be angry, it's not good to be upset,
01:13
it's not good to be frightened,
01:15
and if that is an extreme, you end up
01:19
with very non-emotional, highly kind of inhibited person.
01:27
The other kind of more common group
01:30
is what is called ambivalent attachment,
01:34
or anxious attachment.
01:35
These are children who, in a sense, can't be sure
01:40
whether the parent will comfort them at that time or not.
01:45
Sometimes the parent will be comforting,
01:47
other times, the parent might actually be rejecting
01:49
and you can't anticipate that, you can't predict it.
01:53
So they develop this strategy of kind of high display
01:60
of emotion, which is a mixture of emotion.
02:03
It's partly help-seeking, "please comfort me,"
02:06
and partly angry, "I know you won't."
02:09
It's kind of backwards and forwards.
02:12
What this strategy does is that it says
02:15
to the parent, "You must look at me all the time.
02:19
"You must know where I am all the time,"
02:22
because it's based on the fear
02:24
of being left or being abandoned, and so on.
02:30
These three, the secure attachment, the avoidant attachment,
02:35
the anxiously ambivalent attachment, are very common.
02:40
It accounts for something like 90%
02:44
of all attachment behavior in children.