Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

Psychologists learn about attachment parenting

08 December 2017

On Monday 20 November, Year 12 and 13 psychologists attended a talk given by one of our parents from the Preparatory School, Mrs Tasha Bland. Mrs Bland works for Abacus Fostering and she gave us an exciting insight into the world of attachment, a topic we have discussed at length in our first year studying Psychology.

She began with facilitating an in depth discussion on how a child would typically form a healthy attachment to their care giver through the seven steps of attachment: Claiming to develop core identity, Attunement to develop stress regulation, Affective Attunement to develop feelings and empathy, Impulse regulation for morality, Shame regulation for social learning, Rage management for social acceptability and Pre-cognitive patterning for thinking.

We then moved on to understanding the ways a child can be traumatised as a result of not forming an attachment with their care giver due to abuse and/or neglect. The development and behaviour of neglected children is severely affected; they may have difficulties forming relationships with peers, have poor emotional intelligence, such as an inability to regulate stress, and experience development trauma. In comparison, a securely attached child can think logically, develops socially, is able to cope with stress and tolerate uncertainty.

In the final segment of the talk, we briefly discussed how therapeutic inputs for recovery can develop strength and social and emotional intelligence in affected children. For example, the PACE Parenting and Secure Base methods help the child manage feelings, build the child's self-esteem and help the child to trust, to feel they belong. All of these are ways in which it is possible to instil a sense of comfort and belonging in a child who grows up without an attachment figure, and reduce the negative consequences of not having one.

By the end of the talk, we all felt we had gained further insight into attachment psychology and this will certainly benefit us for our upcoming examinations and enhance our knowledge on the long-lasting effects of child neglect. We would like to thank Mrs Graham and Mrs Parsons for organising the talk.

Tahini Baldwin
Year 13

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