Monday, February 24, 2014. While I cannot find a publication date for this article The Verdict Is In – by Alan Sroufe and Daniel Siegel a scan of the references shows me that it was published at some time later than 2010. I also see there are some formatting errors in this text as it is posted on Dr. Daniel J. Siegel’s website.
This article again includes a brief accurate history of attachment theory and of some of the major research that back up findings in this field. I am particularly interested in finding information about what attachment experts have to say about healing for people who suffered from extreme abuse, neglect and trauma during their earliest developmental stages of life. I continue to suspect that for those in the bottom ranges of early relationship traumatization that research findings don’t necessarily apply to us as a specific group.
Generalizations must be made from research that does not isolate it’s study cohort to include ONLY those with “disorganized” insecure attachment disorders.
I also found it most enlightening that Dr. Siegel, one of the topmost attachment experts in the world, clearly states in the first part of THIS TALK as I mentioned it in this post – +EARLY TRAUMA, DISSOCIATION AND DR. DANIEL SIEGEL’S “PLANE OF POSSIBILITY” CLEARLY states that Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) IS NOT an insecure attachment disorder. (See 19:40 on the video — THIS TALK — for this statement.) RAD is NOT among the categories of attachment technically described – and evidently is not among and RELATED category, either. It is its own “problem.” I what is being said by that statement is that “only” “orphanage kids” without any attachment at all “have” RAD. I will transcribe this part of Siegel’s talk in a later post. I first want to search around his work to find more of what he says on the topic.
(What happens to those who did not have an attachment – with the person they should have been able to attach with – when that person tortured them?)
While I cannot in any way argue with a global expert on attachment I do want to search around online to find what ELSE Siegel has to say about RAD which he says in the talk I mention here happens to children raised in orphanages. I imagine he is suggesting that it comes only to human beings raised during their earliest developmental stages without ANY attachments.
Yet as I read the words of this article I include next in this post I search my entire childhood to try to figure out if I had any attachments or not! Did I have the “islands” mentioned below? Even though I concluded in one recent post that I must have had an attachment with my psychotically abusive mother – from what I am continuing to search out about attachment with Siegel’s knowledge base such as I can access it – I did NOT have any kind of attachment with Mother.
Because she interfered with any other potential relationship I could have had – I do not rule out the very real possibility that I DID NOT have an attachment as a child with anyone.
What I do know is that I am very much REACTING to the new attachment-related facts I am searching out and trying to understand. Again – I think people who are like me, people who find their way to the pages of this blog and feel CONNECTED to the information I present here – are among the group of traumatized infant-child abuse survivors who have NOT been studied as our own cohort regarding what happened to us in what should have been our earliest attachment environments.
Meanwhile I continue to work to “integrate” – to use Siegel’s top term – this information I am finding. I must go slowly and give myself plenty of time and room to react as I AM reacting. I never assume that I am LEARNING anything new until I digest what rings true for me IN MY OWN MIND.
Meanwhile, here are some passages from this article I found today.
“There’s now overwhelming empirical support for the fact that early experience is a powerful force in development. But what can clinicians draw from this work, beyond feeling reassured that their clinical intuition isn’t simply an “article of faith”? For one thing, this extensive work can bring perspective to questions such as why change is so difficult and why emotional closeness can be so scary to some people. Long before children have the language and conceptual tools to process experience, negative or even traumatic patterns of interaction are incorporated in the brain, the functioning of their psyche, and even in the molecules that control the expression of their genes. Therefore, people can get “lost in familiar places” as they continually recreate their earliest patterns of interactions across the lifespan. One role of a therapist is to bring awareness to such patterns and then intentionally create new pathways for clients to take as they unlearn their long-established habits.
“Another important implication of attachment research is that it’s possible to develop a secure state of mind as an adult, even in the face of a difficult childhood. Early experience influences later development, but it isn’t fate: therapeutic experiences can profoundly alter an individual’s life course. Further, therapists can learn from attachment researchers’ hard-earned insights into human development which features of relational experience are the most effective at optimizing well-being. When parents are sensitive to a child—when they pay attention to and tune in to the signals sent by the child, make sense of these signals and get a glimpse of the child’s inner experience, and then respond in a timely and effective manner—children are likelier to thrive. The essential features of a therapeutic relationship mirror this process in many ways.
“The brain continues to remodel itself in response to experience throughout our lives, and our emerging understanding of neuroplasticity is showing us how relationships can stimulate neuronal activation and even remove the synaptic legacy of early social experience. Developmental trajectories are complex, often having “islands” of positive relational experience, even within largely negative histories. Through therapeutic relationships and reflective practice, one can make contact with these islands—the “angels” in the nursery, to quote developmental psychologist Alicia Lieberman—and cultivate their growth to the benefit of parents, children, and adults alike. In this way, clinical practice can use the power of our attachment relationships to cultivate deep and lasting change throughout the lifespan and even stop the transmission of disabling early experiences across the generations.” Above article pages 12-13 – read article here – The Verdict Is In
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