*Attachment Simplified – Our Infant Attachment Systems Organize our Brain-Body-Mind-Self

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“…the affective experiences in the caregiver-infant relationship are very different in securely and insecurely attached dyads.  (Schore/ad/26)”

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“…the amygdala, anterior cingulated, and insula limbic structures play a role in preattachment experiences that begin early in the first year…. (Schore/ad/200)”

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IMPORTANT

++ the attachment relationship directly shapes [through certain maternal behaviors] the maturation of the infant’s right-brain stress-coping systems that act at levels beneath awareness (schore/ar/44)

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The orbital cortex matures in the middle of the second year, a time when the average child has a productive vocabulary of less than 70 words.  The core of the self is thus nonverbal and unconscious, and it lies in patterns of affect regulation.  (schore/ar/46)”

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MOTHERS OF SECURELY ATTACHED INFANTS:

++  permits access to child who seeks proximity at reunion (for “practicing” older infants)

++  shows a tendency to respond appropriately and promptly to infant’s emotional expressions

++ Is psychobiologically attuned so can maintain “the child’s arousal within a moderate range that is high enough to maintain interactions (by stimulating the child up out of low arousal states) but not too intense as to cause distress and avoidance (by modulating high arousal states.  This entails her actively initiating and participating in not only mirroring-refueling (arousal amplifying) and shame socializing (arousal braking) transactions, but also in interactive repair (optimal arousal recovering) transactions after attachment breaks.  Optimal arousal refers to the maintenance of autonomic balance between sympathetic ergotrophic and parasympathetic trophotropic states of arousalIt is known that moderate levels of arousal (within the optimal activation band) are associated with positive affect and focused attention, while extreme levels of arousal (high or low) are related to negative emotion and distracted attention.  (Schore/ad/26)”

MOTHERS OF INSECURELY ATTACHED INFANTS:

++ is inaccessible for reunions

++ reacts to her infant’s expressions of emotions and stress inappropriately and/or rejectingly

++ shows “minimal or unpredictable participation in the various types of arousal-modulating, affect-regulating processes.  (Schore/ad/26)”

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INSECURE ATTACHMENTS

“In insecure attachments… contingent, resonant communication often does not occur.  Siegel/tdm/334)”

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“For [some]… people, conflicts among different needs, mental models, and self-states may lead to internal distress or external difficulties that create dysfunction.  Such a conflict among self-states within an individual can create incoherence.  Incoherence may develop from insecure or conflictual attachments, difficulties in meeting school or job expectations, or significant trouble with finding companions in friendships or peer groups.  Incoherence may be revealed in various (siegel/tdm/316) ways, such as impairments in affect regulation, insecurity, unresolved trauma or loss, and dysfunctional social relationships.  Whether with professions or in intimate relationships, an active approach to creating coherence may become necessary.  (siegel/tdm/317)”

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SCHORE AND ATTACHMENT

“…the affective experiences in the caregiver-infant relationship are very different in securely and insecurely attached dyads.  (Schore/ad/26)”

++++

“…the amygdala, anterior cingulated, and insula limbic structures play a role in preattachment experiences that begin early in the first year…. (Schore/ad/200)”

++++++++++++++++

MOTHERS OF SECURELY ATTACHED INFANTS:

++  permits access to child who seeks proximity at reunion (for “practicing” older infants)

++  shows a tendency to respond appropriately and promptly to infant’s emotional expressions

++ Is psychobiologically attuned so can maintain “the child’s arousal within a moderate range that is high enough to maintain interactions (by stimulating the child up out of low arousal states) but not too intense as to cause distress and avoidance (by modulating high arousal states.  This entails her actively initiating and participating in not only mirroring-refueling (arousal amplifying) and shame socializing (arousal braking) transactions, but also in interactive repair (optimal arousal recovering) transactions after attachment breaks.  Optimal arousal refers to the maintenance of autonomic balance between sympathetic ergotrophic and parasympathetic trophotropic states of arousalIt is known that moderate levels of arousal (within the optimal activation band) are associated with positive affect and focused attention, while extreme levels of arousal (high or low) are related to negative emotion and distracted attention.  (Schore/ad/26)”

MOTHERS OF INSECURELY ATTACHED INFANTS:

++ is inaccessible for reunions

++ reacts to her infant’s expressions of emotions and stress inappropriately and/or rejectingly

++ shows “minimal or unpredictable participation in the various types of arousal-modulating, affect-regulating processes.  (Schore/ad/26)”

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AFFECT DYSREGLATION, ORBITOFRONTAL DYSFUNCTION, AND DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

++ “emergent discipline of developmental psychopathology”  (Schore/ad/30)

++  developmental psychopathology…[focuses] on underlying mechanisms common to both….” [atypical and typical development] (Schore/ad/30)”

++ “…the mechanism underlying attachment [is a ] …dyadic communicative system of mutual reciprocal influences …[that are] psychobiologically adaptive for the organization, equilibrium, and growth of the organism.  I have specifically stressed the importance of reunion transactions, episodes of reattachment that occur after periods of separation or misattunement, since the rapid, “hidden” interactive regulation embedded in these reparative exchanges serves as an interpersonal matrix for the emergence of an internal system that can adaptively regulate affect, especially during periods of stress.  (Schore/ad/30)”

I would think the following also relates to infants in daycare.  This is an “at risk” “critical site” for disruption as the parent who has to work and be a primary caregiver the rest of the time will already be tired and stressed when picking up the infant from day care – strong need for information on this particular event “status”:

“It is now accepted that the effects of repeated separations are most debilitating when the reunion environment is not supportive (Coe, Winer, Roseberg, & Levine, 1985).  This dynamic interface is thus also a critical site for the generation of stressful and thereby psychobiologically chaotic events that ultimately create a predisposition or vulnerability to future psychiatric and psychosomatic pathologies.  (Schore/ad/30)”

FUNCTIONAL DEFICITS ASSOCIATED WITH DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

++ securely attached infant can first physically seek the caregiver and then later mentally seek the representation of the caregiver after the stress of a separation “for interactive regulation and be comforted at a reunion.”  (Schore/ad/30)

RESILIENCE

++ “…an infant who is exposed to sensitive and cooperative maternal interactive repair of dyadic misattunements consequently shows self-regulatory skills in the form of persistent efforts to overcome an interactive stress.  In such securely attached infants, stress-induced negative affect does not  (Schore/ad/30) endure for long periods beyond the conditions that elicit them; rapid recovery to positively toned emotion is typical…reflective of efficient regulatory capacities.  A cardinal feature of a “high-resilient” child and his/her parents is the capacity of the dyad to fluidly transition from positive to negative back to positive affect (Demos, 1991).  [Again, he says the following]  Indeed, the ultimate indicator of attachment is seen as this resilience in the face of stress (Greenspan, 1981).  (Schore/ad/31)”

++  forms working model of “self-attuned-with-a-regulating-other”

++  “…the reunion environment created by the insecure mother-infant dyad creates frequent and enduring high levels of negative and low levels of positive affect.  As a result of the caregiver’s inability to participate in dyadic affect-regulating functions that modulate extreme levels of stimulation and arousal, this infant shows a greater tendency for negative emotional states to endure beyond the precipitating stimulus events…. (Schore/ad/31)”

“Early experiences of being with a psychobiologically dysregulating other who initiates but poorly repairs shame-associated misattunement are also incorporated in long-term memory as an interactive representation, a working model of the self-misattuned-with a dysregulating-other….these representations are stored in memory “largely outside conscious awareness” as prototypical of all interactions.  Clinical observers note that failures of early attachment invariably become sources of shame, that impairments in the parent-child relationship lead to pathology through an enduring disposition to shame, and this results in chronic difficulties in self-esteem regulation found in all developmental psychopathologies.  If an attachment figure frequently rejects or ridicules the child’s requests for comfort in stressful situations, the child develops not only an internal working model of the parent as rejecting but also one of himself as unworthy of help and comfort….This precludes access to interactive regulation at times of emotional crisis.  (Schore/ad/31)”

There is now compelling evidence, from a number of separate disciplines at different levels of analysis, that all early forming psychopathology constitutes disorders of attachment and manifests itself as failures of self and/or interactional regulation (Grotstein, 1986).  The functional indicators of this adaptive  (Schore/ad/31) limitation are specifically manifest in recovery deficits of internal reparative mechanisms….loss of ability to regulate the intensity of feelings is the most far-reaching effect of early trauma and neglect…[and] all forms of psychopathology have concomitant symptoms of emotion dysregulation…and that this dysfunction is manifest in more intense and longer lasting emotional responses…. (Schore/ad/32)”

“…what is not adaptive is a lack of variability in the individual faced with environmental demands that call for alternative choices and strategies for change….I conclude that these functional vulnerabilities reflect structural weaknesses in the affective core, the psychobiological system that regulates positive mood and interactive behavior, and defects in the organization of the orbitofrontal cortex, the neurobiological regulatory structure that is centrally involved in the adjustment or correction of emotional response.  (Schore/ad/32)”

++++

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DYNAMIC SYSTEMS THEORY AND ONGOING RIGHT-HEMISPHERIC DEVELOPMENT

Attachment is “the apex of dyadic emotional regulation, a culmination of all development in the first year and a harbinger of the self-regulation that is to come” (Sroufe, 1996, p. 172).  (Schore/ad/126)”

“The nonlinear right hemisphere, the substrate of early attachment processes, ends its growth phase in the second year, when the linear left hemisphere begins one, but it cycles back into growth phases at later periods of the life cycle (Thatcher, 1994).

This [cycling] allows for the continuity of attachment mechanisms in subsequent functioning, and yet also for the potential continuing reorganization of the emotion-processing right brain throughout life.

The orbitofrontal regions, centrally involved in the regulation of psychobiological state and energy balance, are unique in that they retain the neuoranatomic and biochemical features of early development,

and for this reason they are the most plastic areas of the cortex (Barbas, 1995).  (Schore/ad/126)”

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“If, however, an infant, especially one born with a genetically encoded altered neurophysiologic reactivity, does not have adequate experiences of being part of an open dynamic system with an emotionally responsive adult human, its corticolimbic organization will be poorly (Schore/ad/126) capable of coping with the stressful chaotic dynamics that are inherent in all human relationships.

Such a system tends to become static and closed, and invested in defensive structures to guard against anticipated interactive assaults that potentially trigger disorganizing and emotionally painful psychobiological states.

Because of its avoidance of novel situations and diminished capacity to cope with challenging situations, it does not expose itself to new socioemotional learning experiences that are required for the continuing experience-dependent growth of the right brain.

This structural limitation, in turn, negatively impacts the future trajectory of self-organization.  (Schore/ad/127)”

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“The attachment dynamic continues throughout the life span as an unconscious mechanism that mediates the interpersonal and intrapsychic events of all relationships, especially intimate relationships.  (Schore/ad/126)”

Affect-regulating interactions are essential to the development of the infant’s coping skills,

but at later points in the life span they continue to be necessary for the continued growth of the brain

and the expanding capacity to experience more complex psychobiological states.  (Schore/ad/126)”

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“Because attachment status is the product of the infant’s genetically encoded psychobiological predisposition and the caregiver experience, and attachment mechanisms are expressed throughout later stages of life, early relational trauma has both immediate and long-term effects, including the generation of risk for later-forming psychiatric disorders.  (Schore/ad/182)”

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“…attachment patterns of infant’s [sic] who had suffered trauma in the first year of life….discovery of a new attachment category, type D, an insecure disorganized/disoriented pattern.  (This work is updated and summarized by Solomon and George[1999]).  (Schore/ad/192)”

“The type D pattern is found in over 80% of maltreated infants (Carlson et al, 1989)….  This group of toddlers exhibits the highest heart rate activation and the most intense alarm reaction in the strange situation procedure (see Figure 7.1).  They also show higher cortisol levels than all other attachment classifications and are at greatest risk.  (Schore/ad/192) for impaired hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis stress responding….  Main and Solomon concluded that “these infants are experiencing low stress tolerance” (1986, p. 107).  These authors contend that the disorganization and disorientation reflect the fact that the infant, instead of finding a haven of safety in the relationship, is alarmed by the parent.  They noted that because the infant inevitably seeks the parent when alarmed, any parental behavior that directly alarms an infant should place it in an irresolvable paradox in which it can neither approach, shift its attention, or fleeAt the most basic level, these infants are unable to generate

a coherent behavioral coping strategy

to deal with this emotional challenge.  (Schore/ad/192)”

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Approach and avoid – “simultaneous activation of the energy expending sympathetic and energy conserving parasympathetic components of the ANS.  (Schore/ad/194)”

“A dictionary definition of apprehension is distrust or dread with regard to the future.  These apprehensive behaviors generalize beyond just interactions with the mother.  The intensity of the baby’s dysregulated affective state is often heightened when the infant is exposed to the added stress of an unfamiliar person.  At a stranger’s entrance, two infants moved away from both mother and stranger to face the wall, and another “leaned forehead against the wall for several seconds, looking back in apparent terror” Main & Solomon, 1986, p. 120).  (Schore/ad/194)”

“These maltreated infants also showed “behavioral stilling” – that is, “dazed” behavior and depressed affect (again a hyperactivation of the PNS).  One infant “became for a moment excessively still, staring into space as though completely out of contact with self, environment, and parent” (Main & Solomon, 1986, p. 120)[.]  Another showed “a dazed facial appearance … accompanied by a stilling of all body movement, and sometimes a freezing of limbs which had been in motion: (p. 120).  And yet another “fell face-down on the floor in a depressed posture prior to separation, stilling all body movements: (p. 120).  (Schore/ad/194)”

“Furthermore, Main and Solomon pointed out that the type D behaviors take the form of stereotypies that are found in neurologically impaired infants.  It should be emphasized that these behaviors are overt manifestations of an obviously impaired regulatory system, one that rapidly disorganizes under stress.  Notice that these observations are taking place at 12 to 18 months, a critical period of corticolimbic maturation, and they reflect a severe structural impairment of the orbitofrontal control system that is involved in attachment behavior and state regulation.  (Schore/ad/194)”

“The orbitofrontal areas, like other limbic structures in the anterior temporal areas and the amygdala, contains [sic] neurons that fire to emotionally expressive faces.  (Schore/ad/194)”

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The mother’s face is the most potent visual stimulus in the child’s world, and it is well known that direct gaze can mediate powerful aggressive messages.  (Schore/ad/194)”

During the trauma, the infant is presented with an aggressive expression on the mother’s face.  The image of this aggressive face, as well as the chaotic alterations in the infant’s bodily state that are associated with it, is indelibly imprinted into subcortical limbic circuits as a “flashbulb memory” (Brown & Kulik, 1977) and thereby stored in implicit-procedural memory in the visuao- (Schore/ad/194) spatial right hemisphere.  These are stored memories of what Lieberman (1997) called “negative maternal attributions” that contain an intensely negative affective charge, and therefore rapidly dysregulate the infant.  (Schore/ad/195)”

“In the course of the traumatic interaction, the infant is presented with another affectively overwhelming facial expression, a maternal expression of fear-terror…..  Current studies show a link between frightening maternal behavior and disorganized infant attachment….  Etc….(Schore/ad/195)”

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