Contemporary Attachment Theory

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Landmark Studies Alejandro’s assessment shall be explained through the lens of Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and Kohut’s Self Psychology. On the surface, both theories appear to be quite dissimilar. However, Self Psychology and Contemporary Attachment Theory agree that genuine empathy–may it be from stable/meaningful relationships or through a therapeutic alliance–are the core of their theories (Cortina & Carr, 2011). Lastly, Alejandro’s assessment shall be explained through the lens of neurobiology. Contemporary Attachment Theory/Regulation Theory From an attachment standpoint, the physical neglect that Alejandro experienced was caused by an extremely self-interested parent (methamphetamine addiction). Alejandro’s neglect may have manifested…show more content…
Essentially, after a baby is born, the right hemisphere of its brain (emotional sense of self) is chiefly used to experience its world. However, the baby cannot regulate its own emotions. Accordingly, the primary caretaker assists the baby’s dysregulated states (agitation, crying, etc.) through the use of the primary caregiver’s right brain (soothing the child). Through countless genial interactions, the primary caregiver helps the child develop her/his right brain, cultivates exploration of the environment, and teaches the child how to attune itself with others (Shore & Shore,…show more content…
Accordingly, the state of Alejandro’s attachment effects his stress response. Shore and Shore (2008) underscored this experience by stating, “The attachment relationship mediates the dyadic regulation of bodily based emotion, so that the primary caregiver regulates the infant’s postnatally developing central (CNS) and autonomic (ANS) nervous systems” (p. 61). That is to say, Alejandro’s attachment or lack thereof, affects his ability to calm down after stressful situations. Also, as Alejandro’s prefrontal cortex was still developing during his period of neglect, a stressful attachment may be imprinted onto his right brain (sense of self) and his hippocampus (memory) (Farmer, 2009). PTSD As one may suspect, PTSD indeed changes the physical structure of the brain; however, the developing brain of a child who experiences trauma, who is less than 3-years-old, experiences trauma in a much different fashion than those who are older than 3. According to Farmer (2009): There are several brain parts that are especially disrupted and changed in these years [first three years of life] in the presence of trauma. They are located in brain areas that are involved in our responses to stress and fear. They are the brain stem and locus ceruleus (which regulates homeostasis); the hippocampus, amygdala, and frontal cortex (which form the memory systems and are involved in emotional states

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