Attachment has to do with emotional bonding. It is essential to survival and it can impact important relationships later in life. Bonding with the people who are responsible for taking care of us improves our chances of survival.
Attachment is always about the relationship with the primary caregiver. This person is the Child’s source of protection and nourishment.
Usually it’s Mom. But not always.
Researchers discovered 4 distinct responses
Studies in Attachment revealed four primary patterns. These patterns are installed before 12 months of age. So you can uncover them in your regression sessions. In one experiment, with 12-month-olds, the parent was asked to bring the child to a strange environment with toys. e.g., daycare, play school. They would then leave the child with a stranger. And when the parent returned for the child there were 4 distinct response patterns.
#1. Secure Attachment:
When the parent returned the child would go straight to the parent. And then go back to playing. This response indicates that the parent is sensitive to the needs of the child. And responds in an adequate and timely manner. This results in the child feeling secure.
Secure Attachment patterning results in healthy social, emotional and cognitive development.
#2. Avoidant Attachment:
When the parent returned the child did not seem to care. It didn’t appear to matter to the child whether the parent was there or not. This response indicates a parent who is not sensitive to the needs of the child. The parent doesn’t know how to interpret the child’s signals. So when the child cries the parent doesn’t respond appropriately. For example, the child cries because he’s wet or tired and the parent tries to feed the child. Eventually, the child gives up.
Avoidant Attachment patterning results in socially controlling behaviour; avoids interacting with others; emotional distancing.
#3. Anxious or Resistant Attachment:
When the parent returned the child would cling to the parent. And was not easily soothed. The child would not go back to playing quickly. This response indicates a parent whose responses are often inconsistent.
The child cannot predict what the parent is going to do. This generates uncertainty and/or ambivalence toward the parent.
Another cause of this pattern is a parent whose emotional state intrudes on the child’s state. For example, if Mom is angry or anxious or grieving, the child takes on those feelings.
The feeling is then associated with whatever is happening at that time. e.g. Feeding the baby while angry or anxious will anchor those feelings to food. This can lead to eating disorders.
The results of Anxious/Resistant Attachment often show up in the child’s teen years. The unresolved nervous anxiety takes shape as insecurity, self-doubt, and an inability to regulate emotions.
#4. Disorganized Attachment:
When the parent returned the child’s behaviour was confused. In some cases the child would drop to the floor, bite his hands, or turn in circles. The child might completely ignore the parent. Or approach and then avoid. So the child might seek attachment but then not accept soothing easily.
Disorganized Attachment is an indicator of some kind of trauma. It might be caused by abuse. E.g., yelling at the child.
It could be due to alcoholism in the family which produces out-of-control behaviour. This generates terror in the child. And sets up a biological conflict which can express as physiological issues.
The child needs to attach.
Attachment is essential to survival because the child cannot take care of him or herself. The parent is a source of protection and soothing. When the parent becomes the source of threat the child has nowhere to go to get his/her needs met.
The only place they can go isn’t safe. This internal conflict can express as a confused behaviour. E.g., move toward/run away. This results in social, emotional, and cognitive impairment.
Why is this important for regression hypnotherapists? These patterns will show up in your work with clients. If your client regresses before 12 months old, pay close attention to the Child’s relationship to the primary caregiver.