Fundamental Tenets Of Attachment Theory

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A fundamental tenet of attachment theory is that the parent’s caregiving behaviour shapes a child’s internal working model of self and others. Children, who experience sensitive and consistent caregiving, develop secure working models of relationships, whereas children who experience rejecting or inconsistent relationships tend to develop insecure working models. According to Cassidy (1994) an important attribute of the secure model is the view that emotion expression is acceptable, that such expression is effective in eliciting sensitive responses from others, and that others are responsive to one’s needs. Fonagy (2010) and Stern, Borelli and Smiley (2015) suggest that close relationships early in development not only shape the quality of …show more content…
Pistole (1999) conceptualized the counselling process as an attachment relationship, where counsellors are emotionally accessible and responsive to clients’ needs and identified empathy as an integral part of caregiving. According to Pistole and Watkins (1995) securely attached individuals have the greatest potential to provide high levels of caregiving. Individuals with insecure attachment styles are overly focused on themselves and their caregiving is inconsistent and interpersonally distant (Pistole & Watkins, 1995). Securely attached individuals were found to be less preoccupied with their own needs and more receptive to the needs of others (Barnett, 1987; as cited in Trusty, Ng, & Watts, 2005).
A recent study by Wei, Liao, Ku and Shaffer (2011) also found that adult attachment insecurity is associated with lower levels of empathy. Khodabakhsh (2012) looked at the relationship between attachment styles and empathy in nursing students and found a positive relationship between secure attachment style and empathy and a negative relationship between insecure attachment styles and
…show more content…
189). The abilities model proposed by Salovey and Mayer (as cited in Riggio, & Reichard, 2008) includes four general emotional abilities: identifying emotions, which involves the ability to identify emotions in oneself and others and the ability to express emotions; using emotions to facilitate thinking, which involves using emotions to improving thinking activity; understanding emotions and their interaction; and managing emotions, involving the regulation and control of felt emotions (Riggio & Reichard, 2008).
Fonagy et al. (2004) argue that sensitive and attuned parents use open communication, helping their children develop self-reflective skills and good social understanding (as cited in Howe, 2011, p. 73). Parents who help children reflect on their feelings are providing them with the understanding to manage their own and other people’s emotion and behaviour.
Kafetsios (2004) examined the realtionship between attachment styles and emotional intelligence and found a positive relationship between secure attachment and emotional intelligence and negative relationship between emotional intelligence and insecure attachment

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