John Bowlby's Theories of Attachment Theory

949 Words4 Pages
John Bowlby had worked with residential school children as a volunteer early on in his career and had determined that the children who suffered the most from anger outbursts, aggressivity, and whom her termed “affectionless” were also the children who had suffered the most maternal deprivation (). Bowlby advanced that the loss of the mother figure was extremely distressing and damaging and could influence adults' behavior years later. Hence, where psychoanalysis had been concerned “solely with the imaginings of the childish mind, the fantasied pleasures and the dreaded retributions” (Fonagy), Bowlby showed that humans do not develop in a void or as “individual monads” but as members of interacting systems. Bowlby developed his theory on attachment for several decades, and at a time where any dealings with childhood trauma were still rigorously influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis through the likes of psychoanalysts such Anna Freud or Melanie Klein. Even Winnicott was “revulsed” upon reading Bowlby's papers (siegel). It certainly was a bitter pill to swallow for psychoanalysts who had been repeating since Freud that the newborn was a little tyrant fighting for oral gratification at the mother's breast and merely clinging on to fulfil sexual instinctual needs. Bowlby's work was thus eschewed for a considerable time, despite his involvement with the World Health Organisation and the considerable empirical weight that was added to his findings by Mary Ainsworth's studies in
Get Access