The Development of Attachment Essay

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The Development of Attachment 1. Outline the development of attachment

According to Shaffer, the development of attachment can be divided into four main phases. Other researchers have then added two additional stages to this original theory.

· Pre Attachment Phase – from birth to 3 months. From 6 weeks the baby develops an attraction to other humans, especially adults in preference to other objects. This can be illustrated through social behaviours like gurgling, reaching out and smiling.

· Indiscriminate Attachment Phase – from 3 to 7 months. The infant begins to show preference for familiar over un-familiar people. However, a stranger looking at them will not cause too much
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Infants are considered to be attached to someone when they display the following:

· Distress at separation

· Preferring the company of this one individual

· Seeking this person at times of stress.

There are many recognized theories of attachment, each outlining in many different ways exactly why a child will become attached to a certain adult. I am going to outline two of these explanations in more detail.

Cupboard Love Theory – Sigmund Freud

Incorporating the psychoanalytic and behaviourist explanations.

At the turn of the century, the treatment of new-born babies was regarded as having little significance for later life, as babies were thought to be immune to influence. This idea, like many others prevalent at that time, was attacked by Sigmund Freud. He believed that the relationship a child has with its mother is a prototype on which all future relationships are based.

According to Freud's psychoanalytic theory a child becomes attached to its mother because she is its source of food; hence she gratifies its most basic instinctual and psychological needs. Freud states that the primary drive is for food and as the mother is associated with food, she becomes desired by the infant in her own right. In the normal course of growing up, the child comes to accept that this psychosexual relationship can not be, and as
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