What is attachment?

Attachment is a concept for understanding the relationship between a child and their carer.  When an infant is born they rely on their carer for nurturance, support, safety and general care, with this the child forms an attachment.  There are four main attachment styles a child may develop.  The type of attachment style the child develops with their carer affects their movement through different developmental stages and forms the ‘blueprint’ for all future relationships.  The four attachment styles are:

Secure Attachment

This is the most common attachment style and is characterised by a carer who is sensitive to the child’s needs and wants, they offer security and the child feels confident in the carer’s ability to care for them and keep them safe, and connected to that carer.

Anxious Attachment

This is characterised by an erratic carer who appears, hesitant and preoccupied, or un responsive to the needs of the child. They may appear distant and flat.  The child interprets this and becomes resistant, anxious and dependant. In cases where the carer is more avoidant, the child can become aggressive and lack empathy for others as they have received none from their primary carer.

Disorganised Attachment

Probably the most damaging attachment style and the one most commonly associated with severe abuse and neglect.  This is when the child has endured consistent threat from the caregiver, they become confused and anxious as a result and the child eventually dissociates from the relationship and often life.

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