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P004: Attachment, Session 1, Alan Sroufe

Welcome to “The Great Attachment Debate”—a 6-part webinar interview series with leading experts in the field, brought together to present the scientific foundations of Attachment Theory and how it influences—or doesn’t influence—our clinical work. The series, following the March/April 2011 issue on attachment, kicks off with Alan Sroufe, Ph.D., a leading Attachment Theory researcher.

This first session will delve into what research has shown us about the effects of our early relationships. Sroufe will explore John Bowlby’s work and how it’s led to attachment research, connections between attachment style and mental health, how Attachment Theory affects the process of change in psychotherapy, and much more.

After listening to Sroufe’s presentation, please take a moment to comment here and share your thoughts. The Comment Boards will be on the Networker website throughout this webinar so we can share thoughts, experiences, and any questions, creating a space for learning and community. What did you learn today that was new or interesting?

Please feel free to include your name and hometown along with your comment, and make sure to check out Alan Sroufe and Daniel Siegel's feature article on attachment in the March/April issue, "The Verdict Is In."
03.31.2011   Posted In: P004 New Perspectives on Practice: The Great Attachment Debate   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • -0.2 avatar Rebecca Pine 04.05.2011 13:32
    Technology/logistics question: I thought these were supposed to be one-hour sessions, but this one lasted about 70 minutes. Also, I was unable to see it until about ten minutes after one o'clock (some of this delay may have been due to a glitch at my end -I'm unsure how much.)

    CE Question: Am I supposed to do anything to demonstrate my attendance for CEs? (I did pay for CEs)

    Content comment: I don't think the tree graphic slide was ever mentioned or explained. Wish it had been.

    Becky Pine, Groton, MA
    • 0 avatar Psychotherapy Networker 04.12.2011 14:15
      Hi Rebecca,

      Sometimes, especially for the first session that kicks off a webinar, they do last a bit longer than an hour, but if for any reason you don't have the time to finish viewing it at that time, you can always watch it later on-demand.
      After the attachment course is complete, you'll be able to take a CE quiz, which will appear under Your Purchased Items on the website, under New Perspectives. After you take and pass the quiz, you'll receive a certificate that shows that you've completed your CEs. If you have any technical issues in the future, please feel free to contact support@icohere.com, and if you have any general questions about CEs, our web offerings, etc., please feel free to contact support@psychotherapynetworker.org.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 16:38
      It’s too bad the tree graphic was not discussed. It is important. Bowlby’s pathways model is quite sophisticated. You have to first think of positive adaptation is being any of the central branches of the tree and pathology being the extreme outer terminations. Infant attachment sets only an initial direction at the bottom of the tree and twists and turns of individual lives follow as circumstances change. Then there are 5 implications: 1) there are multiple early paths that may lead to the same outcome (disorders are heterogeneous in their origins); 2) the same path can lead to multiple outcomes (early abuse may lead to depression, CD, alcoholism, etc. or at times to positive outcomes); 3) change can occur at many points or phases of development (the nodes of the tree), but 4) the longer a pathway is followed the more difficult change becomes and change is constrained by prior paths “chosen” (those early intervention/prevention is encouraged); 5) pathology is the product of the entire history of successive adaptations.
  • 0 avatar Merrilee Gibson 04.05.2011 13:34
    Thank you SO MUCH. I have read much attachment theory literature, am a big fan of Ainsworth's work as well. I am currently working on my Doctoral dissertation, a case study involving attachment issues, using Rogers' client-centered approach. As I listened today, I had one of those "Aha!" moments, appreciating the connection between quality of attachment relationships, with quality of therapeutic relationship, which is a main concern for a Rogerian therapist. Thank you, you have helped me with perspective on this case and on the Dissertation. It was a GREAT PRIVILEGE to hear Dr. Sroufe in person. I have read quite a lot of his work, and do have The Development of the Person.. I look forward to coming weeks.
  • 0 avatar Evelyn Duesbury 04.05.2011 13:43
    I greatly appreciated Dr. Sroufe's comprehensive coverage. His concentration on developmental attachment was extremely important in changing my perception of attachment theory. Alan's comment that early attachment experiences are not accessible to early memory inspires me, as one who works with the qualitative evidence of dream reports, to inquire whether you have considered dreams about family of origin as sources of early memory.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 16:43
      Hi Evelyn:

      I find dreams completely fascinating but I have never linked them to my research. Someone who is steeped in attachment theory and who wrote a fascinating book on dreams is Louis Breger.
  • 0 avatar Donna Vogeler-Boutin 04.05.2011 13:59
    Relative to military and PTSD. It would be worthwhile for the military to understand their recruits attachment and their ability to handle a rough patch in life - i.e. real combat. Perhaps the high suicide rates could be avoided with Command understanding secure attachment.
  • Not available avatar Esther Finglass 04.05.2011 16:01
    I would like Dr. Sroufe's opinion about the effects of repeated separations during infancy on attachment, particularly in the context of divorce and overnight visitation, and information about relevant empirical data.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 16:47
      Hi Esther:

      I have lots of opinions, but I direct you to FAMILY COURT REVIEW
      July 2011, edited by Jenn McIntosh, that will have full coverage of this
  • 0 avatar Judith Gulko 04.05.2011 17:05
    I am fortunate to be quite familiar with attachment theory, having stumbled upon it and ethology in graduate school (to this day King Solomon's Ring by Konrad Lorenz remains one of my favorite books). So I appreciated that I learned anything today, and indeed that I learned so much. Dr. Sroufe, I have been reflecting all afternoon on your emphasis on the pathways model of development and experience, and that inherent in attachment theory is the interweaving of accounting for a host of systems and variables, e.g. psychological, biological and social.
    I would love to see the pictures you mentioned.
    As a psychotherapist who uses EMDR, which in addition to being mindful of the attunement in the therapeutic relationship, taps into nonverbal "mind/body" experiences and beliefs which, guided by attachment theory, seem to be due to early insecure attachment, I am privileged to witness the healing of the unarticulatable, yet deeply held belief/experiences - particularly around worthiness, which you specifically mentioned - and the movement towards positive outcomes.
    Finally, I enjoyed that a seminar on attachment was not just one talking head, but a conversation. It was fun to notice the tiny mis and re attunements between you two as you discussed the "science of attunment."
    Coral Springs, Florida
  • 0.1 avatar Geraldine Nekrosius 04.05.2011 18:29
    I work with children who have been removed from their homes, had several foster placements, and psychiatric hospitalization (ages 4-12). I wonder what are the most important things we can do to help these children in their relationship to school and teachers?
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 14:47
      Hi Geraldine:

      I believe you would find some useful information in what is called "The Handbook of Attachment Research..., published by Guilford and edited by Cassidy and Shaver. See especially the chapter by Dozier.
  • Not available avatar Mary Kelleher, LMFT 04.06.2011 12:33
    Dr. Sroufe,
    Thank you. I was lucky enough to take a class with you and consult with you on a case of two sisters in a failed adoption about three years ago. I have found that what little I knew about attachment through you and through Susan Johnson's work with adults has shaped my clinical practice and allowed me to have extraordinary experiences in practice with individuals with cluster B personality disorders. This is incredibly powerful as a tool for change and healing. Thank you and thanks to the Networker for this fine presentation.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 14:50
      Hi Mary:
      There is a training opportunity I would point you to if you would like to email me (srouf001@umn.edu).

  • 0 avatar Marta Cullberg Weston 04.07.2011 16:33
    The program was too basic to keep my interest. As a psychotherapist I knew much more about attachment theory than was presented...too bad..the level of conversation needs to be between professionals...
    Marta Cullberg Weston
    Stockholm, Sweden
  • Not available avatar Kathy Kinskey, M.A., L.P.C. 04.08.2011 10:23
    Thank you very much for this helpful interview with Dr. Sroufe. One of the things he said quite simply but powerfully was about anxious attachment...e.g. When baby does not greet mother when she returns—this is an example of a baby who is anxiously attached. He then went on to note that...
    This is including those who are pushed toward precocious independence...these will later be more dependent.
    This statement is an important and strong reminder for the western cultural collective consciousness of pushing children to be more, do more, know more earlier...rather than attuning to, allowing and meeting their needs fully at each stage of development with sensitivity. I am very much looking forward to his book. Thank you for your work Dr. Sroufe...such an amazing study...35 years! An incredibly important and needed gift of concrete awareness to our field.
  • Not available avatar Robin Barto 04.08.2011 11:59
    Loved the presentation. One comment I have is that Attachment Theory wasn't really defined. Seemed that the assumption was everyone understood the theory. I understand it from an attachment cycle view where infants develop trust or not. Also as in relation to an attachment continuum from stressed attachment to RAD. My question is do these components of Attachment fit with this first the presenter's views?

    I really liked the view that attachment isn't linear and how a development perspective was emphasized..
    • Not available avatar Kathy Baldwin 04.10.2011 13:33
      Exploration of RAD would be a perfect follow-up to this series of Attachment webinars.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 14:58
      Hi Robin:
      The Bowlby/Ainsworth theory is both about how attachments are formed and the variations in quality of attachment among those who receive ongoing care from a particular person (a huge percentage in our society). There are unattached children (reared in institutions) and not yet attached children (recently adopted). But for most children, including abused children, attachment strength is not the issue. The problem with RAD is that extraordinarily few home reared children meet criteria; yet a substantial portion of child problems have there roots in attachment histories. Thus, DSM has paradoxically obscured the role of attachment by sequestering attachment issues into this single category.
  • Not available avatar Jude Asphar 04.08.2011 12:36
    To Rich Simon and Alan Sroufe -- Gentlemen:

    I am touched by, and deeply appreciative of, the opportunity to experience the integrity and commitment of who you (both) are. I come at these most profound and far-reaching topics of attachment as an environmental advocate. One who is aghast at the level of polarization and utter dysfunction of the current US political system. A system that decrees our relationship to the natural systems on which our lives -- all life -- depends.

    Just one example with titanic ramifications: In this moment, the future of the Environmental Protection Agency is in question. It’s mandate covers the elements from which we are composed: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the fire/warmth of climate; and the quality of the earth on which we stand and that produces our food.

    Our ‘addiction’ to lives lived via fossil fuels -- oil, coal, gas -- is threatening those very elements essential for our survival.

    A BIG question: could it not be said that addiction -- personal and collective -- is a sign of a mis-appropriated attachment? A compensatory relationship to matter, to material/mater/mother? The very thing that results in our relationship -- or lack of it, i.e., lack of attunement -- to Mother Earth?

    Do you know of any person or organization addressing such root psychological causes of the human behavior that threatens the future of our species? Is anyone talking about our survival? about adaptation?!

    • Not available avatar Roia Rafieyan 04.10.2011 18:33
      Jude, you raise a very interesting question (particularly regarding our relationship to earth)- one I don't think I've ever really considered and about which I now plan to think. Thank you.

      I don't know if you're aware of a branch of psychology called ecopsychology (if it's old news to you, my apologies). I wonder if that might be an area where you could find some of the answers you seek. http://www.ecopsychology.org/
      • Not available avatar Scot Liepack 04.16.2011 11:02
        Check out the work of Paul Shepard, especially his book Mind and Nature. In college he completely shaped me to where I am today and his work is a magnificent prequel to all of this.
    • 0 avatar Jane King 04.11.2011 01:18
      Jude, thank you for your thought provoking mention of survival and adaptation and placing it into a broader global context. I find the study of attachment fascinating for this very reason. The study of attachment can spiral the mind onward, upward and out ward-in all directions!

      I've been studying Patricia Crittenden's Dynamic Maturation Model (DMM). Her approach to attachment is in understanding attachment as a self-protective, adaptation to danger. In this light, anxious attachment is seen as necessary for survival. This greatly changes ideas in working with children and families and, I find, promotes understanding and compassion. Instead of trying to change behavior and create security, one works harder to understand the danger and increase safety - physical or psychological.

      Crittenden incorporates Bronfenbrenner's theory of social ecology into the DMM. This involves a nested system theory where the systems of global, political, community and family, interact in a transactional way effecting individual outcomes.

      Perhaps, we, in the West, have been feeling very safe and not giving any thought to our Mother! Of course, this could change at any moment. We are never really secure ...but always needing to adapt. That's life!
      • 0 avatar Nicole Letourneau 04.20.2011 15:20
        Glad to hear about Crittenden's DMM...She was another of Ainsworth's students and has contributed alot to our understanding of attachment as developmental and maturational.
  • Not available avatar V. Borges 04.08.2011 12:57
    I am a big fan of attachment theory and you helped me to clean up my understanding of the relationship between temperament and attachment. I especially liked what you said about ALL temperaments being capable of secure attachment. Your discussion of emotional regulation and early relationships was also very informative. Great presentation.
  • Not available avatar Dr. Gabrielle Guedet, MFT 04.08.2011 14:28
    thank you so much for speaking our language - I have woked with children and families for over 20 years & it is refreshing to hear you re-affirm thoughts/notions I have presented to parents/students/interns over time - hank you for your work & your words
  • 0 avatar Traci Withrow 04.09.2011 09:42
    Helpful information about temperament - great reminder that not all relationships that initially appear "insecure" are so! Babies come with their own temperament which combined with mother's results in a vast array of attachment styles!
  • Not available avatar Renee Segal, LAMFT 04.09.2011 10:59
    Thank you very much for this presentation. I learned a lot. Here is what stood out for me: That attachment is the framework of a person and not more important than other things but part of personality, it isn't static and is based on attunement.
    I was thinking of my work with couples and wondering how I can get them to be more attuned with one another.
    I liked the comment about humans running TO a person rather than into a whole. I also agree that safety comes from being connected to others. I see a lot of clients who are fearful of being alone. Finally, I apprecated his comments on that a person's developmental history also affects the circumstances that a person puts themselves into.
    Rich, I think that I have learned more from these webinars than I did in the 2 years of grad school. They are a gift! Thank you!!
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:03
      Hi Renee:

      I am familiar with an attachment-based training program for clinicians that may be of interest to you. If you would like to hear about it you might email me (srouf001@umn.edu).
  • Not available avatar Audrey Bloom 04.09.2011 12:00
    I am so helped as a therapist by these webinairs and in aprticular to have attachment theory explained, what it is and what it isn't. In this particular one I found Rich
    asking questions and re-directing Alan before he finished
    a thought or concept. I would have liked for Rich to wait until Alan made a complete statement, it was distracting and left loose ends.
  • 0 avatar Barbara Stern 04.09.2011 18:25
    Thank you so much for this marvelous presentation. I have always believed that positive early attachment experiences were a key to child's sense of security and self worth since i worked with midwives and others, taught early parenting classes and now work with teenagers and their families. I have seen resilience over and over again and I believe that we can teach social/emotional skills in schools if the teacher/counselor is relational in her approach.

    I am now working on helping young couples address their own attachment issues as part of preparation for the birth of their baby so that they will be more likely to be responsive and sensitive caregivers as they attune to their new baby. Do you know of others who are interested in this preventive approach? Thanks again.
    Barbara Stern,LMFT
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 16:57

      Two people who have done great work on this question are Phil and Carolyn Cowan at UC Berkeley. You can google them and find this work easily
  • Not available avatar Gail Smith LCSW 04.09.2011 20:00
    Thank you for another thought provoking webinar. The information was readily understood and I often found myself smiling or nodding my head in agreement.
  • Not available avatar Ellen Ranney, LMFT 04.10.2011 12:26

    I was so pleased to hear Dr. Sroufe's presentation, having "discovered" his book Emotional Development while writing my 1995 dissertation. Thank you for clarifying the disputed points of Attachment Theory so effectively.
    During the discussion, I was struck with the idea that Marcia's Identity Achievement research relies on the presence or absence of Exploration prior to Commitment as the axis elements necessary to the successful negotiation of (Ericson's) Identity Crisis Stage. This seems to echo the the Attachment/Exploration components of the current discussion.
    Be assured the recent Networker issue is close at hand in my work with students and supervisees, and keep the wonderful webinars coming! (St. Louis, MO)
  • Not available avatar Marcy 04.10.2011 12:50
    Am intrigued by this study and look forward to reading this book. I found the format frustrating for this "chat". I think it would be better for the presenters to work from a list of thoughtful clarifying questions and speak to those as most of us watching are sophisticated. The questions being brought up seemed colloquial and time consuming and distracting. However presenting a series like this is a blessing. Please just focus more closely on differences between research and salience to clinical practice. Thanks.
  • Not available avatar Nilofer 04.10.2011 14:45
    Apperciated the comment, "resilience is a developemntal process" in relation to "expression of genes influenced by (current) experience. So there goes the notion or the tug of war between gentics "or" environmental, or which determines who we are?
    Thanks for the Webinar series.
  • Not available avatar Beth 04.10.2011 17:47
    I would very much like to see the pictures mentioned related to assessing attachment at different stages. This presentation was comprehensive and helpful. Thank you.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 17:07
      Hi Beth:

      I don't quite no what pictures you are referring to, but if you email me I'll see if I can help you
  • Not available avatar Anne 04.10.2011 19:01
    As a result of your excellent initial session, I will be thinking about the intersection of Attachment Theory with Relational-Cultural Theory(originated with Jean Baker Miller et. al.). My 30+ years of clinical work have been based on the centrality of the therapeutic relationship to the client's healing. Thank you.
  • Not available avatar Pat Kunstenaar, PhD 04.10.2011 22:44
    Very interesting - nice review and compelling around predictability from early assessment - especially as I observe my 8 week old twin grand babies and the attunement they enjoy from their parents.
  • Not available avatar Fonda Lewis 04.10.2011 22:53
    As a graduate student, I have been independently studying a great deal about Bowlby's Attachment Theory, as well as it's impact on other theories and clinical applications.

    I was curious as to whether there has been any extensive research done on how divorce effects a child's attachment. If a child was securely attached as an infant, would a divorce that occurred when they were a toddler effect the quality of their attachment with their primary caregiver?

    Thank you for this series. I'm very much looking forward to the future broadcast.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 17:13
      Hi Fonda:
      I direct you to FAMILY COURT REVIEW, July 2011, edited by Jenn McIntosh, that will have full coverage of this. It is a complicated matter with no simple answers, but some good thinking has been done. One thing that follows from our work is that were a child securely attached prior to the divorce that should serve as a protective factor.
  • Not available avatar Johan Cloete 04.11.2011 02:14
    I'm a narrative therapist very much 'attched' to the social constructivist ideas of language and this webinar made a lot of sense to me. The things I have written that caught my attention are:
    'Humans do not run to a place when they are scared - they run to a person'
    'Early experience initiates a path and frames subsequent encounters with the world.
    'Relationships influence the development of the brain.'
    'When people respond to your needs you discover that you are somebody.'
    'To be sensitive does not mean to have a thin skin, but it means to do the things that others need.'
    'The main ingredients for change are relationships'
    'Prior development constrains the ability to chnage'

    Thank you for the webinar.

    Johan Cloete
    South Africa
  • Not available avatar vicki gordon 04.11.2011 06:20
    I am a clinincal psychologist in Melbourne Australia, and thought I would listen while I was working on other things. I was very impressed, actually stopped and took notes, it was a wonderful lecture, really crystallized some of the attachment and neurobiology concepts that are emerging at the moment. Thoroughly enjoyed it, Thank You.
  • Not available avatar Marty Sullivan 04.11.2011 10:24
    Attachment theory seems to oversimplify the issue of relationships. Of course relationships are important, but is the attachment as an infant and very young chid the driving force for future mental health put forward by attachment theorists? Dr. Srouge's longitudinal study merits extra attention since it purports this to be the case. My own thoughts are that early infants, whose brains are still undeveloped, can withstand a host of conditions as long as they are not abused or neglected. Despite Dr. Srouge's denial, attachment theory does seem to blame the caretaker (Mom in most cases) for future mental health problems. I think the case is much more complicated than this. Blaming early attachment is an easy answer that feels right to people but may not be the case. Absent obvious cases of abuse and neglect, esearchers need to look deeper rather than assuming the answer lies in the quality of the attachment to the caretaker (Mom) as an infant.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.12.2011 17:26
      Hi Marty:

      I would like to respond to a couple of your points, because they are so important. In a short presentation it is hard to get across the complexity of the theory, but attachment theory certainly does not say that infant attachment determines the rest of one’s life. Our study showed explicitly that later parenting as well as early parenting, relationships with peers at every age, relationships with teachers, coaches and therapists, and adult romantic relationships all were important influences in development. This was precisely articulated in Bowlby’s pathways model. Early attachment is important, but because it initiates a path and impacts one’s later interpretation of and reaction to events, not because it determines outcomes in a linear manner. To give just one example, attachment is important because it impacts early peer relationships, which impact subsequent peer relationships and so forth. This is, in fact, demonstrated empirically.

      As to blaming, the evidence we obtained in our study should keep anyone from blaming parents. Not only is it the case that the infant’s attachment in predictable from the developmental history of the parents, but from their current supports and stresses. Moreover, we found that when stresses and supports change (or parental depression changes), so does the attachment or at a later age the child’s behavior problems. Were I prone to cast blame it would be to our society that is giving too little priority to supporting parents and children.
    • Not available avatar bruce 05.15.2011 22:12
      the cry "you're blaming me" or "you are blaming mothers" is nothing more than an elquent defensive move. It's complicated to explain, so bear with me. The person who uses this defence is defending against the belief that evidence of their imperfection means that they are inherently evil. Therefore any suggestion that they could do something different and have a different out come is intollerable. They protect themselves by making the researcher evil because they are "blaming" them. The researcher is simply reporting what they observe (hopefully).
      So the "you're blaming me" defense has the effect of silencing/discreditting/vilifying the researcher as doctors and genetics rush to the rescue of the "poor victim parent". I have too admire such a clever move, it is amazing.
      A person who is able to accept that they are imperfect has not fear of negative feedback on their performance. The really wonderful thing about attachment is that a change in parental behavior/attitudes/beliefs can have a possitive impact on their children's mental health at any point in their lives, because parents remain important through every stage of life.
  • Not available avatar Debra Ragen-Coffman 04.11.2011 10:34
    Thank you for this excellent presentation. I have attended several lectures on Attachment Theory. Dr. Sroufe's ability to present the key elements of the theory, to summarize the findings from current research, and to synthesize the implications for clinical treatment distinguish this presentation from all the others that I have heard.

    My primary theoretical orientation is British Object Relations (Klein, Winnicott, Bion). Attachment theorists and Object Relations Theorists agree that early experiences with relationship - attachment - establish a template upon which ongoing development proceeds. In Dr. Sroufe's view, what are the major differences or disagreements between Attachment theorists and Object Relations theorists?
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:18
      Dear Debra:
      Attachment theory and object relations positions are indeed very simpatico. They get to almost exactly the same place; however, they get there in quite distinctive ways. In O-R theory, one the infant first cathects a “part-object” (the breast) and only in time, by extension, recognizes the mother and forms a relationship with her. In Bowlby’s theory, the relationship is primary (though at first of course orchestrated by the parent) and the self emerges in the context of the relationship. The organization of the self is forecast by the organization of the relationship the parent crafts. Bowlby’s theory not only takes a more direct path to relationships but is testable. I don’t know how one can test object relations theory, however much I resonate with the ideas of especially Bollas, Hamilton, and Fairbairn. I would add that Bowlby was especially negative about Melanie Klein's ideas since they were so removed from the actual experience of infants which is central in Bowlby's theory.
  • 0 avatar Bonnie Anderson 04.11.2011 15:19
    Excellent workshop. I have specialized in working with families and couples using the concepts of Bowen family systems. I learned in greater detail the elements of attachment theory and how it can be integrated into my work. I especially enjoyed the interaction between two outstanding professionals. I look forward to the next session.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:21
      Hi Bonnie:
      If you are interested in further exposure regarding how these two positions might be complementary, you might email me (srouf001@umn.edu)
  • Not available avatar Edwin Miller LPC LMFT LADC 04.11.2011 17:01
    Attachment theory has been an important understanding as I have worked with adults seeking change in their lives. I expecially appreciated the emphasis on all life experience as well as early experience. As a systemiic therapist, I appreciated the emphasis on relationship as the focus - secure attachment is about the security of relationships, or the lack of security. I appreciated Dr Sroufe's recalling of Bowlby's comment that the therapist offers the client a secure base from which to explore change.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:22
      Hi Edwin:
      I know of a training experience that might be of interest to you if you wish to email me (srouf001@umn.edu)
      • Not available avatar A Sroufe 04.14.2011 16:03
        Thank you. I am interested in training to increase my effectiveness.
        Edwin Miller
  • Not available avatar Mindy Loiselle 04.11.2011 19:08
    Thanks very much for this scholarly and accessible presentation on attachment theory. It is helpful to ground attachment theory which is often misunderstood as a trait of an individual child. Children are labeled as damaged and without the possibility of change because they are "attachment disordered" or even "unattached". I am grateful to Dr. Stroufe's for emphasizing and anchoring attachment as relational and developmental.
  • 0 avatar Charlie Love 04.11.2011 19:39
    Great Information! The couples I see in Imago Relationship therapy, who stay in therapy long enough, begin to develop a more secure attachment through responsive-sensitive responsives from thier partners. This is contingent their ability to receive coaching and theraputic interventions when triggered. I thought Alan did a great job though his explaination of his research and how important our responsive-senitive behaviors are with our clients.
    Charlie Love
    Austin, Tx.
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:24
      Hi Charlie:
      I know of a training that may be of interest to you if you would like to email me (srouf001@umn.edu)
  • Not available avatar Sharon Kocina 04.11.2011 19:44
    This was a good place to start this series. It was a good overview of atttachment.
    Thank you for the ability to increase the size of the screen. It was easier to read the presenter's slides.
  • Not available avatar Jackie Thornton 04.11.2011 20:49
    This was AWESOME information and a lot to digest. It has helped me to understand the difference in attachment and development as well as helped me to understand why change can be so difficulty. I am going to enjoy this series. Thank you for doing this it is wonderful.
  • Not available avatar jayne weatherbe 04.11.2011 22:51
    I was impressed and interested in the research about attachment and the way the research accounted for social class - studying poor people what a good idea. i will revisit these ideas and research. I wonder what the next spaewkers will add. Some will be very different in their outcomes. Very interesting, Good food for thought.
  • Not available avatar Yetta Zelikovitz LCSW 04.12.2011 00:48
    I appreciate your webinars so much! As much as I have read about attachment theory, I found this presentation fascinating and I look forward to learning more about this very important research study. The concept of what allows change to occur [for the better] is very interesting for us as clinicians to follow in depth. Can Dr. Sroufe write an article in the networker delving into this particular point? Rich, you ask some interesting questions, but I get frustrated when there are too many lengthy interruptions. rather than letting the presenter present naturally at his own pace. [you can prepare a written list of salient points that you want included in the presentation, for the presenter beforehand - so that these points would be covered in the order that the presenter feels comfortable with] I deeply appreciate this whole project, Rich, and feel that we all gain immeasurably from learning from such high quality presenters. Thank you for all the hard work that goes into this amazing series of series!
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:27
      Hi Yetta:
      Not likely that I will be asked to write another Networker article, but I know of a training that specifically addresses your question. If you would like to find out about it, email me (srouf001@umn.edu).
  • Not available avatar Karen Sommerfeld, Ph.D. 04.12.2011 11:23
    My interns and I really enjoyed Dr. Sroufe's presentation and fully agree with Attachment Theory as Evidence-Based. I appreciate that there is also much common-sense overlap with other theoretical perspectives. We look forward to the full series.
  • 0 avatar Mauricio Cortina 04.13.2011 11:44
    As we have come to expect, Alan has done a masterful job of presenting basic concepts of attachment with a simplicity that belies its complexity and depth. One area that did not get discussed (given time constrains it would have been impossible to do so) is the enormous importance of the discovery of disorganized attachment, and how parents with a history of unresolved trauma transmit the trauma (not invariably) to the next generation. Understanding the parents development history and circumstances is one way to not blame them. The other area that is of great utility for clinicians of what has been learned through the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), namely that coherent or incoherent narratives in the AAI predict the type of relationships parents will develop with their children. The combination of building a coherent developmental history that integrates positive with negative attachment experiences by providing a save haven and secure base to our clients is often a powerful tool for change. Thanks for a wonderful beginning
    • Not available avatar sroufe 04.13.2011 15:30
      Mauricio, mi amigo!
      Yes, alas, discussion of disorganization and trauma and the AAI was cut out of our article as well. But is people would like some pieces on this they can email me at srouf001@umn.edu
  • Not available avatar Greg Thompson MA LMHC 05.28.2011 13:32
    I appreciated listening to the Alan Sroufe's ideas based on the amazing work done in the Minnesota Longitudinal studies on attachment. I am a therapist working with a variety of clients in community mental health, particularly with young boys or men. I often see a young boy's who seem to be sometimes bold with a dismissive style (like a bully) or boys who are withdrawn but also with a dismissive style. The avoidant/dismissive attitude seems to have been predicted from an early environment of neglect or caregiver present but dissociated or depressed. It looks to me though that maybe the 'temperament', whether aggressive or timid/withdrawing modifies the dismissive attachment style. Does this make sense? In either case it seems that my job is to help them trust and appreciate the benefits of empathic connection, and for me to provide them with that in the relationship I have with them?
  • Not available avatar Nick Child, Scotland 06.02.2011 14:19
    Hi Rich and Alan

    I am becoming attached to your webinars - even though I only get to see them by paying up and downloading much later when they are just as lively as live. Is the "downloading later but just as lively" a kind of description of what we do with our attachment representations?! And the present context is different so what we hear and learn may be different each time. An argument for paying up for long term re-downloading if ever there was!

    When I was a baby child psychiatrist I was meant to read Bowlby's books, but they looked too big and serious for me! So I've winged it over the years. I also got put off by attachment seeming to be too theoretical, too simplistic (despite the size of the books I had not read!!), too scientific or behavioral almost and anti-psychoanalytical. I thought the word attachment was too mechanical sounding for relationships.

    Now I'm a family therapist and older (and with kids and grandkids of my own) I think attachment is a very good word for the strong emotional bonds we have with all our nearest and dearest. I also have a growing respect for all the many things that Bowlby did - including the first clear description of family therapy (if you read this 1949 paper for example - view it here:


    Not sure who in the UK picked this up afterwards, and it was in the US that FT developed over the next 20 years. I have also seen Sue Johnson's stuff that shows how attachment patterns are just as vivid and useful to therapy in adult attachments.

    So what a delight to have a comprehensive update delivered so clearly in one hour - oh ok, 68 minutes - and most unusually to find that the great originator of 60 years ago is still praised for the careful quality of his thinking then. Is there any field where the originator has not been gently buried by better disciples?!!

    So, thanks again and au revoir.


    PS Just checked. Paste the long URL in your browser and you can read the Bowlby article.
  • Not available avatar besa 09.24.2011 07:29
    hi stroufe,,,

    I am a student of psychology on master degree, asn \i am planing to do master thesis,,I red a lot about attachment theory but still don't have an idea what hypothesis can I test for my thesis,, what has not been done an who is a need to work on...If you can give me some direction oh which topic to focus on attachment,,all the best,,, besaa
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