2 Απαντήσεις

  1. Ο/Η Dr. Antonios Chasouris λέει:

    Dear Dimitris,

    Kia Ora from New Zealand,

    I am a Greek Specialist Clinical Child Psychologist working in new Zealand. I read the article about Attachment Theory and Bowlby and congrats on the excellent summary and presentation. However, as a clinician, I have an issue with mythology and “bourdology” (to paraphrase the Greek word) when it comes to matter of science. Coming from the Clinical Behavioural Analysis point of view (Kazdin, Grazziano, Lovaas etc.) in child psychology I have always had issues with the mythology of psychoanalytic developmental theory and the unconscious. The response I am putting has nothing to do with you personally and -I want I want to be very clear about this- but with psychoanalysis.

    I would like to make the following points regarding Bowlby:

    1. Initially Bowlby’s theory was ostracised by the psychoanalytical cycles of British psychology (Rutter, 1995). The Anna Freud Centre actually reached the point of denouncing Bowlby and his own psychoalyst urged him to “stop this nonsense”. The main criticism from behaviourists at this time was based on the complexity of social interactions and the limitations of discrete patterns for classifications (in simple words it is unsystematic, vague and simplistic). Additional criticism has to do with the extremely flawed research of Ainsworth leading to a claim of universlity in attachment. Studies in Japan studying the concept of Amae which plays a major role in describing family relationships have not supported Bowlby’s and Ainsworth claims although a newer one in 2007 challenges that. Critics like Kagan, Pinker and Harris, make the obvious point that attachment ia behavioural mechanism for survival and needs to be learned quickly if the infant is to survive. The human infant is very vulnerable (cannot survive at allo if exposed to nature) and nneds to attach to survive. harry Harlow (1930) studying monkeys demonstrated that and actually had correspondence with Bowlby to that effect) adn actually Kagan clearly states that attachment is a response for immediate survival. Harris also rejects the idea of long term effects of early attachments and stresses the significant role of later learned experience. In addition, research from the so called “attachment disorders” has provided evidence that what is actually termed attachment disorder is actually adjustment disorder with anxiety or depressed mood, anxiety disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The Dutch child psychologist DeGroot writes to that effect: “The existence of attachment disorder is pure mythology. The belief that mothers who experience depression cannot attach to their children or attach in a pathological mater in not true. My clinical observation indicate that they can attach as well as healthy mothers”. Harris and Pinker have put forward the argument that the importance of parents in the early days of life is grossly exagerated and they site as evidence that harlow’s experiments where a monkey would attach to any object resembling the furcoat of a monkey of something that provided warmth. One of the main critics of Bowlby’s attachment theory is J. R. Harris. People assume that kind, honest, and respectful parents will have kind, honest, and respectful children and parents that are rude, liars, and disrespectful will have children that are the same way. This may not be the case according to Harris. Harris (1998) believes that parents do not shape their child’s personality or character. A child’s peers have more influence on them than their parents. For example, take children whose parents were immigrants. A child can continue to speak their parent’s native language at home, but can also learn their new language and speak it without an accent, while the parents accent remains. Children learn these things from their peers because they want to fit in (Harris, 1998).

    2. Separate from the criticism, the theoretical model of Bowlby-Ainsworth has limitations: To begin with, the idea that Bowlby was the first one to say that the infant comes to the world with the desire to socialise is not correct as the first who put out that notion was Alfred Adler with his idea of the social interest (Gemeinschftsgefuhl). Bowlby simply took this idea and presented it as his own which I find very distasteful.

    The first limitation is “model attachment is based on behaviors that occur during momentary separations (stressful situations) rather than during nonstressful situations. A broader understanding of attachment requires observation of how the mother and infant interact and what they provide for each other during natural, nonstressful situations” (Field, 1996, p. 543). How children and mothers interact together and not stressed shows more of how the attachment model works than how the child acts when the mother leaves and then returns. Behaviors directed towards the attachment figure during departing and reunion times cannot be the only factors used when defining attachment.

    Another problem with the attachment model is that “the list of attachment behaviors is limited to those that occur with the primary attachment figure, typically the mother. However, other attachments are not necessarily characterized by those same behaviors” (Field, 1996, p. 544). Children have attachments to other people other than their mothers, but they do not show this attachment the same way. For example, children may cry or follow their mother when they are getting ready to leave them, but for a sibling or peer they may just become fussy or unable to sleep. Also, the attachment model behavior list only includes blatant behaviors, but there may be physiological changes during separations and reunions.

    The last limitations to the attachment model is that the mother is viewed as the primary attachment figure, when in fact, a father or sibling can have the same type of attachment with the infant at the same time. This relates to adults having more than one primary attachment, such as to their spouse and child. This leads to the last limitation in the attachment model that “attachment is confined to the infancy and early childhood period, ending, as noted by Bowlby, during puberty. It does not consider attachments that occur during adolescence (the first love), during adulthood (spouses and lovers), and during later life (the strong attachments noted between friends in retirement)” (Field, 1996, p. 545).

    From my clinical point of view and the review of the literature evidence I have come to the easy conclusion that attchment in the Bowlbian sense is mythology. he turned a natural based process necessary for survival into a cloudy and dark unconscious process. The method of study as well in questionable: they create an artificial anxiety situation to separate mother and infant and when the infant is distressed (which is natural as it is programmed to do so and learns to develop that -in the same sense that crying informs of hubger or distresss) they rediscover America and name it insecure attachment. Some common sense should be applied. As a clinician for a public service, I do not like to hear about trauma and unrepairable attachment which takes children to family from the age of 15 months to years and drains families and systems financially while most of the times we talk about behavioural problems, anxiety and the rest for developmental delay and intellectual disability. Actually someone should look at the evidence regarding bonding difficulties that develop after secure attachments because of language disorders. Eleos as we say in Greek.

    Also, all the attachment research and 95% of the training is done in the UK where mothers are notoriously famous fro having difficulty to show affection to their children.

    Attachment theory has no validity Martin said, no scientific evidence Harris charged no myth I will accuse. Not to forget the Zazlow case with his “attachment therapy” which resulted in criminal prosecutions.

    Kind regards

    Dr. Antonios Chasouris MSc MPhil CPsychol RNZPB
    New Zealand

  2. Ο/Η Dr. Antonios Chasouris λέει:

    Kia Ora Dimitri,

    In response to your e-mail which I found refreshing.

    Kia ora Dimitris,

    Sorry for the use English my work computer does not have Greek fonts at all and at home I rarely check e-mails. I know of you from colleagues from Elliniki Etaireia Therapeias tis Symperiforas (EEES) and that is why I decided to comment on your presentation. Personally I am a Clinical Behaviour Analyst/Applied Behaviour Analyst and I only work with children so I have a sensitivity when psychoanalysis is involved. I always believed, and the huge body of empirical evidence supports that, Lazarus, Wolpe, Lovaas, kazdin, Martin, Birnbrauer etc have said it all and proved it all. You say you do not agree with the majority of psychoanalysis I reject psychoanalysis as a whole (otherwise i could be a Cognitive Analytic theorist like Xaralampidis and his little magazaki).

    Bowlby was not a great thinker and actually did not produce anything of his own. These ideas he promoted werefirst described by Alfred Adler in his book “The Troubled Child”. There he disagreess with Freud (later Freud would denounce him like he did with all those who brought new ideas-same as Skinner who was the typical example of a behaviourist dictator whose greatest contribution to psychology was his death-). There he describes the “innate desire of the child to participate in the social environment-the Gemeinschaftsgefuehl, the Social interest-. According to adler, problematic early socialisation had the potential to lead to perveasive pathology later in life. In the 1950’s Harry Harlow was already well known regarding the work with monkeys. If someone is the father of attachment theory this is Harlow (who was a behaviourist!). In addition, in 1957 we have the film of American psychoanalyst and Psychiatrist Spitz “Psychogenic Disease in Infancy” link http://archive.org/details/PsychogenicD (you can download it for free) and several other writers. Bowlby made a slad of those writings and presented them as new (something typical in psychology e.g. Cognitive-Behavioural Theory which is an expansion of Bandura’s and Tollman’s writings).

    Like Rutter, Bowlby is another overrated and boring psychoanalyst who has made a natural process we use for survival and modified by learning, into the typical dynamic/psychodynamic mpourda involving pre-existing structuresetc. you know the theory I will not expand further. Rutter is an intersting case as research has passed him for 2 decades and has disproved most of his work but he is still trying to sell the old story. Especially in autism, no one bothers with him anymore. I have heard lectures of his and if you talk to Uta frith she has some things to say about him.

    My point is that the concepts of attachment 9especially the kinds i.e. secure, ambivalent etc.) are arbitrarily defined (as it is always the case in psychoanalysis) and there is no evidence for their existence. It is liek geometry: There is the axioma which is a given truth you take for granted and then you prove theorems with it (or testing hypotheses). behaviourist research is always inductive i.e. the data generate the hypothesis vs deductive where the hypothesis generate the data. Their so called research generates hypotheses based on axioms i.e. internal structures and attachments styles that are axiomatic and are used to test hypotheses. For example they compare children who are unsecurely attached to children who are securely attached but present no research regarding the existence of these styles. An also I take issue with children being put to attachment treatment for 18 months and stay there for years when their difficulties can be explained with clinically obvious data i.e. anxiety, developmental delay, intellectual disability, abuse, neglect etc.

    I hope we can continue our conversations. I will never accept the unconscious (since when automated responses necessary for everyday functioning are indicative of the Freudian monstrocities?) and therefore psychoanalysis with circles of attachment and circles of stupidity.

    By the way I love your commentary and blog comments and would like to continue a fruitful conversation.

    P.S. I have always been intrigued how the sounding of Freud is so close to Fraud .

    Kind regards

    Dr. Antonios Chasouris

    A devoted enemy of psychoanalytic darkness

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