Psychology Essay: Importance Of Secure Attachment
This assessment task provides you with an opportunity to focus on key information related to the topics that are most relevant to your area of nursing/midwifery practice and/or of interest you as a health professional.
Background: Hypothetically you have been asked to give an in-service presentation to a group of nursing/midwifery colleagues on: 1) the importance to the infant/child/adolescent of forming a secure attachment to their parent(s)/primary caregiver(s), and 2) how health professionals can promote secure attachment when caring for infants/children/adolescents and their families.
1. Write a handout in psychology essay format to provide to colleagues to accompany your in-service presentation. In this essay handout:
a. Identify your audience (for example, registered nurses in general, midwives, neonatal intensive care nurses, paediatric nurses).
b. Include four (4) key points in which you discuss the importance of secure attachment to infants/children/adolescents and how health professionals can promote and support it.
The NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the first step for the foundation of such child care for developing a secure attachment. The primary importance of biological as well as the psychological health of the infant has been considered for long as a key principle for the medical discipline that deals with such children involving behavioural paediatrics, psychiatry of infants, psychology of the child, development of psychoanalysis and very recently it has also been included in studies related to the mental health of infants. Secure attachment is often seen as a sign of initial interaction between a maturing biological organism and society's environment that impacts the mental health of an infant(Kuo et al., 2019). The interaction between caregivers and the infant also plays a vital role in the socio-emotional development of the infants.
Secure attachment is an exceptional relationship between the primary caretaker and the infant. It is one of the most critical factors responsible for organising an infant's brain and how such infant grows up emotionally, socially, physically, and intellectually(Elliott, 2021). Such a secure attachment bond originates from a wordless exchange of emotions that draws both the infant and the caregiver together. Such an attachment always fosters a feeling of safety and calmness in the infant. This helps to ensure the ideal development of the infant's nervous system. A proper level of secure attachment offers an infant a robust foundation for life. It helps develop trust, vigorous self-awareness, keenness to learn and contemplation for others.
Importance of Secure Attachment
It has been found through various researches that the brain of an infant is pre-designed so that it can adapt itself to a specific level of neurology at par with the quality of such initial relationships that can actually explain the environment of such early level of caregiving (Dagan &Sagi?Schwartz, 2021). Such flexibility remains permanently, excluding instances of tremendous trauma. The brain remains at the best level of adaptability and responsiveness during the growth phase, up to the age of 3 years. During this time, the fundamental architecture of brain development remains at the topmost level. This architecture of brain development gets greatly influenced by such factors of secure attachment. It has been derived through various studies that if a brain is compelled to adapt and adjust to any maltreatment, then it would have an entirely different type of responses compared to a brain that has experienced love, a caring family setting, and secure attachment as a whole (Woodhouse et al., 2019).Though it is highly challenging for healthcare professionals in planning interventions, however, they can support by assessing vital signs, neurological injury, oxygen and ventilation levels, and so on. They can also provide considerable psychological support.
Countering Neglect and Trauma
Any insecure or disorganised attachment occurs primarily out of parents who are primarily suffering multiple emotional issues that remain unresolved for a more extended time from their past. As a result, such parents are hardly left with any mental space they can offer to their baby as they are in a state of threat. Such infants are organically driven to pursue safety via their intimacy with the caregiver. However, whenever such intimacy gets compromised, there occurs a contradiction between the psychology and biology of the child. In such a case, if the fear originated from the parent and this might become an outcome of neglect, the contradiction of avoidance versus approach remains unresolved. No foreseeable solution can be offered, and the faith of the child on worldly relationships with their caregiver and parents gets destroyed to a great extent(Huth-Bocks et al., 2022). Lack of proper secure attachment leaves the infant with no clear means of relating to others. It clearly indicates that such congenial caregiving environment is essential for proper development of secure attachment among infants which subsequently prepares the child to develop the necessary traits and skills that would help them to counter neglect and trauma in the latter part of their lives.A healthcare professional such as nurses or midwives can considerably assist in countering neglect and trauma by way of psychological support.
Regulation of Stress
Such secure attachment helps to create a special bond of attachment between mother and the infant. In this context, the process of development is the outcome of the interaction of some specific genetic bequest within a specific atmosphere of adaptiveness and particularly when such interaction takes place between the most important figure of the infant's environment which is the mother. So, in order to understand the biological, social and psychological capacities of the infant, it is very important to understand that how the relationship between the infant and mother shapes secure attachment between the two of them. This mechanism of attachment always helps the infant to form a secure tie of sensitive communication with the mother(Williams & Turner, 2020). This helps the infant to develop a permanent capacity for regulating and generating conducive conditions for maintaining emotional security which plays a vital role in stress regulation of the infant. Such secure attachment also helps in improving the capacity of coping and adaptiveness as both of these factors are extremely beneficial for betterment of the mental health of an infant.Healthcare professionals can play a pivotal role in supporting clients with such issues by way of regulating stress.
Influence of Synchrony
Since birth the infant continues to expand the capacities of coping for interacting with the surrounding social environment. Synchrony between the infant and the mother is denoted as a match between the activities of the infant and the mother promoting mutuality and positivity between the two. The health professionals who work in the NICU should take special care in ensuring that such activities of synchrony are consistently practiced and promoted between the mother and the infant. Such matrix of mutual interaction between infant and mother helps to foster secure attachment by improving such synchrony of stimulation and social attention.Healthcare professionals can have significant role to play in influencing synchrony by providing specific psychological care.
Based on the above discussion it can be concluded that the development of secure attachment improves the part of the infant's brain that is responsible for communication, emotional and social development and also to promote relationships in the most suitable manner(Petrowski et al., 2019). Such a bond of secure attachment enables the infant to trust the mother, who is the main caregiver for the infant and eventually teaches the baby to trust others as well. So, secure attachment becomes the cornerstone, based on which the infant starts connecting with others in the healthiest manner.
Dagan, O., &Sagi?Schwartz, A. (2021). Early attachment networks to multiple caregivers: History, assessment models, and future research recommendations. New Directions For Child And Adolescent Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20446
Elliott, D. (2021). Co-creating secure attachment imagery to enhance relational healing. Attachment: New Directions In Psychotherapy And Relational Psychoanalysis, 15(1), 36-55. https://doi.org/10.33212/att.v15n1.2021.36 Huth-Bocks, A., Zakir, N., Guyon-Harris, K., & Waters, H. (2022). Maternal secure base scripts predict child attachment security in an at-risk sample.Psychology essayInfant BehaviorAnd Development, 66, 101658. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101658 Kuo, P., Saini, E., Tengelitsch, E., &Volling, B. (2019). Is one secure attachment enough? Infant cortisol reactivity and the security of infant-mother and infant-father attachments at the end of the first year. Psychology essayAttachment & Human Development, 21(5), 426-444. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2019.1582595
Petrowski, K., Schurig, S., Kirchmann, H., Singh, S., Banse, R., Imhoff, R., & Strauss, B. (2019). Incongruence Between Implicit Attachment Schemes and Unconscious Attachment Representations. Journal Of Nervous & Mental Disease, 207(6), 423-428. https://doi.org/10.1097/nmd.0000000000000987
Williams, L., & Turner, P. (2020). Infant carrying as a tool to promote secure attachments in young mothers: Comparing intervention and control infants during the still-face paradigm. Infant Behavior And Development, 58, 101413. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101413
Woodhouse, S., Scott, J., Hepworth, A., & Cassidy, J. (2019). Secure Base Provision: A New Approach to Examining Links Between Maternal Caregiving and Infant Attachment. Child Development, 91(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13224