John Bowlby’s theoretical framework used psychoanalysis, ethology, biology and evolutionary theory it was renowned for being remarkable as a way of theorizing how human beings become social beings through their relationships (Bowlby 1969,1973, 1980) Bowlby’s opinion on attachment theory is that the quality of early years experiences in relationships with caregivers, and the experience of separation and loss of those relationships, shape the self and the quality of later relationships in distinctive ways. This has become an important part of our understanding of individual differences in relationships, not only within families but relationships of all kind. (Schofield, Beek and Sargent, ...view middle of the document...
They are demanding of attention but are resisting at the same time, they are nervous of novel situation and people. The care given to the child is inconsistent and insensitive though not hostile and rejecting. (Ainsworth et al 1978).
Attachment theory is relevant to all aspects of childcare social work for example work with children with disabilities, family support, court work and many more. It also is vital in all stages of the social work processes from referral, through assessment, intervention and review.
Attachment theory helps social workers make sense of service users and respond appropriately and effectively. Theory can help us understand why people behave is they do in stressful and difficult situations. We need to assess the character and quality of people’s relationships. The assessment phase of the social work process is of fundamental importance
As child care social workers continue to define and defend their distinctive psychosocial professional identity in the multi-disciplinary networks around vulnerable children, a knowledgeable and sensitive use of development attachment theory has an important contribution to make.
There is growing evidence that some people are able to develop reasonably well-integrated personality structures in spite of experiencing adverse environments and poor quality relationships in childhood. Poor developmental outcome has been associated with marital disharmony, institutionalization, hostile and rejecting parenting, economic deprivation, maltreatment and war. But in spite of early adversity, the resilient individual goes on to cope appropriately and competently with social relationships, including those with partners and children.
Theorist Fonagy et al (1994:233) stated ‘’Resilience is normal development under difficult conditions’’ Fonagy et al (1994) asked questions to what the characteristics of those children who survive well under difficult circumstances? How do they manage to develop sound social understanding? And how do they build resistance to the risks experienced in their social environment? Fonagy reviewed the literature and identified a large number of defining attributes of resilient children such as a good social and economic environment, absence of early separation or losses, a good warm relationship with at least one caregiver and many more.
Werner and Smith (1982) whose study of resilient children at risk of developing behavior problems showed that children who were very sociable and able to form strong relationships with people outside the immediate family, could reach adulthood without psychological or behavioral mishap. (Howe 1995)
There are three protective mechanisms and strategies to consider...