Practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties
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Practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties. BRGS 24 February 2010 Presenter: Francis Taylor. Resources. Bomber, L. M. (2007 ) Inside I’m Hurting (Practical Strategies for Supporting Children with Attachment Difficulties in School ). London: Worth Publishing.

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Practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties

Practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties

BRGS

24 February 2010

Presenter: Francis Taylor


Resources

Resources

  • Bomber, L. M. (2007) Inside I’m Hurting (Practical Strategies for Supporting Children with Attachment Difficulties in School). London: Worth Publishing.

  • Geddes, H. (2006) Attachment in the Classroom. London: Worth Publishing

  • Perry, A. (Ed) (2009) Teenagers and Attachment. (Helping Adolescents Engage with Life and Learning) London: Worth Publishing.


What do we mean by attachment

What do we mean by attachment?

Attachment is the process by which new born children develop a close bond with their carers and in doing so learn how to adequately regulate their own feelings, relationships and behaviour.

If children do not form a secure attachment they can still learn these skills from significant adults later on in life.


Basic developmental needs

Basic Developmental Needs

The five building blocks of any adult-child relationship are:

  • Contingency

  • Reflective dialogue

  • Repair

  • Emotional Communication

  • Coherent Narratives (Siegel, 2003)


The effects of insecure attachments

The effects of insecure attachments

(1) Undeveloped sense of self leading to:

  • Lack of awareness of own processes and there impact on others

  • Under or over reactions to events

  • Overly flexible boundaries or rigid boundaries

  • Fail to learn from experience

  • Over control or poor control of their environment


The effects of insecure attachments1

The effects of insecure attachments

(2) Problems in relationships caused by:

  • Lack of trust in self or others

  • Inability to see others point of view or over identification

  • Difficulty differentiating truth from fiction

  • Unpredictable or over predictable behaviour

  • Inappropriate hostility or over familiarity


The effects of insecure attachments2

The effects of insecure attachments

(3) Difficulties in school caused by:

  • Inability to cope with change or repetition

  • Poor organisational/predictive skills

  • Difficulty in accepting and complying with school rules and procedures

  • Poor concentration and/or listening skills

  • Inconsistency in responses

  • Failing to engage or make best use of resources


Types of attachment

Types of Attachment

  • Secure Attachment

    A child who is securely attached to her carers believes that,

    “Adults are reliable and helpful. I know that I can trust them..I find it easy to trust you and others. I am ok if you are with me and busy doing things. You find me relatively easy to relate to.” ( Bomber p.27)


Types of attachment1

Types of Attachment

(2) Avoidant Attachment Style

“ Adults are rejecting and intrusive. When I meet you I will avoid and ignore you and look after myself. I won’t be asking you for help no matter what I face. Love? Care? Why would I trust you? You have no idea what I need.” (Bomber p.30)


Types of attachment2

Types of Attachment

(3) Ambivalent Attachment Style:

“Adults are unpredictable. I have to draw attention to myself to get you to notice me and to make sure I get my needs met. I can’t rely on you working out what I need. Sometimes you will feel like I’m in your face, but I can’t bear to be ignored, that’s terrifying.” (Bomber p.30)


Types of attachment3

Types of Attachment

(4) Disorganised Attachment Style.

“Adults are either frightening by being abusive or frightened because they seem so scared and helpless. I don’t know whether to approach you or runaway from you. I feel confused. I’m bad. What is going on? Why should I trust you? Who knows what will happen next?” (Bomber p.35)


Developing your relationship

Developing your relationship

The aims of your relating style are to develop

  • Trust through consistency

  • Understanding of feelings through attunement.

  • Self esteem through acceptance

  • Effectiveness and agency through engagement (Bomber p.85)


Strategies for developing relationships

Strategies for developing relationships

  • Attending to the child. (Bomber p 86)

    Take notice of how each child responds to:

  • Physical and/or eye contact

  • Tone of voice, facial expression, proximity, initiating contact, mirroring

  • Timing, location, intensity and reciprocity of communication


Strategies for developing relationships1

Strategies for developing relationships

Attending to the child. Continued..

Tentativelywonder out loud about what you think might be going on inside the child.

Do this ABSOLUTELY NON JUDGEMENTALLY!!

Be careful whether the child feels intruded on – do you need to distance the comment?

Always accept the child’s view of your comment and sometimes share your different view.


Strategies for developing relationships2

Strategies for developing relationships

Adjusting our Relationship Style – helping children find the balance between AUTONOMY and DEPENDENCY (p.89)

  • For the avoidant child we will need to help them to be more dependent.

  • For the ambivalent child we will need to help them be more independent

  • We will have to persist with the disorganised child


Strategies for developing relationships3

Strategies for developing relationships

Providing Emotional Containment (p.93)

We need to help children with feelings that overwhelm them and contaminate their learning experiences.

We do this by showing them we are not fazed by their emotions, we can tolerate them and we can think on their behalf.

The children will learn from our example.


Strategies for developing relationships4

Strategies for developing relationships

Keeping Them in Mind (p.95)

So that children know we have them in mind we can personalise a lot of contact through:

  • Sensory reminders

  • Touch and Eye contact

  • Reassurance

  • Physical presence

  • Playfulness


Strategies for developing relationships5

Strategies for developing relationships

  • Commenting on your process and their process in non judgemental ways (p.95)

  • Creating opportunities for them to practice new tasks and skills, e.g. Asking for help(p.99)

  • Communicate empathy and hope, especially when you can personalise examples (p.104)

  • Plan ahead around key events, anniversaries and known stressful experiences. (p.109)


Bibliography

Bibliography

  • Siegel, D. J. (2003) An Interpersonal Neurobiology of Psychotherapy. In Solomon, M. F. and Siegel, D. (Eds) Healing Trauma:Attachment Mind Body Brain. New York: W.W. Norton.


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