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  • 0 NP0016 The Great Attachment DebateNP0016, Attachment, Session 6, Allan Schore 06.29.2012 16:31
    I very much enjoyed Alan Shore's presentation on the key importance of the right brain -- ours and our clients'. And from Dan Siegal, it's a relief to know that our brains are wired to connect. I would beg Dr. Shore's indulgence in suggesting that a more interesting vocabulary, and a somewhat different POV on attachment, is offered by the Relational-Cultural Therapy model which has been evolving for several decades at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at Wellesley College. Rather then building on the idea of "secure attachment" and "affect regulation," the language is more about growth-fostering relationships which, starting in infancy and continuing throughout the lifespan, move individuals toward more mutual empathy and wider circles of relational possibility. The language of relational connections and disconnections and the capacity for relational repair is a rich one. I feel it more accurately describes the conplexity of our attunement (and failures of same), and how it may encourage or discourage the client to feel safe enough to become curious about new possibilities. In the RCT model, the co-creation of relationship is about the co-creation of our selves in relationship. If the relationship is one of shared power (or agency) and respect, it produced movement toward more power-sharing and agency in life. This last brings to the fore the "cultural" piece -- In a society of such stratified power and media image-shaping as ours, the impact of one's socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation impinges more or less dramatically on one's safety to speak and act self-confidently. We would agree with Jerome Kagan when he cites these factors as more predictive of adult psychological integration than is secure attachment in infancy.
  • 0 NP0016 The Great Attachment DebateNP0016, Attachment, Session 3, Dan Siegel 04.03.2012 16:53
    I am so moved by BOTH Jerome Kagan and Dan Siegel, from whom I've learned so much over the years. I'm a yearly participant in ongoing colloquia on Relational-Cultural Theory and Practice, as developed at Wellesley's Jean Baker Miller Training Institute. I have learned there to see a basic compatibility where Kagan and Siegel find themselves at odds. Ae Kagan says, cultural and class inequality and other maldistributions of power manifest themsleves all along the growth and development of our selves, so we find. They create patterns of domination by some over others, impacting one's sense of self-worth as parents, and as children themselves as they enter the wider world of school.. If we have low self-worth, we are less available to access our own empathic abilities with our children. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is still valid. Parents "distracted" by losing a job,or a house, or having an illness without health insurance, are at high risk for losing optimal emotional consistency. It takes an amazing amount of new experiences of safety and respect to move past all of that. Narrative therapy perspectives on how we are "silenced" or "given voice" among friends, teachers, bosses, is part of the relational picture too. That said, Siegel's singular and brilliant contribution is to tell us how any and all relational experiences in childhood are crucial to brain development. And his proposal that the brain's neuroplasticity can keep it growing with new experiences later on is a wonderful invitation to clinicians to connect with clients through empathic awareness and shared observations -- to create a growth-fostering relationship, one which can help client and therapist alike to resist the paradigms of domination/submission in our culture.
  • 0 NP0016 The Great Attachment DebateNP0016, Attachment, Session 2, Jerome Kagan 03.27.2012 16:47
    Bravo for Jerome Kagan.He is a star in my firmament. My practice is highly influenced by the "relational-cultural" theory and practice as developed over several decades by the late Jean Baker Miller and others. Seminars at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at Wellesley COllege are an ongoing conversation about class, culture, AND the new brain science which posits a relational model for growth and development throughout our lifetime. I'm sad that Dan Siegel chose to interrupt Jerome Kagan to defend the primacy of early attachment. He actually has a lot of wisdom to share for us relational-cultural folks who now understand that mutual and reciprocal relationships throughout our lives produce new and/or "bushier" neural networks (memory of lived experience).These make us more resilient, more open to others, less frightened by the challenge of difference, and can often make up for a less than optimal caretaker relationship in early childhood.
  • 0.1 NP0016 The Great Attachment DebateNP0016, Attachment, Session 1, Alan Sroufe 03.20.2012 16:28
    Richard, I love the magazine,and am grateful for this series, and another which have also taken. However, I have a some difficulty with the manner in which you conduct the interview. I would seem that you might get some consultation on keeping your interventions short, and to the point. At times it feels like you are rambling, looking for the question, rather than posing it. Perhaps you are too overwhelmed by the number of tasks you do as editor and conference organizer and webinar peoducer to prepare better, but I think it would be such a boon to your readers/viewers.

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