Attachment, actual experience and mental representation

Miriam Steele


米里亚姆. 斯蒂尔


翻译者按:此文为《Emotional Development in Psychoanalysis, Attachment Theory and Neuroscience》一书的第三章。


In this chapter I will delineate the ways in which the quality of early attachment relationships and actual experiences with the caregiver (s) form the building blocks for the representational world. I will begin by outlining the four basic assumptions of attachment theory, and then provide an overview of both past and more recent evidence that supports the theory. Development is looked at in the light of the attachment system. Developmental vicissitudes will be understood in the light of the manner in which basic attachments needs have been met by the caregiver (s). The concomitant effects of the maintenance or disruption of emotional bonds will be described.

Attachment theory is based on the original and enduring ideas of John Bowlby. It states that humans are biopsychologically motivated by the need for attachment to others. Attachment theory posits that our survival is inextricably linked to and dependent upon the capacity to establish and maintain emotional ties to others. Attachment theory together with core achievements in attachment research which have validated the theory has attracted a great range and depth of interest in recent years. The verifiable burgeoning interest in attachment research comes from a variety of disciplines including child psychotherapy, child psychiatry, clinical psychology and social work, and attachment theory has now assumed a position of central importance. The four basic assumptions of attachment theory have been robustly supported by observational research that helps us understand the fundamental and enduring influence parents, in one generation, have upon the next (and later) generations.



       依恋理论基于John Bowlby原创和经久不衰的思想,它指出,人类是被依附他人的需要所驱动。与他人建立和维持情感联系的能力,使我们在世上赖以生存。依恋理论及其研究的核心成果,表明近年来该理论已经吸引了很大范围和一定深度的关注。这些可证实的对依恋理论的关注发展迅速,来自于很多领域,包括儿童心理治疗,儿童精神病学,临床心理学和社会工作,依恋理论现在已经被赋予了一个重要地位。依恋理论的四个基本假设通过观察研究得到了有力的支持,有助于我们了解来自父母的基本和持久的影响,如何作用于这一代,以及下一代(后来的)。

The four assumptions which convey the essence of Bowlby’s attachment theory are as follows:

1 Intimate emotional bonds between individuals have a primary status and biological function.

2 The way a child is treated has a powerful influence on a child’s development and later personality functioning.

3 Attachment behaviour is to be viewed as part of an organisational system which utilises the notion of an ‘internal working model’ of self and other to guide expectation and the planning of behaviour.

4 Attachment behaviour is resistant to change, but there is a continuing potential for change so that at no time in a person’s life are they impermeable to adversity or to favourable influence.


1.     个体之间的亲密情感纽带有着重要地位,且具有生物学功能。

2.     孩子被对待的方式,将强有力地影响这个孩子的心理发展以及之后的人格功能。

3.     依恋行为被视为组织系统的一部分,这个组织系统即自体如何调整对他人的预期,如何进行行为规划的“内部工作模型”。

4.     依恋行为是拒绝改变的,但也持续存在改变的潜力,因此,它们无时无刻不渗透进人的一生中,产生或好或坏的影响。

The primary status and biological function of intimate emotional ties


This idea, now widely assumed to be true, when first put forward by Bowlby in the late 1950s caused him to be branded a heretic by many of his psychoanalytic colleagues. For Bowlby, our survival as individuals and as the human species depends upon the ability to establish and maintain emotional ties to others. Operational from birth and evident across the life span (especially at times of crisis), the ‘instincts’ of crying, reaching out, and holding on are the functional expressions of a biological imperative with evolutionary origins. Bowlby anchored his ideas about the importance of relationships on a new model of human motivation, drawing on the latest advances in neurochemical, cognitive, ethological and evolutionary theory (see Cassidy and Shaver 1999; Schore, 2000 and this volume; Suomi, 1999).

这个想法,现在被广泛认为是真实的,但当Bowlby1950年代第一次提出时,却导致他被他的精神分析同事视作异端。Bowlby认为,我们作为人类个体的存在,取决于与他人建立和维持情感联系的能力。从出生到整个生命周期的运行中(特别是危机时刻),哭泣、抓取、坚持的“本能”,具有生物进化起源性的功能表达。Bowlby确定了他的思想,建立了一个强调关系重要性的新的人类动机模型,在神经化学、认知、行为和进化论方面都取得了最新进展。(见CassidyShaver 1999Schore, 2000和这卷;Suomi1999)。

Despite or because of John Bowlby’s position, working in the immediate aftermath of World War II and the myriad of separation and grief issues that it brought, he transformed thinking about the parent-child attachment relationship into one of the most viable theoretical concepts to arise out of twentieth century psychiatry. This viability stems from his awareness that a full understanding of the parent-child relationship could not be arrived at by a single perspective from child psychiatry or child psychoanalysis. After establishing the Child and Family Department at the Tavistock Clinic, he invoked the help of leading clinical and developmental psychologists, child and adult psychiatrists and ethnologists— with a unifying interest in how to understand the ways parents influence their children.

John Bowlby致力于研究二战造成的直接影响,大量的分离及其带来的悲伤议题,可能正是因为这个契机,他将亲子依恋关系的思考转化为了二十世纪精神病学最可行的理论概念之一。他意识到,要完整地理解亲子关系不能单一地从儿童精神病学或儿童精神分析的角度。在Tavistock诊所建立了儿童与家庭部后,他得到了前沿的临床和发展心理学家的帮助,儿童和成人精神病学家以及民族学家,都产生了共同的兴趣,即理解父母是如何对孩子产生影响的。


Mary Ainsworth, who participated in those meetings for 4 years, was to play a critical role in the development of attachment theory, through her devotion to attachment research and the training of other researchers. Determined to collect evidence that might test the ideas discussed at the Tavistock meetings, Ainsworth set out to conduct field studies involving detailed observations of mothers and babies, first in Uganda (Ainsworth 1967), and later in repeated home observations of mothers and babies over the first year of life in America (Ainsworth et al. 1978). It is important to point out that some of the crucial elements of attachment theory arose from Ainsworth’s careful observations of mothers and babies in the field in Uganda, which counter the criticism that attachment theory is a theory of parent-child relationships for white, middle-class Western families. It was the observations in Uganda which prompted her to see the attachment system as species, not culturally, specific. Mary Ainsworth was also convinced that the hundreds of hours of home observations across a range of settings in Baltimore taught her the most, including—centrally —the importance of tender bodily contact between mother and baby. Conceiving of the lab-based observation sequence known as the Strange Situation, the method which would be applied in thousands of developmental research studies across the globe, took her and a colleague about a half-hour, and was an afterthought (Ainsworth and Marvin 1995). That is, it was an attempt to see if observing mother and baby in a stressful situation, outside the home, would relate to maternal behaviour in the home setting.

Mary Ainsworth,参与访谈4年,通过对依恋理论的研究以及对其他研究者的培训,她在依恋理论的发展中扮演了重要角色。为了测试在Tavistock会议讨论的观点,Ainsworth决定采集案例来证明,她提出进行现场研究,仔细观察母亲和婴儿。先在乌干达(Ainsworth 1967,后来在美国,反复在家庭中观察母亲与婴儿生命的第一年。需要指出的是,某些依恋理论的重要元素,是从Ainsworth在乌干达的母婴观察中发现的,这很有力地反驳了那些认为依恋理论只适用于白人,西方中产阶级家庭的批评。正是乌干达的观察,促使她看到,依恋系统是基于种族的,而非特定文化的。Mary Ainsworth也确信,在巴尔的摩一系列数百小时的家庭观察教给她最多的,是母婴之间温柔的身体接触有多么重要。而基于实验观察顺序的陌生情境法,只需要使用30分钟的时间,又是后来的设计了(Ainsworth and Marvin 1995),这个方法适用于全球成千上万的发展心理学研究。这是一个尝试,看是否在非家庭环境的压力情境下观察的母亲和婴儿,跟在家庭情境中的母亲行为有关联。

Ainsworth et al. (1978) built on Bowlby’s premises about the biological basis of attachment, and the importance of actual experiences with caregivers, highlighting the need to ‘stress’ or activate the attachment system in order to study and measure it. By introducing the 1-year-old, and his/her mother, into a brightly decorated toyladen playroom, she aimed to activate the child’s exploratory (or play/work) system. By minutes later engineering the separation of mother from child, she aimed to activate the attachment (love) system. With one system called into action, she anticipated, the other would (normally) recede. And so it was, for the normal or securely attached child who played joyfully in the presence of the mother, showed a diminishment of play and joy upon separation, and then bounced back upon reunion. For such children, home observations confirmed a history of sensitive responsiveness from the mother. But for other children, less than joyful and often ineffective exploratory play behaviours predominated, and appeared to be used defensively to mask inner distress upon reunion. For these children, home observations confirmed a history of insensitive (interfering) and/or unresponsive (rejecting) maternal behaviour. For still other children, exploration was ineffective, and distress prevailed across the lab observation and home observations confirmed an ineffective style of maternal behaviour, despite (as is always the case) good intentions.


Ainsworth and her colleagues observed that mothers of infants who would later be judged secure in the strange situation were able to manage feedings in a manner that responded to infant signals, e.g. adjusting the provision of bottled and solid foods in step with the infant’s capacity to ingest. Feeding was in response to the infant’s initiative and never forced by the mothers of secure infants (Ainsworth and Bell 1974). Thus, in face-to-face interactions, some mothers were able to skilfully regulate pacing to establish smooth turn taking and coordination with the children’s initiatives (Blehar et al. 1977). Physical contact between secure infants and their mothers was marked by a gentle and tender style that made the contact pleasurable for both mothers and infants. By the end of infancy, infants who had experienced open communication marked by sensitive care were more effective in communicating with their mothers.

Ainsworth和她的同事们发现,婴儿的母亲在陌生情境下,能够及时回应婴儿的发出的信号给予喂养,那么之后她将被婴儿感受为安全的。比如,根据婴儿的消化能力来调整流体和固体食物的供给。喂养得配合婴儿的主动性,安全型婴儿从来不会受到母亲的强迫(Ainsworth and Bell 1974)。因此,在面对面的互动中,一些母亲可以巧妙的调整节奏,建立起顺畅的轮换,与孩子的主动性相协调。安全型婴儿和他们的母亲之间的身体接触是温和轻柔的,这样的接触使得婴儿和母亲双方都非常愉悦。在婴儿期结束时,得到敏感母亲的照顾,有着开放的交流体验的婴儿,与他们的母亲将有着更有效的沟通。

The neurochemical, biological, and evolutionary origins of the attachment behavioural system are well illustrated by the classic Strange Situation (Ainsworth et al. 1978) valid for infants aged 12–18 months. In the Strange Situation, infants are convincingly distressed at both a behavioural and biological level (Spangler and Grossmann 1993). The situation works as well as it does because of its ability to provoke into action the attachment system and evokes in the good-enough mothered child a search for the secure base. Quite simply, no newborn can survive and thrive without the provision of a secure base from the caregiving environment. For a 1-year-old child to behave as if this were not the case is a defensive manoeuvre of impressive proportions.

适用于12-18个月婴儿的经典陌生情境实验(Ainsworth et al. 1978)很好地说明了神经化学物质,生物,和依恋行为系统的进化起源。在陌生情境实验中,婴儿在行为和生物学水平,都有着令人信服的苦恼。如其所示,陌生情境实验很有效,因为它激活了依恋系统,唤起了有着足够好母亲养育的孩子去寻找安全基地的行为。很简单,在缺乏安全基地的养育环境中,没有新生儿可以存活和成长。一个1岁的孩子表现的好像不是这样的,这其实是一个巨大的防御策略。

标签: 依恋 

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