A baby for survival needs close contact with a significant adult – this is one of the theses of the classical theory of attachment. But the desire for intimacy and the ability to relationships develop in subsequent years, according to the Canadian psychotherapist Gordon Newfeld. Psychologist Olga Pisarik tells about his concept of multi -level attachment.

Our survival directly depends on the proximity to those who care about us. Attachment creates a context in which an adult is easy to take care of a child, and a child – to accept this concern.

In addition, she works as a shield against external stress: feeling that they care about him, that he is accepted only because he exists, the child can calmly explore his “I”, his interests and desires, and become increasingly independent.

Newfeld considers attachment as any desire for contact and proximity: physical, emotional, psychological. As they grow older, the development of the brain and the formation of personality, the ability to build relationships also changes.

If everything happens according to the plan conceived by nature, then in the first six years of life the child develops the ability to become attached at various levels, through: through:

1) feelings,

2) imitation,

3) belonging, loyalty,

4) a sense of importance for another,

5) Love,

6) the feeling that you know you.

Six levels of attachment

The first level, from birth, is affection through feelings.

To survive, the baby must be in direct physical contact with the adult who cares about him. If there is no tactile contact, then the child must at least hear, see him, feel the smell.

In the second year of life, the child develops affection through „similarity“. He begins to imitate those whom he loves, tries to be like them: in behavior, in intonations, in preferences. Now it is very important for him to be the same as his parents.

By the third year, the ability to become attached through belonging and fidelity develops. This is a desire to belong to those who love you, and possess those whom you love („My mother“). Jealousy appears at this age. Children begin to look for confirmation that they belong to their “their” family, “their” clan, or begin to look on the side to whom.

The above levels of attachment are shallow, are not too vulnerable and may be present with superficial attachments – for example, in gangs or companies of peers.

By the fourth year of life, the child has a desire to be important, significant for a loved one. He begins to feel that mom and dad are close to those who they value. The child wants to like it, it becomes softer, flexible, looking for approval from them, confirming their importance for them.

In the fifth year, the child begins to love. He gives you his heart. If earlier he said “I love mom”, imitating others more, now he really loves his mother, sings songs about love and draws hearts. This is an affection through emotions, the time when the child is physically ready to part with those who are dear to him, without significant damage to his psyche.

And finally, the last level of attachment is when dear people know you. The child begins to share his secrets, wants us to better understand him to be closer to us.

Psychological attachment is the deepest level of attachment and the most vulnerable. Not every adult has a similar experience.



of vulnerability

Our attachment is a very vulnerable, non -protected territory. The main sources of emotional pain are separation (or its expectation), shame, a sense of insecurity.

If the child constantly experiences emotional pain, then his heart begins to harden. Without feeling complete safety, he cannot experience deep attachment.

Protective alienation is one of the most common consequences of emotional pain in affection. When, with proximity to someone, we experience an unbearable level of emotional pain, the brain can “twist” our attachment instincts, and we will resist the proximity where it seems to be necessary to look for it. The answer to the problems of separation can only be an increase in attachment.

The child cannot be „too attached“. He can feel uncertain in his attachment, be attached superficially, but never „too much“. This is not necessary to be afraid.

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