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Unformatted text preview: The ChildTrauma Academy www.ChildTrauma.org All rights reserved © 2001 Bruce D. Perry BONDING AND ATTACHMENT IN MALTREATED CHILDREN CONSEQUENCES OF EMOTIONAL NEGLECT IN CHILDHOOD Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. V 3.0 This booklet is one in a series developed by the ChildTrauma Academy to assist parents, caregivers, teachers and various professionals working with maltreated and traumatized children. CAREGIVER EDUCATION SERIES Edited by B. D. Perry Adapted in part from: “Maltreated Children: Experience, Brain Development and the Next Generation” ( W.W. Norton & Company, New York, in preparation) Attachment in Maltreated Children, Perry INTRODUCTION The most important property of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain relationships. These relationships are absolutely necessary for any of us to survive, learn, work, love and procreate. Human relationships take many forms but the most intense, most pleasurable and most painful are those relationships with family, friends and loved ones. Within this inner circle of intimate relationships, we are bonded to each other with "emotional glue" - bonded with love. Each individual's ability to form and maintain relationships using this "emotional glue" is different. Some people seem "naturally" capable of loving. They form numerous intimate and caring relationships and, in doing so, get pleasure. Others are not so lucky. They feel no "pull" to form intimate relationships, find little pleasure in being with or close to others. They have few, if any friends and more distant, less emotional glue with family. In extreme cases an individual may have no intact emotional bond to any other person. They are self-absorbed, aloof or may even present with classic neuropsychiatric signs of being schizoid or autistic. The capacity and desire to form emotional relationships is related to the organization and functioning of specific parts of the human brain. Just as the brain allows us to see, smell, taste, think, talk and move, it is the organ that allows us to love -- or not. The systems in the human brain that allow us to form and maintain emotional relationships develop during infancy and the first years of life. Experiences during this early vulnerable period of life are critical to shaping the capacity to form intimate and emotionally healthy relationships. Empathy, caring, sharing, inhibition of aggression, capacity to love and a host of other characteristics of a healthy, happy and productive person are related to the core attachment capabilities which are formed in infancy and early childhood. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is attachment? Well, it depends. The word attachment is used frequently by mental health, child development and child protection workers but it has slightly different meanings in these different contexts. The first thing to know is that we humans create many kinds of “bonds.” A bond is a connection between one person and another. In the field of infant development, attachment refers to a special bond characterized by...
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This note was uploaded on 03/08/2012 for the course SOC 315 taught by Professor Kennethferraro during the Fall '04 term at Purdue.
- Fall '04