Skip to main content

The Impact of Intervention Points of Entry on Attachment-Based Processes of Therapeutic Change with Prepubertal Children

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Attachment-Based Clinical Work with Children and Adolescents

Part of the book series: Essential Clinical Social Work Series ((ECSWS))

Abstract

Although attachment-based interventions with mothers and infants are beginning to flourish, guidelines for developing attachment-based intervention with prepubertal children are lacking. This article remedies this lack by discussing the potential intervention points of entry with prepubertal children based on the precepts of attachment theory. In contrast to attachment-based early intervention, in which parental characteristics are targeted, attachment-based intervention with prepubertal children must include the child as well as the parents. Therapists attempting such an intervention must take into account the quality of the child’s attachment pattern as well as their own quality of attachment pattern to provide an effective clinical experience. These key points are illustrated with two clinical cases that presented challenges to the therapist’s selection of the intervention point of entry. In both cases, the author demonstrates that therapy needs to be tailor-made to the patient’s needs, not vice versa. Therapists’ awareness of the many intervention points of entry can serve to fit the treatment to the patient and thereby improve its effectiveness.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1979). Infant–mother attachment. American Psychologist, 34, 932–937.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bateman, A. W., & Fonagy, P. (2004a). Mentalization-based treatment of BPD. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18, 36–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bateman, A. W., & Fonagy, P. (2004b). Psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder: Mentalization-based treatment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Belsky, J., Burchinal, M., McCartney, K., Vandell, D. L., Clarke-Stewart, K. A., & Owen, M. T. (2007). Are there long-term effects of early child care? Child Development, 78, 681–701.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Belsky, J., & Rovine, M. J. (1988). Nonmaternal care in the first year of life and the security of infant–parent attachment. Child Development, 59, 157–167.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Benjamin, J. (1987). The decline of the oedipus complex. In J. M. Broughton (Ed.), Critical theories of psychological development (pp. 211–244). New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berlin, L. J. (2005). Interventions to enhance early attachments: The state of the field today. In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 3–33). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bosquet, M., & Egeland, B. (2001). Associations among maternal depressive symptomatology, state of mind and parent and child behaviors: Implications for attachment-based interventions. Attachment and Human Development, 3, 173–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Loss, sadness and depression. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent–child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bretherton, I. (1985). Attachment theory: Retrospect and prospect. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters (Eds.), Growing points in attachment theory and research. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50 (1–2, Serial No. 209), p. 3–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cassidy, J., Woodhouse, S. S., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., Powell, B., & Rodenberg, M. (2005). Examination of the precursors of infant attachment security: Implications for early intervention and intervention research. In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 34–60). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Castonguay, L. G., Goldfried, M. R., Wiser, S., Raue, P. J., & Hayes, A. M. (1996). Predicting the effect of cognitive therapy for depression: A study of unique and common factors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 497–504.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clarkin, J. F., Yeomans, F. E., & Kernberg, O. F. (1999). Psychotherapy for borderline personality. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clarkin, J. F., Yeomans, F. E., & Kernberg, O. F. (2006). Psychotherapy for borderline personality: Focusing on object relations. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., Powell, B., & Marvin, R. (2005). The Circle of Security intervention: Differential diagnosis and differential treatment. In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 127–151). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Wolff, M., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1997). Sensitivity and attachment: A meta-analysis on parental antecedents of infant attachment. Child Development, 68, 571–591.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dozier, M. (2003). Attachment-Based treatment for vulnerable children. Attachment and Human Development, 5, 253–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dozier, M., & Sepulveda, S. (2004). Foster mother state of mind and treatment use: Different challenges for different people. Infant Mental Health Journal, 25, 368–378.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Egeland, B., Weinfield, N. S., Bosquet, M., & Cheng, V. K. (2000). Remembering, repeating, and working through: Lessons from attachment-based interventions. In J. D. Osofsky & H. E. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of infant mental health/World Association for Infant Mental Health: Vol. 4 Infant mental health in groups at high risk (pp. 35–89). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferber, R. (2006). Solve your child’s sleep problems (rev. ed.). New York: Fireside.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (1996). Predictors of outcome in child psychoanalysis: A retrospective study of 763 cases at the Anna Freud Centre. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44, 27–77.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (2000). Mentalization and personality disorder in children: A current perspective from the Anna Freud Centre. In T. Lubbe (Ed.), The borderline psychotic child: A selective integration (pp. 69–89). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., Jurist, E. L., & Target, M. (2002). Affect regulation, mentalization, and the development of the self. New York: Other Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freud, S. (1896). Further remarks on the neuro-psychoses of defence. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 3, pp. 157–185). London: Hogarth, 1961.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freud, S. (1918). The taboo of virginity (Contributions to the psychology of love III). In J. Strachey (Ed. and trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 11, pp. 191–208). London: Hogarth, 1961.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodman, G. (2002). The internal world and attachment. Hillsdale: The Analytic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kernberg, O. F., Selzer, M. A., Koenigsberg, H. W., Carr, A. C., & Appelbaum, A. H. (1989). Psychodynamic psychotherapy of borderline patients. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Linehan, M. (1993). Congnitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lyons-Ruth, K., & Jacobvitz, D. (1999). Attachment disorganization: Unresolved loss, relational violence, and lapses in behavioral and attentional strategies. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 520–554). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985). Security in infancy, childhood, and adulthood: A move to the level of representation. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters (Eds.), Growing points in attachment theory and research. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50 (1–2, Serial No. 209), pp. 66–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mar, R. A., Tackett, J. L., & Moore, C. (2010). Exposure to media and theory-of-mind development in preschoolers. Cognitive Development, 25, 69–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Olds, D. L. (2005). The Nurse-family partnership: Foundations in attachment theory and epidemiology. In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 217–249). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Slade, A., Grienenberger, J., Bernbach, E., Levy, D., & Locker, A. (2005). Maternal reflective functioning, attachment, and the transmission gap: A preliminary study. Attachment and Human Development, 7, 283–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Slade, A., Sadler, L. S., & Mayes, L. C. (2005). Minding the baby: Enhancing parental reflective functioning in a nursing/mental health home visiting program. In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 152–177). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spieker, S., Nelson, D., DeKlyen, M., & Staerkel, F. (2005). Enhancing early attachments in the context of Early Head Start: Can programs emphasizing family support improve rates of secure infant–mother attachments in low-income families? In L. J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, & M. T. Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy (pp. 250–275). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sroufe, L. A. (1985). Attachment classification from the perspective of infant–caregiver relationships and infant temperament. Child Development, 56, 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Target, M., & Fonagy, P. (1994a). The efficacy of psychoanalysis for children: Developmental considerations. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 1134–1144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Target, M., & Fonagy, P. (1994b). The efficacy of psychoanalysis for children with emotional disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 361–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1995). Adult attachment representations, parental responsiveness, and infant attachment: A meta-analysis on the predictive validity of the adult attachment interview. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 387–403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • van IJzendoorn, M. H., Juffer, F., & Duyvesteyn, M. G. C. (1995). Breaking the intergenerational cycle of insecure attachment: A review of the effects of attachment-based interventions on maternal sensitivity and infant security. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 225–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weinfield, N. S., Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., & Carlson, E. A. (1999). The nature of individual differences in infant–caregiver attachment. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 68–88). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Clovia Ng (clovia@cngraphics.com) in reproducing Fig. 1 in Adobe Illustrator, Marcia Miller, Chief Librarian at Weill Medical College of Cornell University—Westchester Division, in locating and obtaining reference materials, and Tina Lo for checking references. The author also gratefully acknowledges the clinical supervision of Thomas Lopez, Ph.D., on the two clinical cases presented here.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Geoff Goodman Ph.D. .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Goodman, G. (2013). The Impact of Intervention Points of Entry on Attachment-Based Processes of Therapeutic Change with Prepubertal Children. In: Bettmann, J., Demetri Friedman, D. (eds) Attachment-Based Clinical Work with Children and Adolescents. Essential Clinical Social Work Series. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4848-8_9

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics