CHILDREN NEED CONSISTENT, SENSITIVE, RESPONSIVE AND LOVING CARE – SOMETHING THAT IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE NEED FOR NUTRITION. So, whilst funds are necessary to address children’s needs for food, shelter and healthcare, resources must also be invested in meeting their urgent needs for attachment security in their relationships with parents or parent substitutes.
Juconi methodology is informed and supported by Attachment Theory which focuses on helping children and families form relationships that help them develop personal resilience and achieve positive goals.
Within Attachment Theory, the word “attachment” refers to the relationship between two people which endures and joins them emotionally. If the attachment is secure, then it serves as the basis for an inner sense of security which helps a person establish long-lasting positive relationships. It enables individuals to become independent in their life choices, as their inner security gives them the self-confidence and judgement to make positive independent decisions. It also gives them greater emotional resilience to with-stand stressful or adverse experiences later in adult life.
“Secure attachments are a primary defence against the development of severe psychopathology associated with adversity and trauma” Levy & Orlans
Not all attachments, however, are positive. Attachments that are not wholly positive are characterised as ‘insecure’, and commonly classified into three types: ‘ambivalent’, ‘avoidant’ or ‘disorganised’ – depending upon the quality of the relationship between parent and child.
A disorganised attachment contributes to a compromised capacity for forming positive and affirming relationships and a greater difficulty in developing independent, functional decision-making skills.
First posited by John Bowlby in the 1950s, Attachment Theory has been developed, modified and validated to provide a framework to understand child development. Research informed by Attachment Theory has shown the impact which the quality of attachment has upon neuropsychological, emotional, cognitive and social development in children and throughout childhood.
Within Attachment Theory, the quality of relationships that parents provide their children is central. The nature of a child’s interactions with their parent and the sense the child makes of these experiences leads to the development of an internal working model which the child uses to understand social situations and relate to the outside world.
In short, the kind of parenting children have received will determine the way they relate to others and how they perceive others to be relating to them. In the case of a disorganised parent-child attachment, a secure relationship can help challenge the established internal working model. This experience of a secure attachment can be provided through a personal relationship or in a therapeutic relationship. The longer someone has maintained their existing internal working model, however, the more entrenched it will be.
Within the scope of the model outlined in the following sections, the key worker’s task is to provide an experience of a secure attachment that allows the child and the parent to develop a new internal working model, enabling them to relate to each other differently, to leave behind the traumas of the past and to live more fully in the present.