Secure attachment denotes a flexible and balanced (“optimal”) organization of attachment behavior in relation to the caregiver, which is observable in these children’s ability to use their caregiver as a secure base from which to explore the environment freely when there are no signs of danger, and as a safe haven to turn to for comfort and protection when distressed. Secure attachment is reliably predicted by having a consistently available caregiver who is responding sensitively to the child’s signals, supporting the child’s exploration and providing comfort and protection when the child is distressed.
John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist (see “John Bowlby: Pioneer of Attachment Theory”), was unsatisfied with the explanations of attachment available at the time, which deemed children’s attachments to their caregivers a secondary result of other mechanisms, such as children’s drives and/or feeding (see “Psychodynamic Foundations to...
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