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Working Models Self in relation to others.. Working Models  Primary assumption of attachment theory is that humans form close bonds in the interest of.

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Presentation on theme: "Working Models Self in relation to others.. Working Models  Primary assumption of attachment theory is that humans form close bonds in the interest of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working Models Self in relation to others.

2 Working Models  Primary assumption of attachment theory is that humans form close bonds in the interest of survival.  These bonds help the development and maintenance of mental representations of the self and others.

3 Working Models  Models help Predict and understand their environment Engage in survival promoting behaviors such as proximity maintenance Establish a psychological sense of “felt security”  Models are cornerstone of attachment theory

4 Working Models  Bowlby (1979) claimed that mental representations of the self and others, formed in the context of the child – caregiver relationship influence: Thought Feeling Behavior …in adult relationships.

5 Working Models  Mental representations that consist of: Expectations about self, significant others, and the relationship between the two. Specific content about attachment figures and the self. Knowledge about the details of interpersonal experiences, as well as affect, associated with those experiences.

6 Working Models  Working Models assumed to include processes that influence: What information individuals attend to How they interpret events in their world What they remember  Tend to remain stable over time.

7 Attachment Styles  People show different attachment styles that reflect their different interpersonal experiences.  Behavioral patterns are thought to stem from different underlying working models of self and others.

8 Attachment Styles & Working Models  Attachment style results by combining a positive or negative model of self with a positive or negative model of others.  +/+ = Secure  -/+ = Preoccupied  +/- = Dismissing-Avoidant  -/- = Fearful-Avoidant

9 Attachment Styles based on Working Models of Self and Others View of Self View of Others SECUREPREOCCUPIED FEARFUL- AVOIDANT DISMISSING- AVOIDANT View of Self View of Others Adapted from Bartholomew & Horowitz,

10  Bowlby: Working models of others serve the purpose of helping individuals know whether close others will be available and responsive. Working models of self develop initially through experiences with specific others and how they respond.

11  Working models guide Attention Interpretation Memory  Working models generate expectations about future interpersonal situations and to develop plans for dealing with those situations.  Working models, through repeated use, begin to function automatically.

12 Stability & Continuity  Working models are usually considered to be fairly stable within a relationship over time. Quality of interactions between two people remains stable within relationship Models function to direct attention to  representation-consistent information  Produce interpretations of interpersonal events that are consistent with those representations (Ainsworth, 1989)

13 Stability & Continuity  Working models are viewed as dynamic representations that can be updated, elaborated, or replaced as life circumstances change  When changes do occur, they happen gradually and with some difficulty. (Bowlby, 1979; Hazan & Shaver, 1987)

14 Children vs. Adults  Young children’s working models are likely to include simple information about caregiver’s availability and responsiveness  Older children & adults are most likely to include more detailed, elaborated information i.e. imagining the partner’s responses

15 Role of Emotion  Bowlby viewed working models and their associated goals as inherently tied to affect.  Emphasis of research has been on how cognitive representations trigger or influence affect.

16 Role of Emotion  Evidence suggests that people who report different attachment styles, and who have different working models, differ in their emotional reactivity and in what they do in response to those emotions. (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991; Hazan & Shaver, 1987)

17 Role of Emotion  People who most closely fit the preoccupied style report Intense emotions Frequent emotional ups and downs High emotional expressiveness High anxiety and impulsiveness

18 Role of Emotion  People who most closely fit the dismissing-avoidant style report Dampened emotionality Interviewers rate them as less emotionally expressive that others They are more able to suppress their feelings

19 “Felt Security” 1. Better Affect Regulation - less reactivity - less hyperarousal - less underarousal - more acknowledgement of support seeking

20 “Felt Security” 2. Better Information Processing - more flexibility, curiosity, openness - tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty 3. Better communication - more ability to collaborate, to metacommunicate, to disclose, more assertive and emphatic

21 “Felt Security” 4. Sense of Self is more: - coherent - elaborated - articulated - positive

22 Role of Emotion  Emotions are not merely an outcome of working models but are fundamental to the way in which people organize knowledge about their relationships.  Working models can be viewed in terms of underlying affective processes.

23 Model of Self  Working model of self include how acceptable and worthwhile one is in the eyes of an attachment figure.  Can be viewed as representation of self in relation to others.

24 Model of Self  Individuals experience felt security when their attachment figure confirms: They are loved and are lovable. They are competent or have mastery over their environment.  A feeling of threat arises when: A pressure arises for which one feels ill equipped to cope Pressure can be either external or internal

25 Model of Self  When individuals feel threat, attachment behavior system is activated and they engage in behaviors that will help to reestablish or promote feelings of security.  Individuals may feel threat when their self-esteem is in question, either because of negative information or when they feel unable to deal with a perceived danger on their own.

26 Attachment Styles/Strategies  Attachment relationships are those that have the potential to provide felt security in the face of threat and in which working models of the self are modified or reinforced in some significant way by the action of the other.

27 Attachment Style/Strategies  Felt security may not be established and maintained via precisely the same behaviors in adulthood as it is in childhood.  Adult systems: attachment, caregiving, reproductive  Three systems may work together to produce felt security because individuals feel worthwhile and effective in the context of sexual intimacy or when providing care to others.

28 False “Felt Security”  How does an individual balance the three systems to establish felt security? Unbalanced focus on attachment system Unbalanced focus on caregiving system Unbalanced focus on reproductive/sexual system (physical or social attractiveness)  If an individual is unbalanced how might this impact and/or reflect working models of self & working models of others?

29 Adult Attachment  Securely attached adults, who generally feel competent and worthy, may seek out an attachment figure only when they experience a specific, external threat to self.

30 Adult Attachment  People who have less certain and less positive views of themselves (e.g., preoccupied people) may see many situations as potentially threatening to their sense of self.  May attempt to treat many other people – even inappropriate ones, such as strangers – as if they were attachment figures in an effort to achieve felt security.

31 Adult Attachment  Preoccupied continued…  May engage frequently in attachment- related behaviors, and often these behaviors will appear to be inconsistent with the current context.  May appear to hold an overriding chronic goal to achieve intimacy as a way of attaining felt security Part of this goal involves obtaining responsiveness from others.

32 Adult Attachment  Dismissing-avoidant individuals, who prefer not to depend on others, may be less likely to use others as a way of regulating felt security, even when they ought to do so.  May be seen as rarely engaging in attachment-related behaviors and may be less likely to establish an attachment relationship.  May attempt to serve as their own attachment figure.

33 Adult Attachment  People who are fearful-avoidant seem to hold conflicting chronic goals to both achieve intimacy and maintain independence from others with less flexibility than secure individuals.  Fearful individuals may have both goals activated at the same time, leading to approach-avoidance conflicts.

34 Summary  Attachment styles are working models of self and others. The way we see ourselves The way we see others The way we see relationships Predict the way we will respond “How we view ourselves and how we view other people will influence every interaction.”


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