Category Archives: Family Context

Family Institute Course: Attachment

Attachment is a special case of our participation in the social engagement system — a VERY special case, as we will discuss next week.

Barbara will be teaching us about attachment theory, assessment of attachment status, and the implications of a person’s early attachment history for her/his participation in relationships throughout the life span.  She has provided some readings to help us prepare:  assessment templates for attachment status of children and adults (in Hebrew), and articles by Bowlby (1960) on grief and mourning in infancy and early childhood; Cassidy & Mohr (2011) on the impact of disorganized attachment across the lifespan; and Slade (2005) on parental reflection functioning.

In the meantime, additional resources will be forthcoming soon on today’s discussion: the dance of relationship, attuned/contingent communication, and the social engagement system.

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Filed under Family Context, Previews, Relationship, Therapeutic Implications

Family Institute Course: Development in Family Context

In our study of child and adolescent development in family context, we’ll see many examples of the lifelong interplay between discernible attributes of the individual (subjectively experienced as, in Winnicott’s words, a sense of “going on being”), and the equally objective reality of the environmental context in which humans are created, live, and grow.

Two faces of the human condition present themselves to us: the person-as-himself/herself, and the person-with-others.

We might be tempted to call this duality a paradox, as if the reality of what we are is either one way, or another.  It’s more helpful to say that the two visions of human reality are complementary — to move beyond the world of either/or, and into the world of both/and.

In the words of Niels Bohr, father of the complementarity principle,  “It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth.”   (wikiquote)


We have reality as beings in our own right.
AND the beings we are always manifest in a relational context.

This week, we’ll start with a solid grounding in the family system as a primary element of the relational context.  Barbara and Marci will be on hand, with Barbara taking the lead with a presentation on “The Family Life Cycle.”

Barbara has provided notes on assessment, development of the self system, and additional references in the Family Institute Library, as well as articles by Emery et al 1992, Hawley & Weisz 2003, and Sanders & Morawska 2005.   Read and enjoy!

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Filed under Family Context, Overview, Previews