Category Archives: Previews

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.


Leave a comment

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Family Context, Overview, Previews

Spinning the Pieces

Each semester’s Developmental courses start with questions: “Who develops?,”  “What develops?,” and “How does development happen?”  The questions are profound, for me, and with every class the answers feel different — even if the lectures sound remarkably similar.

New answers are in the works!  This blog is an extension of the mental workbench on which I’m assembling clues that capture my attention and interest — grabbing each piece of the truth that I can — spinning the pieces in that incredible cognitive-affective-kinesthetic-symbolic dance that is “creative-spiritual intelligence.”  (Pascual-Leone, 1990)

Back in the day, referring to working memory as the “mental workbench” said it all.  Nuggets of information, salted away in long-term storage, were brought into the light of day, to be manipulated, tweaked, combined, and configured into mental models of reality.  (Roediger, 1979)

Almost 50 years later, Dad’s workbench fails to capture what we know or imagine about the complex mechanisms underlying memory and cognition.  In 2011, we’ve moved from the workbench to the multidimensional heuristic workspace (Schroeder,  2003), and for the tech-minded, the holographic lab environment.

Hey, the world within is way more cool than Dad’s workbench!


Pascual-Leone, J. (1990).  Reflections on life-span intelligence, consciousness, and ego development.   In C. N. Alexander & E. J. Langer (Eds.), Higher stages of human development (258 – 285).  New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.

Roediger, H. (1979).  Implicit and explicit memory models.  Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 13, 339-342.

Schroeder, P. C. (2003).  Spatial aspects of metaphors for information: Implications for polycentric system design.  Retrieved from

Leave a comment

Filed under Previews, Tools of the Mind