available (from parents' history, feelings, and perceptions; ongoing infant caregiver and family observations; etc.); (b) sensitive to the formation of a therapeutic relationship; and (c) both broad enough to conceptualize the overall adaptive process, and specific enough to pinpoint defects or constrictions in adaptive developmental pathways. A framework based on a developmental structuralist model ( Greenspan, 1981) for operationalizing the developmental process was suggested. This framework provides a way of conceptualizing attachment as an ongoing process that becomes organized and reorganized at each stage of development in keeping with new maturational and experiential opportunities.
Concrete attachments, where interest in the world and regulation are key, characterize the first stage of attachments. Personal, joyful, synchronous attachments characterize the second. Purposeful, interactive attachment patterns with a broadening range of affect signify the third stage. The ability to integrate and conceptualize, at the behavioral level, different interpersonal thematic-affective domains (including dependence and independence, passivity, and activity, etc.), characterizes the fourth stage, conceptual integrated attachments. The ability to elevate behaviors and affect to a higher plane (i.e., to create internal emotional imagery) and, therefore, represent attachments and relationships, indicates the emerging of the fifth stage. The ability to differentiate one's internal world of imagery into clear organization of self and nonself, along affective and temperal and spacial dimensions, characterizes the sixth stage.
By viewing attachment as a developmental process at the core of the formation of intrapsychic structure and personality, we avoid unproductive theoretical polarities (e.g., attachment doesn't start until we see separation or stranger anxiety, etc.) and provide a clinical framework that is sensitive to the importance of the human relationship in the formation of psychological structure and function.
Ainsworth M. D. S. ( 1973). "The development of infant-mother attachment". In B. M. Caldwell & H. N. Riociuti (Eds.), Review of child development research (pp. 1-194). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ainsworth M. D. S. ( 1980). "Attachment and child abuse". In G. Gerbner, C. Ross, & E. Zigler (Eds.), Child abuse: An agenda for action (pp. 35-47). New York: Oxford University Press.
Ainsworth M. D. S., Bell S. M., & Stayton D. ( 1971). "Individual differences in strange situation behavior of one-year-olds". In H. R. Schaffer