Famous Psychologist John Bowlby
Published on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 8:01 am and is filed under Famous Psychologists
One of the most important concepts for child psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in the last years was the “attachment theory” developed by the British psychologist-psychoanalyst and psychiatrist John Bowlby (1907-1990). After graduating at Cambridge University in 1929, he began to work at a school for young offenders. Communicating with these children led him to believe that the main problems faced by them in the socialization process are connected with the violation of dialogue with parents, lack of warmth and care at an early age. While working in this school, Bowlby was studying psychoanalysis at the University of London and in the early 30s starts working at the Central London children’s hospital as a child psychologist-psychoanalyst.
Gradually, he departs from the classical psychoanalysis, seeking to unite in his conception different approaches to child development (ethological, cognitive, cultural).The cornerstone of this connection was to explain the formation of the relationship between baby and mother on the basis of the provisions of ethology. However, investigating the behavior of pair child-mother in their habitat, he emphasized the social, cultural aspect of the environment, and therefore denied the purely naturalistic explanatory principles, as well as the Freudian concept of oral and anal stages.
His idea was that in the first months of life is established a close emotional bond between mother and child, which is not reducible to any of sexuality, nor to the instinctive behavior. Sharp break of this bond leads to severe disturbances in the mental development of children, primarily in the structure of his personality. These disorders can take time and often they appear much later, in teenager.
Bowlby argued that mother to a young child is a reliable defense, the original base, which he occasionally leaves in an effort to explore the world around. However, this research activity is stable and adequate in cases where the child is convinced that he could return at any time under the protection of the mother. Thus the main goal of creating an emotional connection between the child and his mother – is to give the child a sense of security and safety. That warmth and kindness emanating from mother during the first years of life are important to a child, rather than proper care and training, carried out by her. His research showed that child who has close emotional contact with his mother, showed better results in the level of cognitive activity than children who grew up in cold homes or children who have lost their mother at preschool age. He also argued that in adolescents, who have not had a stable emotional relationship with their mother, are more often observed depression, formed by changes in the structure of personality.
This work led Bowlby at 50s to change the conditions of hospitalization of young children who are not separated from their mother. In the last decade in Britain, the USA and Japan there is a large number of studies that analyze both short and long-term consequences of violations of emotional contact between mother and child, and also are held comparative studies of different styles of communicating with children that exist in these countries.