Child Development and Theories

Children learn and develop their skills and knowledge through various kinds of play and observing how adults function in the world. We would like to give parents the extra tools to help their children’s ability to grow and have good attachment experiences. By working together, you will feel empowered, less stressed and happier to know your guidance has helped shaped your little ones healthy foundation into young adulthood.

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Facet Therapy has a ‘client-centred’ approach where we respect the client’s direction for exploring the difficulties they feel are paramount or resolving conflicts they have within their family. Our Practitioners therefore use a variety of theoretical approaches, skill and technique to establish an authentic and trusting relationship with their clients. The theories listed below is to give clients some understanding of the models used or when Practitioners / Therapists integrate the theories during sessions to enhance the therapeutic process.

Person Centred Therapy (PCT)

Carl Rogers developed this theory from 1940s. He wanted clients to develop a sense of self where they realise their potential in becoming anything they set their mind to. He believed people’s attitudes, feelings and behaviour were affected by outside influences and as a result they hid their true (real self).

Rogers felt there are six features between Therapist and client that are necessary and sufficient for therapeutic change. However, the first three is the key ingredients for the ‘Core Conditions’ in which the Therapist must possess within a relationship with clients.

Congruence or genuineness:
the therapist is congruent within the therapeutic relationship. The therapist is deeply involved him or herself – they are not “acting” – and they can draw on their own experiences (self-disclosure) to facilitate the relationship

Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR):
The therapist accepts the client unconditionally, without judgment, disapproval or approval. This facilitates increased self-regard in the client, as they can begin to become aware of experiences in which their view of self-worth was distorted by others.

Empathic understanding:
The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference. Accurate empathy on the part of the therapist helps the client believe the therapist’s unconditional love for them.

Client perception:
The client perceives, to at least a minimal degree, the therapist’s UPR and empathic understanding.

Client incongruence:
The client’s incongruence exists between the client’s experience and awareness.

Psychological contact:
A relationship between client and therapist must exist, and it must be a relationship in which each person’s perception of the other is important.

Attachment Theory

John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory (1907-1990) considered the basic fundamental interaction between the primary caregiver and child during its early infancy. The child seeks comforting behaviours and a safe base from their caregiver when they feel anxious or threatened within a situation. In turn, the response is matched by compassion, care and kindness. Although this type of engagement should be reflected between adults to avoid destructive and repeated cycles, it is poignant in early infancy to teach them the necessary skills for safety, security and protection. (Only a handful of information is shared about this Theory due to its complexity).

Patterns of Attachment

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment feel secure and able to depend on their adult as their ‘caregiver’. They will explore freely while the caregiver is present and typically engages with strangers. When the adult leaves, the child may be upset but he or she feels assured that the parent or caregiver will return. When frightened, securely attached children will seek comfort from caregivers. These children know their parent or caregiver will provide comfort and reassurance, so they are comfortable seeking them out in times of need.

Insecure or Ambivalent Attachment

In general, a child with this style seems to explore less freely due to feeling wary of strangers. Should the parent leave, the child becomes very distressed and not always met with the reassurance it needs to feel secure. In turn, the child is cautious, anxious, wary of how to engage and therefore behave in ways of ambiguity. Ambivalent attachment is a result of poor maternal availability. These children cannot depend on their mother (or caregiver) to be there when the child is in need.

Avoidant Attachment

Children with an avoidant attachment tend to avoid parents or caregivers who are not attentive to the child’s needs. When offered a choice, these children will show no preference between a caregiver and a complete stranger. Children may look or pull away from the caregiver, but may got to caregiver after much persuading – emotional distancing.

This avoidance has 2 functions: a) Children create physical proximity knowing they can be physically protected but distant enough to avoid rejection. b) Children avoid situations where any closeness can leave them feeling overwhelmed with emotion and ultimately ‘out of control’. Research has suggested that this attachment style might be a result of abusive or neglectful caregivers; and those who are punished for relying on a caregiver will learn to avoid seeking help in the future.

Disorganized Attachment

Children with a disorganized attachment often display a confusing mix of behaviours and may seem disoriented, dazed, or confused. Children may both avoid or resist the parent. Some researchers believe that the lack of a clear attachment pattern is likely linked to inconsistent behaviours from caregivers. In such cases, parents may serve as both a source of comfort and a source of fear, leading to disorganized behaviour.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Developed by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and his followers. In the treatment of psychological distress, psychodynamic psychotherapy offers more frequent sessions than humanistic approaches. Psychodynamic therapies depend upon a theory of inner conflict of repressed behaviours and emotions from our early childhood (for the most part is unconscious). It is for the Therapist to aid the client in bringing this inner conflict to consciousness and resolve it. otherwise it will continue to affect their daily functioning.

Major techniques used by psychodynamic therapists include free association, recognising resistance and transference, working through painful memories and difficult issues, and building a strong therapeutic alliance. As in some psychoanalytic approaches, the therapeutic relationship is seen as a key means to understanding and working through the relational difficulties which the client has suffered in life.

Transactional Analysis

Eric Berne first developed this theory during 1950s. Transactional Analysis or known as (TA) is an integrative approach to the theory of psychology and psychotherapy. It is described as integrative because it has elements of psychoanalytic, humanist and cognitive approaches. TA is a great approach and application in the treatment of psychological diagnosis, group work, couple work, family work, workplace difficulties, individual counselling and to help with effective communication.

As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structure psychologically. It uses a model called the ego-state (Parent-Adult-Child). The same model helps explain how people function and express their personality in their behaviour and by changing the interactions (thought feeling and behaviour) it resolves the emotional problems. For example, depression may be due to ongoing critical verbal messages from the inner Parent to the inner Child.

Another TA thought in explaining adult’s behaviour patterns is that it derived from early childhood and considering “Life (or Childhood) Script”. It is the assumption that we continue to re-play childhood strategies as an adult, even when this results in pain or defeat.

During Berne’s development of this theory, he explained how people can psychologically hold four life position and operate from one psychological state to another.

I’m OK and you are OK.
The healthiest position about life. It means I feel good about myself and that I feel good about others and their competence.

I’m OK and you are not OK.
This is an unhealthy position. It means I feel good about myself but I see others as damaged or beneath me.

I’m not OK and you are OK.
This is an unhealthy position. It means I see myself as weak / not important and others are better or mor important than me. The person who holds this position will unconsciously accept abuse as OK.

I’m not OK and you are not OK. This is an extremely unhealthy position. It means I believe that I am in a terrible state and the rest of the world is as bad. Consequently there is no hope for any ultimate supports.

Expressive Arts Therapy

This type of therapy can be referred to as expressive or creative arts therapy. It uses creative, imaginative and expressive modalities in the form of dance therapy, drama therapy, art therapy, music therapy, writing therapy for treating clients. Therapeutic interventions such as these use imagery, storytelling, dance, music, drama, poetry, movement, horticulture, dreamwork, and visual arts together, in an integrated way, to foster human growth, development, and healing. Therapists use the different disciplines of creative arts as a therapeutic intervention when processing issued from the past or ‘here and now’ in the sessions.

Our Practitioners may combine talking therapy with the creative experience for deeper processing. It is often used during our Programmes and Workshops whilst gaining a better understanding of attachment within families.