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CO.CREATION, NTEGRATION, ANDI NTERSU BJ ECTIVIT

‘l’he process of affect regulation here is one in which the infant, ‘l,r,,rrgh a kind of “social biofeedback,” comes to associate the initially in- .,’lrrrrtilry expressions of her emotions with the responses of the caregiver. lir,rr is, the infant comes to “know” that her affects are responsible for ‘,,king the caregiver’s affect-mirroring responses. Thus, in the most desirrlrlt’scenario, the infant is learning a number of very useful things: (1)that .l’rcssing her feelings can bring about positive outcomes-which generrr( \ positive feelings about the self and others; (2) that she can have impact ,rr others-which generates a dawning sense of agency or self-initiative; ,rr,l (3) gradually, that particular affects elicit particular reactions-which lr,lps her begin to differentiate and eventually name her feelings (Fonagy et rl., 2002). A relationship of secure attachment can thus be seen as a school ,rr rvhich we learn to effectively regulate affects not only in early childhood I’rrr throughout our lives. The secure pattern I’ve just sketched reflects what Main calls the l,ritnary attachment strategy. A biologically preprogrammed product of ( \’olution, it mandates the seeking of proximity to an attachment figure rr lrose affective attunement enables the infant to experience her both as a .,.rfc haven at moments of alarm and as a secure base whose availability rrr,rkes autonomous exploration possible. When, however, the infant’s emorrorral signals evoke misattuned responses from the caregiver that discour- ,rge either proximity seeking or autonomy, then this primary attachment \rrategy will be rejected. More accurately, it will be modified to adapt to rhc particular vulnerabilities of the (insecure) caregiver: The infant will de- ‘ clop a secondary attachment strategy that reflects either a deactiuation or ,t lnperactiuation of the attachment behavioral system. These strategies of rrrfancy can also be seen as the forerunners of psychological defenses that originate in the child’s necessary, if sometimes failed, efforts to make the l’est of a bad situation-that is, to ailapt to attachment figures whose own ,lcfenses have compromised their ability to interactively regulate the child’s ,rifects (Main, 1.990,1.995; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2003)