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What Is Family Therapy? + 6 Techniques & Interventions

Such issues remain largely unexplored. The relative strength of each contribution is difficult to assess and is almost entirely unknown in the large body of research literature on within-family socialization. What this study shows is that G and E operate jointly to produce an outcome. Interactions are also seen when organisms with a given set of genetic traits react in one way under one set of environmental conditions, but another way under different environmental conditions.

Plant biologists are able to point to dramatic examples, such as when there are two genetic strains of a grain, and strain 1 grows taller than strain 2 at high altitudes and shorter than strain 2 at low altitudes. Since that review, some progress has been made in the difficult enterprise of mapping the complex processes that intervene between genotype and phenotype, and recently there has been some success in uncovering interactions with respect to these better-defined processes. Different levels of reactivity in rats are associated with both neuroendocrine and behavioral functioning Caldji et al , Liu et al Reactive animals appear jittery and hesitate to explore novel environments.

In Rhesus monkeys, a gene has been isolated one of whose alleles is associated with the emergence of a reactive temperament Suomi If they are subjected to maternal deprivation during their first six months reared with peers but no adult females their neuroendocrine functioning is affected and they display a variety of pathological symptoms into adulthood, including incompetence in social interactions, low status in peer groups, and incompetence in mothering their own offspring Suomi By contrast, young animals who do not carry the genetic risk factor are much less affected by maternal deprivation.

In current work, genetically reactive newborn monkeys are being cross-fostered to nonreactive mothers, and preliminary observations indicate that calm mothering does indeed buffer them from the development of strongly reactive behavior. Cross-fostering work with rodents is also showing the positive effects of rearing genetically at-risk infants by a nurturant mother Anisman et al We see here that the effects of a genetic predisposition are strongly seen under one set of environmental rearing conditions but not another.

What is Transference In Therapy? - Kati Morton - Kati Morton

However, in such studies it is no longer possible to bypass measures of the environment and estimate E effects only as a residual after G effects have been estimated and subtracted out. Instead, there must be direct measures of both G and E. Another method is simply to compare the heritability estimates found in two different environments. In studies of adopted children, adoptive families vary with respect to the kind of environments they provide though the range of environmental variation is usually consistently narrower than in unselected populations , and interactions can be effectively studied.

In a large-scale study of adopted children in Finland Tienari et al , children with a schizophrenic biological parent were contrasted with adopted children who did not carry this genetic risk factor. It was found that the at-risk children were more likely to develop a range of psychiatric problems, but only if they were adopted into dysfunctional adoptive families. A study of adopted children whose biological parents did or did not have a history of criminality Bohman yielded similar results: Among adoptees who carried a risk factor from their biological parents, those who had been adopted into dysfunctional homes were over three times more likely to become petty criminals than those whose adoptive parents had provided a stable, supportive environment.

Taken together, these studies indicate that genetic risks may or may not become manifest, depending on the quality of the parenting children receive.

Transactional analysis

In other words, whatever genetic risks a child carries can require an environmental trigger to emerge into phenotypic expression. Well-functioning parents can buffer children against the emergence of negative genetic potentials. Since several dimensions of temperament are known to have a significant genetic component, 4 researchers have identified children with different temperaments, and studied how they differ in the way they interact with their parents and in the impact parental inputs have on them. Evidence has been emerging that a given parental practice can have different effects on children with different temperaments.

Kochanska , a studied the development of conscience in young children. She reported that for shy, temperamentally fearful children, parental power-assertion does not appear to promote conscience development—gentler techniques are called for. But with bold assertive children, effective parenting involves firmness, along with maternal responsiveness and the formation of a close emotional bond with the child. It is possible at this time to be more positive—though guardedly so—concerning the prevalence and power of these interactions. They may be more prevalent with respect to personality dimensions and psychopathology than they are with respect to cognitive dimensions, but they obviously cannot be detected by using the traditional additive approach to partitioning variance between G and E.

Indeed, the presence of interactions constitutes strong evidence against the validity of this approach.


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In molecular genetics, it is axiomatic that interactions are the rule, not the exception and that efforts to partition variance into the two traditional components are counterproductive. Behavior genetics studies have made substantial contributions to our understanding of the factors that underlie the variation among children in their intellectual and personality characteristics. These studies first began to appear in the s, and work done since that time has continued to confirm the power of genetic factors.

The precise magnitude of the genetic contribution to a given trait, however, has proved to be difficult to establish: Heritability estimates vary widely, and indeed there is no reason to expect that there exists any one valid number for any given trait. Instead, heritability inevitably depends on the range of variation within a given sample being studied, and on the socio-cultural milieu in which the studied population lives. No single estimate can ever be taken as definitive. I have argued that when genetic factors are strong, this does not mean that environmental ones, including parenting, must be weak.

The relation between the two is not a zero-sum game, and the additive assumption is untenable. There are environmental factors that can affect a group or population without greatly rearranging the rank order of individuals within that group. In such a case, estimates of heritability can remain high while at the same time powerful environmental forces are at work.

For this reason, it is not legitimate to extrapolate G or E estimates derived from a behavior genetic analysis to differences between groups e. These intervention programs have amply demonstrated that parenting does have direct effects on how children behave, both inside and outside the home.

When families are randomly assigned to an intervention group, the children show a reduction in problem behaviors by comparison with an untreated control group, and these effects are clearly independent of any genetic contribution to the outcome behavior being studied. Equally important is the presence of interactions between genes and environment, such that an environmental trigger is needed to evoke a genetic predisposition. Included here would be instances in which competent, supportive parenting protects a child from developing a dysfunction for which he or she is genetically predisposed.

Such interactions have been largely ignored in traditional behavior genetic studies. A crucially important contribution of behavior genetics has been to draw our attention to the unlikeness of siblings. While we may have been marginally aware of sibling disparities, the traditional studies of childhood socialization included only one child per family, and there was an implicit assumption that parents treated their various children much alike and that the effects of what they did would be similar for all their children.

We must now seriously reexamine these assumptions. We now know that the correlations between siblings with respect to many of their characteristics are very low—indeed, sometimes lower than their genetic relatedness would predict. Is the unlikeness of siblings due to their being treated differently by their parents? To some extent, yes, though findings are not consistent across studies. What the behavior geneticists have shown is that the genetic predispositions of different children often drive the responses of parents, determining to some degree the kind of parenting a child will receive.

To ignore this reciprocal influence is to seriously underestimate parenting effects. The unlikeness of siblings continues to be something we do not fully understand.

I argue that the risk-factor findings are indeed valid, but that they need not have the same effects on all children in a family nor function to make siblings more alike. Such factors could function as counter forces, working against parental inputs that might otherwise make siblings more alike.

But this is speculation. Much remains to be learned about this complex matter. As children grow beyond the preschool years, they are exposed more and more to other adult socialization agents teachers, coaches and, of course, to individual friends and larger peer groups. The two are inextricably interwoven all along the pathway from birth to maturity. So be it. Let us not underestimate either, but concentrate on the ways in which they function jointly. During the time I have been working on this chapter, I have also been participating with four colleagues in writing a closely related paper.

I gratefully acknowledge their help in searching out references and the clarifying value of our discussions.

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Anisman et al. Human Infancy Temperamentally difficult 1-year-olds who experience negative and intrusive mothering show externalizing behavior at 3 years Belsky et al. Toga and Paul M. The offspring of the high-LG and low-LG mothers also differ in behavioral responses to novelty Caldji et al. These differences in behavioral responses to stress are associated with altered activity in the CRF system that links the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis to the noradrenergic cells of the locus coeruleus Caldji et al.

The function of GABAergic neurons in the limbic system is also regulated by maternal care Caldji et al.

Indian family systems, collectivistic society and psychotherapy

Southwick, Meena Vythilingam, and Dennis S. Bale 1 and Wylie W. Shaw and Elizabeth C. This theoretical perspective was expanded by Conger and colleagues in studying the patterning of effects of the Iowa farm crisis on family functioning and child mental health and behavior e. Findings from both developmental and experimental intervention studies also suggest a similar bidirectional association between parenting and maternal depression Conger et al.

Odgers 1 and Sara R. Lawrence Aber and Neil G. This finding was replicated in another sample at two ages Kochanska , Kochanska argued that, Kochanska Modeling ELS in animal models has centered on levels of maternal care during the first few weeks of life , Robison , and Eric J.

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