Attachment and Neurobiology: Clinical Applications
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This study explores the application of neurobiological research on attachment to therapeutic practice. The premise of the study is that an understanding of biological components of attachment can enrich counseling approaches, particularly in working with survivors of trauma and complex trauma. Early attachment experiences in combination with genetic predispositions and general environmental conditions (for example, the presence or absence of poverty or war) have enduring effects on neurological development, and subsequently on emotional, psychological, and physical health across the lifespan. Peer relations and adult intimate relationships are influenced by early attachment experiences. Cognitive development and school performance may also be affected. And, there is a growing body of evidence that many physical health problems can be traced to early childhood abuse or emotional neglect. Counselors who have an understanding of the biological substrate of attachment will have an enhanced empirical foundation from which to design many different kinds of interventions for many of their clients.