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Harpaz-Rotem, I. Bergman, A. (2006). On an Evolving Theory of Attachment: Rapprochement—Theory of a Developing Mind. Psychoanal. St. Child, 61:170-189.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 61:170-189

On an Evolving Theory of Attachment: Rapprochement—Theory of a Developing Mind

Ilan Harpaz-Rotem, Ph.D. and Anni Bergman, Ph.D.

This paper adds a new dimension to the evolution of attachment and of representation formation in the toddler stage. During rapprochement, under appropriate conditions, symbolic activity begins to take prominence over sensorimotor activity to guide and regulate affective experience. We propose that as the toddler comes to increasingly reorganize early sensorimotor experiences under the influence of language, the mother plays a new and vital role in helping the toddler achieve new and higher levels of organization. The intensity of the toddler's proximity seeking-behavior, as described by Bowlby, takes on a new element in light of the toddler's need for mother as an essential interlocutor who helps him or her to verbally articulate and organize experience. The toddler's need to seek proximity with mother, particularly profound

during the rapprochement phase, serves not only to safe-guard the toddler's physical well-being but to ensure the survival of the child's developing mind. Moreover, the mother's failure to respond appropriately during this time to this emerging need for her as a verbal interpreter of experience may result in disruption of the toddler's burgeoning ability to make appropriate use of verbally mediated representations of the world, self, and others.

This paper discusses the rapprochement stage in light of this new developmental perspective.

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