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“So tell me about your mother.”
It’s become somewhat of a cliche in pop psychology: if you want to better understand your relationship patterns and improve your capacity to connect with others, you have to take a close look at the very first relationships you ever formed — your relationship with your parents and/or caregivers.
As Dr. Keith often reminds us, “Everything is relationships.” And these early relationships often set the tone and cadence for all the other relationships we will ever form in our lives. The coping strategies we learn in preadolescence become our inner compass later in life, and our efforts as grownups can often be seen as expressions, compensations, or substitute gratifications for the sense of security we may or may not have felt as children.
In other words, the ways our parents or caregivers respond to our needs as children result in a number of core assumptions about who we are, how others see us, and our overall sense of self-worth. We typically carry these unexamined core assumptions with us for the rest of our lives, which in turn influence how we go about seeking intimacy and fulfilling our needs as adults — not only in our romantic relationships, but also in our work, in our creative pursuits, in our own approach to parenting, and even in our spiritual life.
These underlying patterns and dynamics are best described by a psychological framework known as “attachment theory”, yet another essential tool to help us more fully understand, uncover, and unlock the promise and potential of the Integral mind.
What is Attachment Theory?
Attachment theory is a psychological framework that seeks to understand how our early relationships with caregivers, particularly our parents, shape our emotional and social development throughout our lives. It was first proposed by British psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s and has since been expanded upon by other researchers.
According to attachment theory, the quality of the bond that develops between a child and their primary caregiver has a profound impact on the child’s emotional and social development. This bond is formed through repeated interactions between the child and caregiver, in which the caregiver responds to the child’s needs for comfort, safety, and affection.
Attachment theory identifies three primary attachment styles: secure attachment, insecure-avoidant attachment, and insecure-anxious attachment. Children with a secure attachment style have caregivers who are consistently responsive and emotionally available, and they tend to be confident and trusting in their relationships. Children with insecure-avoidant attachment have caregivers who are emotionally distant or unresponsive, and they tend to avoid seeking comfort or support. Children with insecure-anxious attachment have caregivers who are inconsistent in their responses, and they tend to be anxious and uncertain in their relationships.
Attachment theory has been applied to a wide range of fields, from developmental psychology to psychotherapy to organizational behavior. It has been used to inform parenting practices, to help individuals understand and improve their relationships, and to develop interventions to help those with insecure attachment styles.
Previous Episodes of Witt & Wisdom
How Self-Hatred Can Lead to Self Transformation
Escaping the Comfort Zone: Motivation, Shame, and the Will to Transform
Psychedelic Therapy and the Politics of Consciousness
How Change Works: Supporting Vertical Development
How Healthy Relationships Manage Conflict
Personality as the Base Note of Change Work
Making Sense of Madness: Personality Disorders and Mass Formation Delusions
Authoring Your Life Story: The Hero’s Journey and You
How to Teach Kids About Sex and Gender
An Integral Understanding of Narcissism and Gaslighting
The Awakened Brain: The Neurobiology of Spiritual Experience
From Codependence to Interdependence
Transforming Trauma Into Resilience
Finding Resilience in a Flood of Disinformation
Honesty, Humility, and Reality Distortion Fields
How to Manage Passive Aggression
Martial Arts and Psychotherapy
Into the Dreaming
Overcoming Confirmation Bias
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About Keith Witt
Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.
Another good session with @corey-devos and Dr. Keith. The main interest here is development, therapy, relationships, parenting, and psychology in general.
I’m going to risk forking the discussion (this might need to become its own thread), simply because I’m deep in the weeds in a side discussion with another IL member about “mass formation” and Dr. Keith brought that topic in. For reference, here are pro and contra views on recent social use of the term “mass formation”.
Dr. Keith appears to legitimize the use of the term “mass formation” and to relate it to attachment theory. Is mass formation a real thing? Are there limits to it? Is it plausible that COVID isolation triggered mass formation response or other usual responses based on differing levels of childhood or current attachment in different people?
Love to hear what people think about any of this!
I shared a post of Matthias’ interview on the Brett Weinstein podcast here (Totalitarianism Warning ... Intelligent & Highly Educated are Vulnerable). He’s a professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium. I have read his book and recommend reading it … for clarity of understanding.
The c-net article you shared is typical “fact-check” push back in the propaganda power wars. The article ignores all the relevant information presented in his book and just spews discrediting adjectives at this Professor and his concerns and conclusions about mass formations.
All this fact-check push back information will appear on every Google search related to the topic … this seems designed to undermine and discredit his insights … IT IS THEIR CENSORSHIP algorithm and platform after all. We are all clearly incapable of deciphering what’s propaganda from what’s true, we must trust Google!
This censorship is also happening with medical doctors. Doctor Peter McCullough is a medically trained vaccination specialist who, despite being credible enough to testify before congress, has had his videos blocked on Youtube. Why does a Google search send you to Wikipedia which labels him a promoter of misinformation about COVID-19, its treatments, and mRNA vaccines?
Who is making this decision? Based on what authority exactly? Who is the scientific expert at Wikipedia? What medical professional at Youtube has such credentials? Who are medically qualified to silence these highly educated medical professionals? Isn’t this censorship a totalitarianism practice in and of itself?
Why is there is no one medically challenging their professional conclusions in a public forum where credibility matters? Who will dare a public interview with these guys, only other misfits to the system like kook’s Joe Rogan, Brett Weinstein, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin? No medical professionals are allowed to discuss this in public? WHY NOT!!??
If you are too frail or mentally weak to draw your own conclusions … I WARN YOU DO NOT CLICK the following it will expose you to a McCullough’s video sharing his information … if you’re brave enough to inform yourself and trust your own thinking, here’s your opportunity to chance a red-pill moment … if the link isn’t being blocked of course.
A few points -
On the question of Arendt vs Desmet on totalitarianism (see #1 above), I’m team Arendt. If you want a more economical political concept for the general idea of powerful people getting into the heads of the masses, consider Gramsci’s “hegemony”.
Do powerful elites get in the heads of the masses? Heck yes! It’s called advertising. Also entertainment, news, and education. There are blue swarm elites and red swarm elites, each preaching to their respective choirs.
My favorite author on all this is Habermas. By all means, please do decolonize your lifeworld! That’s a fancy way of saying make up your own mind about things, in equal-footed dialog with others who are also making up their own minds.
So circling back to Dr. Keith’s usage of “mass formation”. I doubt he is trying to connect attachment theory to a massive totalitarian conspiracy. But since the whole idea of mass formation has political implications, I make bold to advance an interdisciplinary hypothesis. Namely, poorly attached persons have trouble forming integrated personalities with clear self-other boundaries. This leaves more openings for “hegemony” or “colonization” to impose self concepts from the outside and to manipulate people into actions in the interests of external systems. The pathway to liberation is through integration. Attachment therapy can help with that.
Before reading and discussing opinions on his opinion, I recommend reading the book.
@robert.bunge I would love to get your personal take away from his complete argument, not the biased snippets discussed from either side. The substance of his concerns are real enough to hear them in their entirety. To argue either side concisely may make for better reader engagement but will not deliver greater integral understanding.
@excecutive - you point to an important problem for Integral Theory (and the world in general). Namely, not enough hours in the day to read every book. Confession to the IL community - I have read 2 or 3 Ken Wilber books - not nearly all of them!
@executive - I am reading currently another book your recommended, namely Freinacht, H. (2017). The listening society: That book sheds some light on this dilemma. According to Freinacht, the next level of politics beyond postmodern involves “collective intelligence”. I believe that. For this reason, I like posting ideas to IL. There are a lot of smart, sincere people here who have read many books I will never have time to read. If I am getting ideas seriously wrong, I imagine there are others who can gently guide me to deeper understandings.
Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com
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