Feedback to Origins Reaction

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In this post I’d like to provide some of the feedback I received concerning my three-part reaction to the 2014 book Origins of Attachment co-written by Beatrice Beebe and Frank Lachmann.

Jeremy Holmes—author of the 2009 book Exploring in Security: Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy—emailed to let me know that John Bowlby was first influenced by Kenneth Craig in the area of Inner Working Models (IWM). Jeremy emailed: “Bowlby’s IWMs idea originally came from Kenneth Craig, a Cambridge psychologist who died very young in the late 1940s.” Thanks Jeremy. I Googled Kenneth Craig and was not able to find much information. If anyone has more information on Kenneth Craig and his work in the area of Inner Working Models, please leave a comment or email me. I’d love to know more about this early influence.

Another reader wanted to know my thoughts on where all of this trauma (talked about in my Origins reaction series) was coming from, especially trauma directed toward mothers. Here’s one source I have heard and read about.

Long and multiple deployments have played havoc on military families. As a result of long and multiple deployments, kids as young as seven years old are attempting suicide. That is so beyond the human pale. (Bowlby had a lot to say about such suicide attempts, but I’ll spare you.) That’s both boys and girls making suicide attempts. And here’s an example of where attachment may not be enough. Secure attachment early on may not be enough to buffer kids dealing with a missing parent at age six or seven. And these problems have hit the news (although the military likes to keep the lid on these types of stories). Here’s one example:

War Deployments Raise Risk of Abuse

In 1993, Julia Vormbrock wrote an article entitled Attachment Theory As Applied to Wartime and Job-Related Marital Separation (Psychological Bulletin, vol. 114, no. 1, p 122–144). Vormbrock’s article came out just after the close of the first Gulf War, which ended in February, 1991. Part of Vormbrock’s study focused on putting wartime separations into a Bowlbian attachment theory frame. Since Vormbrock’s article came out, attention has been slowly focused on what long and multiple deployments can do to the affectional bonds of a family system. (Remember that Bowlby, along with people like Winnicott, protested the UK’s practice of evacuating young children from the cities to the supposedly safer countryside during WWII.) As you would expect, these research efforts reemerged with the start of the second Gulf War in 2003. In 2006, Stacy Bannerman released her personal account entitled WHEN THE WAR CAME HOME: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind. Here’s what I wrote to a colleague in an email back in 2009:

I was driving home listening to Mike Malloy on the radio. He was talking about an Op-Ed piece that appeared over at It was by Stacy Bannerman and it was about how the kids of military families were reacting negatively to parents (both mothers and fathers) coming and going as they go through multiple deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Apparently Bannerman’s husband had just returned from his second deployment, so this was a very personal account. As I listened to Malloy, all that I could think of is “this is ALL about attachment.” What really stunned me was Bannerman’s observation that kids as young as seven—yes, seven—are attempting suicide because of these traumatic deployment separations. Bannerman doesn’t use attachment terms and concepts, but she gets it. After I got home I found the piece over at Here’s the “showstopper” statement for me: “America’s military kids are in crisis, presenting acute, debilitating symptoms of deployment-related stress, virtual mirrors of their parents who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Click on this link to access Bannerman’s web site for more information.

So, here’s one example of where trauma is coming from. And it’s a huge example that few really are talking about. [1] As far as going up river to the source of “bodies in the water” (see my blog series for a description of the river metaphor), long and multiple deployments are throwing a lot of bodies in the water: men, women, mothers, fathers, boys, girls, families.

Thanks for the feedback on my blog series. If you have thoughts on where all of the trauma is coming from, feel free to leave a comment.


[1] The movie American Sniper touches on the toll multiple deployments takes on a family. Chris Kyle, who is the focus of American Sniper, completed four tours of duty in the Iraq war (1999–2009).