Wednesday, February 26, 2014.  I tried a Google search a while ago for the terms ‘daniel siegel planet earth’ – and my computer crashed.  True, this old beater is – well – old.  I rebooted and began again this time narrowing my search through a Google Books search to this book:

The Developing Mind

By Daniel J. Siegel, 2nd edition, 2012.  (I see on amazon.com you can RENT this book.  I’ve never before heard of such a thing!)

I am especially interested in what is in the beginning of the first chapter of this book.  You can read it HERE although the yellow highlighting might be a little distracting at first.  Those of you who FOLLOW THIS LINK are in for a treat (assuming this link remains active for any length of time).  If not, just Google Book search for my initial terms that led me to this chapter – ‘daniel siegel relationship planet’.

I read, no devoured the 2001 first edition of this book.  I don’t have the energy or motivation to start over again with this updated edition.  What I want to know is evidently not in this book, anyway – as stated in this chapter one.

And the mind is also relational, not a product created in isolation.  These relationships include the communication an individual has with other entities in the world, especially people.  This book focuses especially on the important ways in which interpersonal relationships shape how the mind emerges in our human lives.  But we also have a relationship with nature, with this planet, with the Earth upon which we live, that shapes our mental (and physical) lives as well.  This is a vital form of relationship that sustains us in the air we breathe and the water we drink.  But this book is focused primarily on the person-to-person aspect of our relationships.”  Page 5


Earlier on page 3 Siegel notes:  “Energy and information flow is what is shared among people within a culture….”

I know something else, as I noted in my last post.  It is a fact that “energy and information flow” is also shared between humans and all of life, NOT just “among people within a culture.”  If Siegel knows this – he did not state it here.


Siegel displays the history of the definition he created for MIND — and I think this is the first/ONLY scientific definition of mind on the planet — in these early pages of his book in chapter one.  This is his definition of mind:

The mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.”  (from the top of page 3)

Siegel also talks at the beginning of this chapter on page 3 about “interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB)” as he states:

IPNB embraces everything from our deepest relational connections with one another to the synaptic connections we have within our extended nervous systems.  It encompasses the interpersonal power of cultures and families, as well as insights into molecular mechanisms; each contributes to the reality of our subjective mental lives.  IPNB is not a branch of neuroscience, but a broad field drawing on the findings from a wide range of disciplines that explore the nature of what it means to be human.  Based on science, IPNB seeks to create an understanding of the interconnections among the brain, the mind, and our interpersonal relationships.  IPNB can also be used to understand our relatedness beyond the interpersonal, to other living creatures and to our whole planet.  With this approach, new strategies for both understanding and promoting well-being are possible.  We can both define the mind and outline practical steps for how to cultivate a healthy mind as it develops across the lifespan.”


This is specifically what I want to know more about:  “our relatedness beyond the interpersonal, to other living creatures and to our whole planet.” 

I am tantalized with these words – and then left with absolutely NOTHING more.  Scanning the index of the book leaves me nowhere to go for the information I seek  (I do see fascinating new additions to the book under ‘epigenetic factors’.)


The other wing of the bird of my current interest and investigation relates to how someone with a severe abuse and insecure/unsafe attachment history might become secure enough in adulthood to provide secure attachment to their children and not to pass the trauma of their own early life on to their offspring.

This is a very complex issue and one I do not expect to understand in its fullness, by any means.  At this point I am simply examining language being used in attachment studies to identify some of these kinds of patterns.

The index of this book shows

“Earned” secure autonomous status in three areas of the text:

(1) pages 119-120

(2) pages 142-143  (Very important information about the essence of attachment styles is presented on these pages – use of the side scroll bar might allow you to access these pages from any other place in the book.  If not, just Google for Google Books and put in ““Earned” secure autonomous status” and you will find it.  I think a search inside the book on amazon is too limiting to get to these pages.  I may be wrong!)

3) page 324 (I don’t see that this page on “earned secure attachment” can be accessed online.)


Of particular interest to me in my search for understanding the difference between Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (which Siegel states as I mention in THIS POST is not an insecure attachment disorder) and “disorganized/disoriented insecure attachment are the following two paragraphs from page 142.

It is amazing that such a complex process as interpersonal communication and parent-child relationships can actually be understood in a fairly simple manner:  Attachment at its core is based on parental sensitivity and responsivity to the child’s signals, which allow for collaborative parent-child communication.  Contingent communication gives rise to secure attachment and is characterized by a collaborative give-and-take of signals between the members of the pair.  Contingent communication relies on the alignment of internal experiences, or states of mind, between child and caregiver.  This mutually sharing, mutually influencing set of interactions – this emotional attunement or mental state resonance – is the essence of healthy, secure attachment.

Suboptimal attachments arise with repeated patterns of noncontingent communication.  A parent’s communication and own internal states may be oblivious to the child’s [in essence the parent does not SEE the child], as in avoidant attachment.  In contrast, an ambivalently attached child experiences the parent’s communication as inconsistently contingent; at times it is intrusive, and yet at other times there is an alignment of their internal states.  If the parent is a source of disorientation or terror, the child will develop a disorganized/disoriented attachment.  In such a dyad, not only is communication noncontingent, but the messages sent by the parent create an internal state of chaos and overwhelming fear of the parent within the child.”

In my case I had no relationship of any kind with my father.  Mother did not allow one and father was not one to ever stand against her.

This would be THE BEST I could say of Mother’s relationship with me (as different from her relationship with my five siblings):  “If the parent is a source of disorientation or terror, the child will develop a disorganized/disoriented attachment.  In such a dyad, not only is communication noncontingent, but the messages sent by the parent create an internal state of chaos and overwhelming fear of the parent within the child.”

My problem in “working with” Siegel’s statement is that I cannot see that this pattern constitutes any kind of an attachment relationship at all!  I intimately know what I am talking about.  I was NEVER SEEN by her – and NEVER was I ‘safe and secure’ as her daughter in any way.  Mother was so psychotic regarding me that I did not exist AT ALL separate from being her projected own bad, evil self (that she had to create a permanent hell for and trap me within).

This is NOT attachment, and if this is the case than I DO fit the Reactive Attachment Disorder pattern rather than any named “insecure attachment” category.

What difference does any of this thinking make to me?  I am not sure – yet.  I do not see how a scientific rule can be a rule if there is even ONE exception, and I may well be that one exception.

If I do in fact “have” RAD – which is NOT an insecure attachment disorder according to Siegel – then everything about my relationships with my children would therefore apparently be excluded from any discussion related to “earned secure attachment” by default.  As I think my way through all of this I may find that my own term for what I experienced (and still do) with my children, BORROWED SECURE ATTACHMENT is exactly correct.  (Where are my peers, then?)

(Siegel goes on past the above paragraphs to talk about “earned secure attachment”.)


The AAI = the Adult Attachment Interview.  CLICK HERE and scroll down to page three for a description of this protocol which is used to assess adult attachment styles.

This is completely out of my budget, but Dr. Siegel has published a seminar recording (2012) titled

Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview

I wish I could hear what he says about this because I suspect he is illuminating the release, finally, of the AAI for public use.  I also want to know where to access information about this release and of the current standing of the AAI in its public use.


I am making a note here where I can find it to investigate this — Patricia M. Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model of attachment theory


Here is our first book out in ebook format.  A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben!  Click here to view or purchase: 


It lists for $2.99 and can be read free for Amazon Prime customers.  Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!


Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment »



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