A mother and her young adolescent son have had struggles throughout the day. She feels sad and unresolved as she experiences their mutual avoidance. She asks him if they can discuss how they have managed some of the conflict. He is squirmy and her tension rises. He peers at her through squinting eyes. She tries several approaches at convincing him that “communication is important.” He stares through her and she realizes that there is something working against them.
The concept of a “secure base”, introduced by developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 1960’s, reflects the empathic and interested responses of caregivers to a child's attachment needs. With security as a foundation exploration of the environment follows. "Safe haven" (John Bowlby) is a term which describes the consistent acknowledgent and soothing a child can return to when she feels tension. For example, a toddler expresses excitement discovering that she can make a ball roll.