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Pride and shame in adventures of companionship: Primary aesthetic and moral values for human meaning and their importance in early development

Professor Colwyn Trevarthen

Descriptive research has demonstrated that infants are born intentional and sociable, with abilities for both self-regulation of mental state and intimate communication in affect attunement. They are highly sensitive to non-contingent or depressed or antagonistic responses. Advances in the development of confidence and confiding in acts of meaning with known companions are regulated by expressions of self-conscious pride and shame. Rhythmic movements of ‘communicative musicality’ convey messages of changing vital state in playful sympathy with other persons. The child shares purposes and interests with expression of aesthetic and moral emotions. Before speech is mastered, talents for playfulness and sociability, and for cooperative awareness of practical tasks, grow in narratives of creative well-being that hope to build rituals of a secure proto-habitus. These findings of primary emotional consciousness can support non-verbal therapies, and bring attention to the intersubjective foundations of verbal/cognitive therapies for older clients with their more complex concerns.


AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
25th ANNUAL CONFERENCE,
18 - 21 September 2014 State Library of NSW, Sydney
Visit ANZAP at: www.anzapweb.com

Colwyn Trevarthen
Colwyn Trevarthen
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VideoPride and shame in adventures of companionship: Primary aesthetic and moral values for human meaning and their importance in early developmentColwyn Trevarthen52'58"
icon mp3.gifPride and shame in adventures of companionship: Primary aesthetic and moral values for human meaning and their importance in early developmentColwyn Trevarthen 


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Professor Colwyn Trevarthen

Colwyn Trevarthen is Emeritus Professor of Child Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Edinburgh, and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Vice President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education. He originally trained as a biologist, before going on to study infancy research at Harvard in 1967, and has since published on brain development, infant communication and emotional health. His current research concerns how rhythm and expressions of musicality in movement help communication with children and may help parents, teachers and therapists give care and companionship to young children. Professor Trevarthen has published on brain development, infant communication and emotional health. He believes that very young babies rapidly develop proto-cultural intelligence through interacting with other people, including in teasing fun play. For instance, he has demonstrated that a newborn has an innate ability to initiate a dialogic relationship with an adult, and then build up this relationship through eye contact, smiling, and other holistic body functions rhythmically and cooperatively. He studied successful interactions between infants and their primary care givers, and found that the mother's responsiveness to her baby's initiatives supported and developed intersubjectivity (shared understanding), which he regarded as the basis of all effective communication, interaction and learning. He has applied intersubjectivity to the very rapid cultural development of new born infants and used the term ‘primary intersubjectivity’ to refer to early developing sensory-motor processes of interaction between infants and caregivers. He believes babies are looking for companionship (including the sense of fun and playfulness), engagement and relationship (rather than using the term attachment), and that companions can include mothers, fathers, other adults, peers and siblings; he has said "I think the ideal companion – and it can be a practitioner or not – is a familiar person who really treats the baby with playful human respect." In later years his work has focused on the musicality of babies, including its use in communication. http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/earlyyears/prebirthtothree/nationalguidance/conversations/colwyntrevarthen.asp

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