Psychotherapy and Neuroscience

Self-reference (18-30 months)

From birth to the first 18 months the infant’s identity becomes fused with caregiver and with maturity the infant individuates from caregiver to form his/her own identity. The infant needs to fuse and attach first before it can later individuate to form a sense of self-reference. Premature individuation, as during the state of insecure attachment, is perceived as stressful and as breaching social motivational need for love. It results in negative primary appraisals of self in interaction. This underlies low self-esteem, the chronic stress response, and cumulatively compiles holistically to form ongoing theory of mind at any point in time.