Reflective Caregiving

What is Reflective Caregiving?

Reflective capacities refer to the psychological processes underlying one’s ability to understand and communicate behavior as motivated by mental states, such as thoughts, motives, wants, desires, and emotions, in others as well as in oneself. This basic capacity is necessary for establishment of optimal communication is a meaningful relationship. That is, the ability to be curious and attuned to one’s own and other people’s thoughts and feelings in any interaction is an ability that promotes bonding, and forms the foundation upon which healthy interpersonal relationships are built and maintained; hence the importance of working on these capacities early on, from young age.  

To be able to understand oneself and others during interpersonal interactions, one is required to think broadly, while taking into account each partner’s personal characteristics (such as temperament), past or present experiences that may affect current thoughts and feelings, and the context in which the interaction takes place. The ability to stop, think and reflect on the different motivations gives us the opportunity to better understand ourselves and others, and reduce automatic reactions. Instead of immediately reacting, perhaps without giving thought to meanings or consequences of these reactions, parents start pausing and reflecting before they react to their child, thus facilitating attuned, positive interactions with their children.

We believe in the power of reflective caregiving and thinking, and see it as a vital part of healthy, kind, empowering, and nurturing family relationships.

Recommended Reading

What is mentalization? The concept and its foundations in developmental research.
In N. Midgley & I. Vrouva (Ed.), Minding the child (pp. 11-34). UK: Routledge.‏ Fonagy, P. & Allison, E. (2012).

Parental reflective functioning: An introduction.
Attachment & Human Development, 7, 269-281.‏ Slade, A. (2005).

Teacher–child relationships from an attachment perspective.
Attachment & Human Development, 14(3), 205-211. Verschueren, K., & Koomen, H. M. (2012).

Playing and reality.
London: Routledge. Winnicott, D. W. (1971). 

Maternal mentalization and behavior under stressful contexts: The moderating roles of prematurity and household chaos. Infancy, 21, 312-331. Yatziv, T., Gueron‐Sela, N., Meiri, G., Marks, K., & Atzaba-Poria, N. (2018).

What’s going on in my baby’s mind? Mothers’ executive functions contribute to individual differences in maternal mentalization during mother-infant interactions. 
PLoS ONE, 13(11): e0207869. Yatziv, T., Kessler, Y., Atzaba-Poria, N. (2018).