Attachment Theory

Attachment theory, first developed by John Bowlby, is a psychology concept focused on the importance of attachment in relation to personal development. According to Bowlby’s theory, attachment is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process that begins at birth and continues through the first years of life. Fundamental to attachment theory is the belief that a child's relationship with the primary caregiver (usually the mother), affects their attachment style for the rest of their life. Unresolved or insecure attachment issues experienced in early childhood can have a negative impact on relationships into adulthood. A therapist who specializes in attachment theory can help.  Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today!

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In the early stages of our development, we start to establish a conceptualization of the minds of others and how well they can understand our inner world. This capacity to understand the minds of ourselves and others is rooted in our ability to attach with others and build trusting relationships securely. This capacity helps increase emotional regulation, alternative perspective-taking, executive functioning, behavioral modification, and more.

— Kyle McEvoy, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

Each of us has a story, and that begins with your formative relationships: the people who shaped your way of relating to those around you and yourself. If you will allow yourself to walk through both the stunning beauty and stunning brokenness of those relationships it is possible to find a freedom you have never known, a greater ability to change the painful dynamics in your life, and deeper kindness for both yourself and those you love.

— Cresaya E. Kingsbury @ Wild Foxgloves Counseling, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Vancouver, WA

How we are raised affects how we act in a relationships. We can reparent ourselves and change our behavior.

— Tanya Martinez-Cardenas, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Kyle,, TX

From the day we are born, we begin to connect to our caregivers and learn quickly in what ways we are supported and offered love. Even if our caretakers had the best of intentions, we can often develop an insecure attachment style which informs the way we interact with the world. If we can start to better understand our behaviors in relationships through this lens, we can begin to demystify some of the unhealthy patterns in our lives.

— RANDI WALLER, Licensed Professional Counselor

Like Family Systems Theory, I use Attachment Theory as a way to help clients process their relationships to their parents and their partners. This approach I use less frequently, but it is something I employ when there is significant anxiety around relationships with parents or partners.

— Meg Six, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Grand Rapids, MI

I completed a post-grad program at Denver Family Institute that resulted in a certificate in Marriage/Couples and Family Therapy. During my 3.5 years at Denver Family Institute, I received instruction on a variety of attachment theories. I have worked with many clients over my 5 years as a therapist, using attachment theories to help them understand themselves and others by thoughtfully examining behaviors and reflecting on both past and present, significant relationships.

— Ashley Gray, Social Worker in Arvada, CO

Growing up you were subjected to many massages and beliefs, usually passed down from your parents but also from the culture. These beliefs and messages impact you today. Therefore, we will help you uncover and change these messages to help you live an authentic life.

— Body Expressions Eating Disorder Services, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

Attachment work originally began with John Bowlby and was defined as "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings." Attachment theory explains how the relationship between a parent and child emerges and how that relationship then influences an individual's development. I work with individuals to get a thorough understanding of their attachment development to understand more about what they may be encountering emotionally and cognitively; as individuals and within relationships.

— Jon Soileau, Licensed Professional Counselor in Kansas City, MO

Attachment theory is a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory concerning relationships between humans. The most important tenet is that young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for normal social and emotional development. (Wikipedia) Those that do not develop this strong attachment may find various psychological, psycho-sexual and/or interpersonal difficulties in their lives. Understanding their attachment can help resolve issues.

— Jessica VerBout, Marriage & Family Therapist in Minnetonka, MN

I work from an attachment perspective to de-escalate the problematic interactional cycle maintaining attachment insecurity and relationship distress by creating a therapeutic alliance and accessing unacknowledged primary emotions. Working from an attachment perspective allows individuals and couples access in underlying attachment-related emotions and the needs associated with these emotions opens the individual, couple, and/or family to address needs in new ways.

— Tatum Santacasa, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

Attachment theory is one of the keys to understanding yourself and your patterns in relationships. Attachment work in therapy is crucial to helping you strengthen the relationship you have with yourself and with other people. Working on attachment issues can help relationships make more sense and flow with more ease. This work is a game changer when it comes to finding and maintaining healthy, satisfying, long-lasting relationships.

— Julia Lehrman, Psychotherapist in San Francisco, CA

Understanding attachment theory and add in the PloyVagal theory you get a sense of greater ways to regulate yourself in and out of your relationships. The patterns you learned in the styles of attachment in your multigenerational linage can play a large part in the way your body responds to conflict and connection. Over time we get to explore and heal these old patterns to bring on more thrive in your life.

— Karen Lucas, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Attachment-based therapy is a process-oriented form of psychological counseling. The client-therapist relationship is based on developing or rebuilding trust and centers on expressing emotions. An attachment-based approach to therapy looks at the connection between your early attachment experiences with primary caregivers and your current ability to develop meaningful and healthy attachments now.

— Danika Grundemann, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Attachment therapy for adults is a form of therapy that aims to help individuals who have issues with attachment stemming from childhood experiences such as neglect, abuse, or trauma. It is based on the idea that these experiences can affect a person's ability to form healthy and secure relationships in adulthood, leading to problems like anxiety, depression, and difficulty in forming and maintaining close relationships.

— Whitney Russell, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor in convenient and effective online therapy & career coaching in Austin, Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and everywhere across Texas, TX

My therapeutic style with children, teens and adults is informed by attachment theory. I have advanced training in Theraplay which is an attachment based child therapy treatment.

— Lindsay Bunselmeyer, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

Having relationships that feel safe and secure and loving is a basic human need. Sometimes the struggles we are having are clearly related to our attachments. Other times, the connection may be less obvious, but our ways of feeling and navigating interpersonal relationships tends to be a deep underlying factor of our distress. That is why attachment theory is my favorite lens through which to view therapy, although I certainly have many others.

— Brad Schlosser, Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern in St. Petersburg, FL

I have been trained as a Foundational Level Theraplay practitioner which is a modality that focuses on attachment and aims on forming stronger relationships within the family unit.

— Christine M. Valentín, Clinical Social Worker in Middlesex, NJ