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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Attachment is the emotional bond we form with another person. The attachment with our early caregivers can leave an impact on one's life and relationships depending on how accessible, available, responsive, and consistent they were. This is called an attachment style and it can impact how we relate and connect with other people. According to Attachment Theory, our adult relationships often mirror the dynamic we had with our caregivers.

— Stephanie Gast, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Fullerton, CA

Strong attachment = good mental health. My goal is to model a healthy relationship that can then be applied in the outside world including exploring and discovering emotions. I want my clients to have a genuine experience of their self and believe they are unique and lovable. Being heard = feeling validated.

— David Strah, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Working with attachment theory means I pay close attention to how a person shows up in relationships which includes strangers.

— Vanessa Tate, Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

Early childhood and relational experiences are at the heart of many mental health related diagnoses and symptoms. We will likely explore how you developed into the person you are today and if you have any behaviors or concerns that you would like to evolve from. We will practice relational ways of being together, so that you may start to experience relationships differently outside of therapy.

— Rose Novak, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR

Trained and experienced in attachment theory.

— Michele Koenes, Licensed Master of Social Work in Ada, MI

If you find yourself struggling with fear and reactivity in your relationships, you might be suffering from an attachment issue. If you grew up with inconsistent, unreliable, fearful or frightening parents, you might find intimacy uncomfortable, or never feel like you can never get as close to your partner as you would like to be. You might become fearful or angry at your partner in ways that don't seem to make sense. It does make sense, though, truly... please reach out and I'll tell you more!

— Ursa Davis, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Edgewater, CO

Exploration of how attachment in early childhood impacts adult relationships, sense of self, and identity development.

— Caitlin Noelani Minniear, Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships, including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners.

— Laura McMaster, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Atlanta, GA

Our early attachments have profound impacts on us. The therapeutic relationship offers a unique opportunity for repair.

— Bronwyn Shiffer, Clinical Social Worker in Madison, WI

I became enamored with Attachment Theory in graduate school including joining a group of psychologists studying Daniel Siegel's book The Developing Mind (one of the earliest books on interpersonal neurobiology). Afterwards I sought out trainings from Daniel Siegel as well as others like Carol George and Diana Fosha for years. Attachment theory is the foundation of my approach to therapy, particularly the centrality of safety in relationships in order to explore, expand, and face challenges.

— Mackenzie Steiner, Psychologist in Austin, TX

I believe that so much of who you are comes from the coding that you have built and developed starting from the first day you were born. I provide a space that helps you understand what makes you tick and inspires you to shift unhelpful relationship and behavioral patterns into ones that work for you.

— Amy Kirsztajn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Rafael, CA

Fundamentally, therapy works because of the trust developed in the therapeutic relationship. This is a mirror to our early attachment systems which may have been effected by early family events and later relationships. We are gifted with neuroplasticity, which allows these systems to be rewired and reengineered within safe supportive relationships.

— Sunny Jansma-Simon, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Silverdale, WA

Our early relationships give us a sense of whether or not we are safe and welcomed in the world. Whether or not we are worthy of being treated with kindness, love, and respect. Attachment-informed trauma therapy can help to repair the psychological wounds from childhood, providing relief from cycles of shame, blame, guilt, doubt, and emotional overwhelm. Outcomes of healing these early wounds can include improved health, relationships, and boundaries, and reduced anxiety, stress, and depression.

— Kim Torrence, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD