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!

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

Meet the specialists


Attachment is a fancy therapy-word for important relationships. Our earliest relationships with our primary caregivers become the foundation for how we relate to others throughout our lives. But attachment is fluid, so later relationships still affect us such as with friends or mentors. If there were wounds in early relationships, then our self-esteem, romantic/platonic relationships can also be impacted later. I will help you heal old wounds and foster new, healthy relationships.

— Rebecca Doppelt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

Attachment theory focuses on the how we have learned to experience ourselves and others through the relationships that we were raised in, and can help to inform who some people struggle with trust, intimacy and communication in intimate partner relationships as well as how these struggles may be improved through therapy and couples therapy. Attachment theory is closely related to both family systems and object relations models of psychotherapy.

— Joseph Winn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Concord, MA

Humans are wired for connection and relationship. Attachment wounds can impact feeling comfortable in relationships. Exploring your attachment identity can provide insight into how you navigate your interactions with others and working on developing more attachment security can improve your satisfaction in those relationships.

— Leah Logan, Clinical Social Worker in Boise, ID

Much of my lens is founded in exploring the relational coping mechanisms developed in childhood, and how they live on and impact relationships today. The better we are able to understand the ways we have been unconsciously trying to protect ourselves and how these actions impact others, the more empowered we are to shift to emotional processing and communication tools that help support the relationships and lives we strive for.

— Elizabeth Hawkins, Sex Therapist

Understanding one's attachment style alongside other attachment styles, generally known as anxious, avoidant, and secure attachment styles, helps illuminate great opportunities for interpersonal and personal growth in one's life. This is determined through assessment, bibliotherapy, insight into one's condition, and experiencing growth through the integration of one's Self within their efforts to connect and bond with others.

— Roderic Burks, MS, MS HSc, MA, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

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 have graduate-level education in attachment theory, and have utilized techniques associated with this modality throughout my professional career.

— Lia Ryan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

The roots of attachment influence our relationships, self esteem, and give us a secure base from which we live. Understanding our own attachment and how it impacts us is a key focus of therapeutic work.

— Karl Thomas, Student Therapist in St. Paul, MN

I work collaboratively with partners, families and individuals who want to foster connection and form deeper, more loving relationships. I also work with parents to identify their struggles with parenting (be it a one time issue or an on going parenting struggle) and develop a plan to support the entire family system.

— Gina DeLeo, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in , OR

Attachment, connection, belonging and community are as necessary for human existence as water and food. It is within loving and caring relationships that we learn how to cope with and manage our feelings, find motivation and initiative to pursue our goals and intentions, and learn empathy and compassion. Being hurt, abused, violated or betrayed within a trusted relationship, especially our earliest relationships with our caregivers, often create future relationship insecurities and anxieties.

— Beth Holzhauer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Evanston, IL

They psychology of Attachment nearly always comes into play with whatever issues my clients are here to address. You will gain so much clarity and self-knowledge from exploring your attachment style and engaging in proven methods to improve the way we experience connection, closeness, and intimacy.

— Mike Ensley, Counselor in Loveland, CO

In addition to my degree in social work, I also have a master's in psychology, and gained expertise through this in child development and attachment. I utilize attachment theory in practice, and believe it is central to understanding of mental health for many.

— Mariah HallBilsback, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I believe our early attachment experiences stick with us into adulthood and can mess things up for us pretty badly in our relationships if we don't heal and recover.

— Heather Lenox, Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC

My treatment modalities are rooted in attachment theory and the idea that early life experiences do impact us as we move through life

— Bethany Thomas, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Minneapolis 55418, MN

Attachment-based therapy allows a patient to pinpoint life experiences in early life that have led to thoughts, feelings, communications, behaviors, and relationship struggles that a patient used strategically to get through life, but are not helping one function any longer.

— Ami Lynch, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Arlington, VA