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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The most fundamental relationships in our lives are those that we form early on, with our caregivers. They provide the scaffolding upon which we base our interactions with other people, the world, and ourselves. If a caregiver does not meet the basic physical and emotional needs of the child, then wounds are formed that influence how we relate to everything in our lives going forward. I work with people to understand how their attachment patterns might be influencing their life currently.

— Amanda (Amy) Richardson, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in West Lake Hills, TX

Attachment theory suggests that infants form bonds with their caretakers instinctively to ensure safety and survival. These early bonds, known as attachment styles, continue to impact a person's relationships throughout their life. By understanding attachment theory, we can gain insight into a person's emotional and physiological bonds when it comes to forming relationships, particularly with romantic partners.

— Matthew Cobb, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

Attachment theory is one of the bedrocks upon which I have built my own approach and skill set. Just as we can be grievously injured in relationship, we can grow and heal in one too. I know that our earliest experiences are the legs upon which our more mature lives stand on and sometimes we need a helping hand to explore areas of life that remain untested or parts of ourselves that we’d prefer not to know about.

— Brett Hammond, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Louisville, KY

Attachment Theory has become highly popular on social media and in pop culture, and although it is more complex than can be encapsulated in 3 minutes, it is for good reason. Attachment theory validates the heartbreak of broken relationships as well as illuminates the often well-meaning but painful ways we show up in the context of people we love.

— Elizabeth Devine, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

I read about attachment theory and this immediately changed the game for me. I routinely use this to help you understand and validate your patterns in relationships. We can explore early family dynamics and learn how these have shaped your adult behaviors. I also love incorporating Schema Therapy. We are beings who thrive in healthy and safe relationships. Sometimes, our caregivers failed to meet those needs. I can help you learn skills to meet your needs as an adult.

— Kate Sayers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Milwaukee, WI

This theory focuses on bonds and connections between people, offering insight into how bonds or lack of have an influence on attachments throughout life.

— Rosabel Perez, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Miami, FL

Exploring how attachment with caregivers early in our lives can be fertile ground for gaining new understanding to present day relationships.

— Courtney Burns, Therapist in Portland, OR

It's fascinating to have a strong understanding of your attachment style, including the contributing factors. This becomes the foundation for a framework of understanding - who we are, why we do and say the things we do- why we have certain relationship challenges and successes. This knowledge and understanding paves a unique path to healing.

— Christine Kotlarski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in ,

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

Attachment-Based Therapy is a wonderful, life-changing approach to healing and psychological restoration. It helps adults and children build strong and meaningful relationships with their family members, friends, significant others, and communities. A lot of times, childhood trauma leads to unsatisfying relationships. This type of therapy allows clients to identify and heal from their trauma in order to live a fulfilling life.

— Nitasha Strait + Therapists, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Philadelphia, PA

Attachment therapy aims to help individuals who have issues with relationships stemming from childhood experiences such as neglect, abuse, or trauma. These experiences can affect a person's ability to form healthy and secure connections in adulthood, leading to problems like anxiety, depression, and difficulty in forming and maintaining close relationships. The goal is to help individuals develop a more secure attachment style, leading to better relationships and overall emotional well-being.

— Marla Mathisen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Convenient and effective online relationship therapy in Denver, Littleton, Aurora, Golden and everywhere across Colorado, CO

I have a passion and years of experience in helping families find ways to improve bonds and attachments in order to decrease conflict and improve the well-being of relationships within the family.

— Kelley Nolan, Clinical Social Worker in West Chester, PA

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

As babies, we come into the world quickly forming relationships with our caregivers. Those caregivers can either be a source of safety and connection or a distant or harsh parent. As children dependent on our caregivers we begin to create safety for ourselves in any way we can. As we grow older we carry these ways of survival with us which plays out in our adult relationships. These may manifest in us as codependency, low self-esteem, and people-pleasing.

— Joshua Bogart, Professional Counselor Associate in Beaverton, OR