Attachment issues, or attachment disorders, are broad terms used to describe issues resulting from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Most children with attachment disorders have had severe problems or difficulties in their early relationships (they may have been neglected or physically or emotionally abused). One specific attachment disorder is Reactive attachment disorder (RAD), a condition typically found in children who have received grossly negligent care and do not form a healthy emotional attachment with their primary caregivers (usually their mothers) before age 5. A mental health professional who specializes in attachment issues can be a great help to both the child and the caregiver affected. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today!

Meet the specialists

I believe that we can only really know ourselves in relationship to others. Because of this attachment theory greatly shapes how I think about our relationship to ourselves and others as major player in our ability to participate authentically and freely in our lives.

— Whitney Losee, Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Every area of life represents a relationship; whether it is with a romantic partner, a friend or family member, to your work, or yourself. Human beings are hard-wired for connection, which is commonly referred to as attachment. We have a fundamental need for meaningful contact in love, friendship, and in our work lives. Through developing an awareness of our patterns, it is possible to improve or resolve issues related to attachment, intimacy, and trust.

— Heather McMillen, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

In my work with childhood issues; much of what I've seen throughout treatment leads me back to a rupture of attachment with a primary caregiver. I am passionate about learning more about infant/toddler mental health; serving those who would like to heal broken familial connections.

— Brittney George, Licensed Professional Counselor in Lynchburg, VA

I love looking deeply at human connections and I am drawn to understanding, uncovering and exploring our earliest connections on earth - our attachments to our parents and other loved ones. These early attachment create templates we use in all relationships moving forward and sometimes we need to do some healing on our templates in order for us to love and be loved to the best of our abilities.

— Margie Slater, Clinical Psychologist in Encino, CA

I have worked extensively with children and adolescents navigating complex attachment histories and dynamics due to multiple causes including long-term separations from caregivers due to immigration and system involvement. I utilize the therapeutic relationship as a tool for understanding one’s patterns of relating, how ways of relating have been protective and strategic, and for shifting attachment patterns and practicing new ways of communicating and connecting.

— Tamara Bransburg, Counselor in Oakland, CA

Attachment issues could be subtle but they incapacitate us socially. Maybe our mother was caring and responsible but dysregulated or detached. Maybe our mother had a bad time accepting the pregnancy, or too busy working, etc. That will affect our lives without showing clearly why. I do reparent work and resolve attachment issues for you to feel more confident in your relationships. If attachment ruptures were severe, you may even suffer from a personality disorder or may be developing one.

— Antonieta Contreras, Therapist in NEW YORK, NY

I enjoy working with individuals who seek to understand their current relationship patterns, emotion regulation strategies, and experiences of anxiety and depression through the exploration of their early developmental histories. Understanding the development of one’s experience of felt security and closeness, or the absence of this repertoire, can provide meaningful insights into friendships, intimate relationships and critical self-functions.

— Shelby Ortega, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist in Salem, MA

I understand a lot of the struggles we go through to be based in difficulties with our interpersonal relationships, and these difficulties are grounded in the way we form attachments. Many traumatic experiences also stem from insecure attachments with people whom we trusted to provide safety. Through our work, we will explore how you can form more secure attachments with your loved ones and create the safe, trusting relationships you want in your life.

— Laurel Meng, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL

I specialize in helping people attend to their emotional worlds through learning to self-regulate and co-regulate. Attachment is the root of regulation -- our felt sense of safety and connection. Together, we can explore your early experiences of connection and safety (or lack thereof) to understand how your attachment system is impacted and practice new ways of attending to your self.

— Meggie Twible, Therapist in Arlington Heights, IL

Early attachment patterns set essential templates for the future and influence: our ability to connect and feel secure in adult relationships with our partners, children and important others and the manner in which we come to love (or hate) ourselves. These patterns are essential to our future ability to maintain control of our emotions and recover from stressful events. For all of these reasons, I view repairing failures/disruptions/losses in early relationships as essential to my work.

— Dr. LeShelle Woodard, Clinical Psychologist in Hanover, MA

From the moment of your creation, you are attached; however, so many are wounded by the byproduct of that attachment. We spend much of our time letting painful moments inform our futures, or our families futures, and this steals from our joy in the present moment. We believe healthy relationships are the only pathway to healing, and to take steps toward something different is a risk. We believe the therapeutic relationship can be the first healthy step toward new attachment experiences.

— The Wellness Counseling Center, LLC, Licensed Professional Counselor in Harrisonville, MO

We all live in relation to others and the world around us, attachment plays a big role in how we interact in the world around us. Our early attachments set up a road map for us about what relationships are, feel like and should be; good, bad, or nutty these road maps impact our current relationships to varying degrees. If your road map has too many pot holes or detours we can find alternate routes that fit your current life and the relationships you want to have.

— Lynda Martin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in New York, NY

I use the therapeutic relationship to model healthy relationship qualities. I can support your own healing from attachment wounds and disruptions, and also support your ability to parent from your values.

— Leah Gregory, Counselor in Portland, OR

Everything is relational. I support individuals and couples to identify communication challenges and attachment issues that complicate how they relate to one another and expression of needs.

— Aretha Hampton, Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

If you ever had the feeling you were not good enough for your family, I can help you address the negative feelings that are occurring within you.

— Mary Nashed, Counselor in Chapel Hill, NC

Relationships are our source of positive connection but also disappointment and pain. The ways you struggle with trust, forgiveness (of yourself and others), loneliness and care-giving are all related to the kind of attachment you seek and provide in your relationships. Templates for relationship are deeply affected by early experiences but are also shaped over your entire life. Shifting old patterns to build and sustain deeper relationships is crucial to feeling satisfied and whole.

— Jennie Merovick, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

Do you struggle to make and maintain satisfying relationships? Do you feel like, despite your best efforts, you end up pushing people away? Do you have a difficult time trusting others? Do you wish you were closer to people? These questions all relate to issues of attachment. Each person develops a style of relating to others based on their early attachment relationships with their caregivers. Therapy can help you explore your own style and try on new ways of relating.

— Jennifer Newbloom, Counselor in Seattle, WA

I use attachment-based dyadic play therapy, such as Theraplay.

— Jennifer Neilson, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Monterey, CA

When we develop an insecure attachment, we struggle to develop a sense of self, struggle with rigid thinking about dependence, mistrust, and personal worthiness. Though these feelings often stem from childhood other important relationships can help or harm our feelings of attachment. Abusive relationships, betrayal, and addiction often cause us to question the strength of our attachments. Through therapy, attachment, trust and our sense of self can be repaired.

— Brooke Small, Counselor in Colorado Springs, CO

Relationships define us, in many ways. I use the therapeutic relationship to model healthy attachment dynamics. I use interpersonal neurobiology and a trauma informed lens to support your healing from attachment wounds and disruptions, and with other additional tools, to support your parenting from from your values. I have particular experience in supporting parents in recovery to rebuild family relationships.

— Leah Gregory, Counselor in Portland, OR

We are all, to varying degrees, wounded by the relationships and stressors of our childhoods. If you have struggled with staying connected to others in your life, there is great news from the most recent neuroscience and psychological theory: healthy attachment can be earned as an adult, though time spent in healing relationship. If you are longing for more steady connection in your life, I can help with this.

— Katy Bullick, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA