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!

Meet the specialists

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

As an attachment therapist, I am well versed in the needs of babies and children and the ways these create trauma and future problems as adults. If our parents did not teach our brains how to regulate our emotions, we do not magically gain these skills later, and often experience trauma or anxiety as a result. In couples & parenting work I help couples/parents recognize and unlearn the attachment styles they learned as children showing up in their relationship to be effective partners & parents.

— Linnea Logas, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Minneapolis, MN

Over the past several years, I have found that exploring the theory of Attachment with some of my clients can help us understand the relational dynamics through our ongoing relationships such as; family, life-long friends, and thier romantic relationships, to name a few. Attachment theory can be very insightful, as it helps us see how we relate to the world and how we perceive other people in our lives.

— Uriah Cty M.A., LMFT # 121606, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Our relationship with our selves and others begins with our experience of attachment to our caregivers. Attachment is a huge influential part of our behaviors in relationship with everyone in our lives- our partners, children, parents, families, and friends.

— Sprout Therapy PDX, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

The attachment work I do is deep and transformative and sometimes escapes words. I have received specialized Somatic training with Kathy Kain and Stephen J. Terrell which approaches attachment theory work from the bottom up versus the top down. This means bringing my attention to healing the early age physiology first before approaching the adult cognitive brain, which comes second. I also include consciousness and intention around my own attachment style when working on this deep level with clients.

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

My studies in attachment theory began in grad school and continued with Stan Tatkin, who developed the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy. Stan’s training focused on developing secure attachment for couples to regulate physical and emotional stress. I’ve adapted Stan’s work so that the same stress relieving and security building behaviors can be applied from an inner parent to an inner child. Secure attachment within the self then fosters security in all relationships.

— Julie Levin, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA

Therapist utilizes therapy customized to needs of client. If needed, attachment style of client may be addressed. Clients often receive deep healing when these issues are brought to light, acknowledged and cared for. For example, but not limited to, clients who often fear their partner will leave them, struggle to establish and maintain healthy boundaries or have trouble feeling like they can get through life on their own may be struggling from an attachment issue.

— Michelle Hughes-Leger, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Attachment was my primary orientation while working with foster youth, so I have read a lot of books and taken specialized training in order to support people in their journey toward attachment repair.

— Kimberly Thomas, Psychotherapist in Belleville, IL

Using the lens of attachment theory, I understand how a person's early experiences with attachment shape their thoughts, beliefs, and expectations of self and others, and how this narrative influences their behavior in the future. Securely attached people are able to regulate their distress on their own in an adaptive manner with little or no support from others.

— Stacey Curnow, Counselor in Asheville, NC

Both children and adults use their attachment experiences in relationships to design their interactions, inner lives, and beliefs about the world. Sometimes those relationships go awry, and we move through the world without realizing how or why things feel hard. Substance and behavior addictions often develop when we have unhealed attachment experiences. Understanding our attachment styles, how they interact, and how they drive us in our decisions can open up new ways of living and of relating.

— Leah Gregory, Counselor in Portland, OR

Use an attachment based approach to therapy based on my EMDR training in Attachment work.

— Meg Barry, Counselor in Durham, NC

Attachment describes the ability to form close and trusting emotional bonds with others, especially partners and family members. Difficult experiences in childhood can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships due to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, or the desire to pull away. I have experience in helping individuals understand their attachment style and in working through this issue using practical tools and mindfulness based approaches.

— Natasha Kruger, Psychologist in Campbell, CA

I generally view most cases from an attachment framework. As an attachment therapist, I work to establish the secure base from which my clients can feel safe to grow and develop.

— Melanie Gonzalez, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Irvine, CA

Attachment Theory is at the heart of interpersonal functioning. In my three years of psychotherapeutic practice, I have implemented this theory in conceptualizing and planning treatment for clients.

— Madeline Turner, Counselor in Austin, TX