Attachment Therapy

Attachment Theory: It all starts with John Bowlby (British psychologist) and his theory of attachment! Attachment is the deep and enduring connection established between a child and caregiver in the first several years of life. It profoundly influences every aspect of the human condition — mind, body, emotions, relationships and morality. Attachment is not something parents do to their children; instead, it is something children and parents create together, in an ongoing, reciprocal relationship. Attachment to a protective and loving caregiver who provides security and support is a basic human need, rooted in millions of years of evolution. We have the instinct to attach - babies instinctively reach out for the safety of the “secure base” with caregivers; parents instinctively protect and nurture their offspring.

Attachment is a physiological, emotional, cognitive and social phenomenon. Cues or signals from the caregiver activate instinctual attachment behaviors in the baby. Thus, the attachment process is defined as a “mutual regulatory system,” in which the baby and the caregiver influence one another over time. The principal developmental task of the first year of life is the establishment of a secure attachment between infant and primary caregiver. For this bond of emotional communication to develop, the caregiver must be psychologically and biologically attuned to the child’s needs, emotions and mental state. Attachment therapy specifically addresses the sensations, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and interpersonal exchanges that people have learned either to suppress and avoid or to amplify and overemphasize because of early attachment experiences.

Attachment Based Therapy: a style of trauma informed therapy that is based on attachment theory, which focuses primarily on the role of early interactions between a child and their adult caregivers. With a focal point on building emotional security and repairing ruptures in key relationships. Attachment therapies benefit parents and children in building and co-creating secure attachments. This approach has been empirically supported as an effective treatment for adolescents experiencing suicidal ideation and/or depression.