Attachment Therapy



AT or Attachment Therapy is aimed toward children, adults and parental figures who suffer from disciplinary actions. The therapists work by acknowledging the root cause of the patient's behavior and why the individual does not want to attach themselves to a parent figure or others in relationships. There are children who display conflicting behaviors often throughout different stages of their lives. When it is more than just a phase Attachment Therapy will determine whether or not this behavior is normal, needs psychotherapy treatment and whether or not it could turn into a disorder.

Goals of Attachment Therapy

The purpose of Attachment therapy is to look at the issue between the parent and child, acknowledge why it is happening and strengthen it with the formation of trust and love. This will improve the child's behavior with not only their parents but other figures such as teachers. This is not a traditional form of therapy in which the counselor works with the child individually. Attachment Therapy also aims toward helping adults who have a difficult time forming relationships because of a repressed situation and their inability to trust others.

When is Attachment Therapy Used?

Attachment Therapy is used when children may have experienced a traumatic event or neglect and sexual abuse. The client may have been through a natural disaster or witnessed something traumatic. They may be lashing out due to a death in the family or issues with their parents who may be going through a divorce. Attachment Therapy is also used towards adults, veterans and rape survivors who've been exposed to an overwhelming amount of emotions and stress. Having a hard time creating relationships with others regardless of your age is often the result of a past relationship or event that has been suppressed although it was emotionally impacting. At times treatment is used on families dealing with post-adoption issues and first responders who have witnessed combat horrors.

How Attachment Therapy Works

Attachment Therapy works by first diagnosing the patient and finding out what has caused their current detachment from others. They may be attentive toward triggers that bring up the memories or emotional outbursts. The clients often have a difficult time concentrating or responding calmly toward given subjects brought up by the counselor. Attachment and Trauma treatment plans will vary although it always takes place in a one-on-one setting. It is the job of the therapist to diagnose the issue between parent and child or patient and trauma. It is a combination of EMDR, CBT, Art, Play, Developmental and Family Therapy.

Regardless of the scenario the therapy provides clients with a treatment that is fitted to their individual or family needs. It is the job of the counselor to show compassion toward the patients and validate that their emotions are not false assumptions. If the treatment revolves around a child who has impairment toward parent relationships as a result of trauma the counselor will first go through the traumatic event and allow the child to heal. After the child understands they will display disciplinary techniques while the parent is also attending the session. The emotional recovery period throughout therapy can be intense due to the emotions and intervention. The clinician will ensure that the environment is safe so that the patient feels comfortable in being vulnerable for the purpose of developing. This may consist of some psychiatric care being that many deal with mood swings and chemical imbalances that disengage them from the session. This experience may be a short term or long term process occurring at either a cognitive, behavioral, spiritual or interpersonal level. Each case is unique which is why there isn't a single treatment plan that is implemented. The assessment may be toward a social history, family or traumatic event based on feeling identification, validation and encouragement toward expression.

Thinking patterns may be restructured so that the client feels more in control of their own responses and ability. The attitude will be reshaped so that it can be accepted on a social level. By improving self esteem the client will benefit from creating a new identity and improving their social patterns in relationships. Ultimately Attachment Therapy helps the client to develop in both decision making and responses. They will take responsibility for their own actions and begin to experience love in a way that isn't detached. If the treatment requires the framing of a traumatic event the plan may last longer due to the subject sensitivity and range of emotions associated with exposure.

Criticism of Attachment Therapy

There's a great deal of controversy in relevance to Attachment Therapy. Experts critique that the use of treatment toward children and disciplinary shaping is a forced treatment plan that cannot acknowledge the actual issue. By focusing on disciplining the child the counselor is forcing the patient to improve their behavior without resolving a deeper issue.


Child/teen attachment therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Intensive adult attachment therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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