The Application of Attachment Theory

For the following One Day seminars:

  • Supporting children with difficulties in attachment
  • Parenting children with difficulties in attachment
  • Working therapeutically with children with attachment difficulties

Attachment Theory is potentially the most important theory of child development to help us to understand the impact of inadequate parenting upon a child.

Attachment theory suggests that infants are biologically predisposed to form attachment relationships from which they can experience security and comfort. The young child develops a range of attachment behaviours that are designed to keep the carer close, so that they can provide a secure base. Such behaviours are triggered by threats of separation, physical rejection or alarming conditions in the environment. These attachment behaviours are complemented by explorative behaviours when the child is feeling safe.

The early experience of attachment relationships leads to the development of a cognitive model (internal working model) of these relationships which influences and is modified by later relationships. This model guides the child’s expectations of future relationships both inside and outside of the home.

Attachment theory can guide our understanding of the effects of early abuse, neglect, separation and loss on children’s ability to form healthy attachments with parents, and their capacity to relate to others, for example in school, with friends and as young adults. It can help us to make sense of the child’s relationships and subsequent behaviour.

This seminar provides an exploration of Attachment Theory and its application to practice aimed at supporting children with attachment difficulties.

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