Attachment has come to reflect the global capacity to form relationships. Attachment capabilities refer to the capacity to form and maintain an emotional relationship while attachment refers to the nature and quality of the actual relationship. A child, for example, may have an "insecure" attachment or "secure" attachment.

Many children who have experienced early life instability, neglect, trauma or change primary carer’s can develop attachment difficulties. Attachment difficulties can also develop from one off trauma.  Specific problems linked to attachment difficulties vary depending upon the nature, intensity, duration and timing of the child’s experiences. Some challenges commonly seen in children with attachment difficulties are developmental delay, impaired emotional functioning, lack of concentration, aggression, withdrawal inappropriate behaviours, and in some cases a lack of empathy.

As attachment difficulties result from impairments in the primary carer/child relationship attachment difficulties are more often seen in children in the foster care and adoption.

At The Behaviour Clinic we have several therapy options tailored to support children and families coping with attachment difficulties.


Therapy Options

As attachment difficulties vary significantly based on the attachment style that the child has developed therapy needs to be tailored to the child and their specific challenges. Some of the therapy options available are:


Brief and Complex Emotional and Behavioural Support Packages – Behaviour Assessment and Therapy is for children experiencing complex emotional and behavioural problems. This is a Tier 3/4 support programme that helps identify the root cause of the child’s difficulties and targets therapy for the child and support for the parents/carers to manage the problem.


Parent Child Attachment Play – This is a gentle, play-based approach aimed at improving the attachment quality of the parent-child relationship using attachment mechanisms and child-oriented play with parents/carers and their children.


Therapeutic Life Story Work - Children living with adoptive parents and foster carers can often display challenging emotions due to their past experiences. The therapy will aim to support these children to understand how their past experiences have moulded their behaviours and feelings, support them to reflect upon them and work through them.


Understanding and Managing Attachment Behaviours Workshop – A workshop for parents and carers to develop their knowledge of attachment, attachment difficulties and why emotional and behavioural challenges may occur.


The attachment based therapies provided at The Behaviour Clinic are evidence based. We closely monitor progress throughout therapy to ensure children and families make progress towards their individual goals. 


Research and Articles

What is Attachment?

The attachment bond has several key elements: (1) an attachment bond is an enduring emotional relationship with a specific person; (2) the relationship brings safety, comfort, soothing and pleasure; (3) loss or threat of loss of the person evokes intense distress. This special form of relationship is best characterized by the maternal-child relationship.