Mother and Child
Mother and Child

SCS Therapy and Counselling Services

Developmental Attachment Therapy

“Attachment is an affective bond characterised by a tendency to seek and maintain proximity to a specific figure, particularly while under stress” (Bowlby 1970)

Children can experience a disruption in the development of their early attachments to their primary caregivers for many different reasons. The journey to a secure attachment is a vital and sensitive process influenced by relationships and environment either in a positive or negative way. The disruption in this process interrupts the child's emotional, social and neurological development leaving the child with deficiencies in their coping strategies when under stress. The child is also more likely to develop negative internal working models leaving them with feelings that they are bad and unlovable and that adults and the world are not safe.

Children who experience a disruption in the attachment process can present with a number of emotional, social and behavioural difficulties – for example:

  • Inability to regulate emotions in an age appropriate way.
  • Tantrums or outbursts in an older child that resemble those of a toddler.
  • An intense need to control situations, relationships and actions both of themselves and others.
  • Lack of cause and effect thinking.
  • Lack of trust in adults.
  • Little or no impulse control (don’t think before they act)
  • Inappropriate affection to others.
  • Difficulties within school e.g. with learning, concentration, peer relationships, aggressive behaviour.

Developmental attachment therapy is an approach which involves the child and parents / carers in the process to address the emotional and neurological issues that are causing the child to struggle and facilitates a strengthening of the attachment relationships. It is a very gentle and nurturing process which allows the child to redress early experiences and make new neural connections about themselves, others and the world.