Attachment Based Therapy

Attachment is the bond between a child and their caregiver, which is critical to the development of healthy emotional regulation. Attachment-based therapy (ABT) is a type of psychotherapy that uses the attachment framework to help people with mental health problems. ABT can be useful in treating depression, anxiety disorders such as PTSD, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders. The aim of ABT is not just to reduce your symptoms but also help you develop better ways of relating with others in your life; this might include family members or friends who have been involved in some way with an abusive relationship or difficult childhood experience.


Attachment theory is a psychological theory of human development that explains how children develop a sense of security and trust in their caregivers. Attachment theory was formulated in the late 1950s by John Bowlby, who suggested that infants become attached to familiar caregivers for protection, feeding, growth and development.


Attachment based therapy (ABT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the early relationship between a child and their primary caregiver. It’s based on attachment theory, which is the idea that early relationships shape our mental health.

Attachment Based Therapy has been used to treat children with behavioural problems and developmental delays since 1990s.


Attachment Based Therapy (ABT) is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people with attachment problems to develop secure attachments. ABT is based on the attachment theory, which explains how infants develop relationships with their caregivers and what happens when this process goes wrong.

It can be used in individual or group sessions to help adults who have had insecure childhood experiences to build strong relationships with others as adults.


Attachment Based Therapy aims to improve the emotional well-being of children and their parents by teaching them how to communicate better and form healthy attachments. This can be achieved through a number of different methods, which include:

  • Increased emotional regulation.
  • Improved attachment between parent and child
  • Better communication between parent and child

As well as improving the parent-child relationship, Attachment Based Therapy has been shown to have many other benefits for children including improved behaviour; increased self-esteem; reduced anxiety and depression.

The theory describes how children develop an “internal working model” of themselves, others, and their relationships with others.

In attachment theory, the internal working model (IWM) is an unconscious mental mechanism that is created in early childhood and helps us understand ourselves and others. It’s a set of beliefs about the self, others, and relationships with others.

According to Bowlby, there are three main types of attachment styles: secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant. Each style has its own unique set of characteristics which can be observed in adulthood as well as during childhood.


A secure attachment style is the most common type of attachment style and its associated with a number of positive outcomes. Children who are securely attached tend to be more confident and better able to handle stress, which can help them develop into well-adjusted adults. Securely attached children also tend to have more positive views of themselves as they grow up, which may help them avoid depression or negative self-esteem later in life.

Finally, secure attachments are associated with better relationships throughout adulthood because people who were securely attached as children tend to have fewer issues with intimacy.


Anxious-ambivalent attachment style is characterized by a person who is clingy and dependent on others, but who is also resentful, angry, and critical. People with this attachment style are often the most demanding of their partners.

In relationships, this can manifest as a tendency to seek out romantic partners who are unavailable or unreliable a classic example being when someone chooses to date someone who has recently gone through a breakup (or multiple breakups). The anxious-ambivalent person may also be drawn to people who are physically abusive or controlling because they want someone there for them but don’t want to feel like they’re being smothered by too much closeness.


If you have an avoidant attachment style, you may be more likely to:

  • Think that your needs are unimportant or non-existent.
  • Feel uncomfortable when asked for intimacy and affection. This can lead to feelings of resentment or anger toward others who try to get close to you.
  • Prefer being alone over being with others, even if it means not having any friends at all!


Disorganized attachment is a type of insecure attachment that is characterized by a lack of consistent caregiving. This can include inconsistent or abusive caregivers, trauma in the form of neglect or abuse, or frequent changes in caregivers. In all cases, infants with disorganized attachment experience an inability to develop trust in their primary caregiver because their needs are not being met. Infants with disorganized attachments will often exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Inability to regulate emotions; this includes being overly sensitive or insensitive about themselves and others’ feelings.
  • Disorganization around food intake (i.e., eating too much or too little)
  • Difficulty sleeping through the night without waking up several times throughout. 

The theory focuses on the importance of early relationships formed by infants with their caregivers in order to build a healthy sense of self, trust, and security.

The theory was developed by John Bowlby who noticed that children separated from their parents would have mental health issues. He also observed that when young children were placed into institutions, they often became depressed or withdrawn. This led him to believe that attachment styles could be learned through observation and imitation of others as well as personal experience of being cared for by another person.

Regardless of your attachment style, therapy can help you change how you interact with others and yourself.

Regardless of your attachment style, therapy can help you change how you interact with others and yourself. It’s important to remember that no matter where your relationship patterns started, it’s never too late to learn new ways of relating.

If you tend toward anxious or avoidant attachments, therapy can help you learn how to trust others and yourself. It may also help if you struggle with expressing emotions or being assertive in relationships; these are all skills that can be developed through therapy sessions.

People who seek treatment can work on developing better relationships in adulthood.

People who seek treatment can work on developing better relationships in adulthood. For instance, if you have always been the type of person who has difficulty trusting others or opening up to them, therapy may help you learn how to trust people and be more open with them.


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Therapy can also help people develop better relationships with themselves as well. For example, if you feel like there’s something missing from your life but don’t know what it is or how to go about finding it, therapy could help guide you through this process by exploring your feelings and emotions so that they no longer seem overwhelming or confusing.

You can see that attachment-based therapy is a great way to help those with attachment issues in their lives. It’s important to note that this type of therapy isn’t the only option available, but it does offer some unique benefits that make it stand out from other types of treatment methods.

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