By Rosie Waters


Attachment is the way we form emotional bonds with those close to us. We
are born evolutionally primed to attach to our caregivers to ensure survival. If
all goes well in childhood and adolescence, we are made to feel safe and
secure and our feelings are noticed, taken seriously and understood enough
of the time, then we form secure attachments to our caregivers. This enables
us to grow up to be healthy, well -functioning adults, with a positive view of
our self and we have healthy, mutually satisfying relationships with those
around us.

However, for many people and for many reasons, early relationships are more
difficult. Those who care for us may not be able or willing to provide security
or safety, may not understand or help us when we are in distress, resulting in
an insecure attachment style developing. During our early years there may
have been trauma or loss, such as, abuse or an accident, addiction, parental
separation or divorce, parental or sibling death. Or the relational environment
may have been harsh, rejecting, critical, abusive, chaotic, inconsistent, violent
or neglectful.

Dr John Bowlby and his colleagues were the first to notice and observe the
connections between difficult or adverse early relational environments,
ensuing insecure attachment styles and later mental and emotional health
difficulties. Following much research on these connections, Attachment Theory
came into being.



Attachment-Focused Therapy is a therapy that is underpinned by Attachment Theory. A therapist working in this way will be interested in your early years, how you tell your life story and how you manage your emotions.

It is a very gentle, non- directive type of counselling/therapy that places much
emphasis on building a solid, secure and safe relationship with the therapist.
Within this secure relationship, over time, client and therapist can begin to
gently and in a non-threatening way, explore the links between current feelings, behaviours and thoughts and earlier experiences. Thinking together about these links and experiences can help us make sense of the past, as well
as current relationships and situations. Within this safe, therapeutic
relationship new ways of thinking and being can begin to emerge.


It is possible to learn new ways of relating to our self and those around us, as
well as learn how to manage and untangle difficult and overwhelming feelings.
It can be a very rewarding process, leading to self-discovery and increased self-
awareness, which creates choice. It can enable a person to live life with a more
positive view of themselves and a growing ability to accept the past for what it
was, not to be defined by it. Clients often say their relationship with
themselves as well as with those close to them, improve as a result of therapy.


Attachment-Focused Therapy (sometimes called Attachment-Based Therapy) is
suitable for anyone suffering with depression, anxiety, sadness, anger,
bereavement, loneliness, relationship difficulties or breakdown, parenting or
family difficulties, bereavement, low self- esteem or confidence feeling stuck,
childhood experiences, self- injury or any difficult and overwhelming feelings
that are prolonged. It can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with


Attachment-Based Therapy is not generally a therapy with a fixed number of
sessions, unless of course requested by the client. It can be short or long term,
depending on the client’s situation, needs and wishes.

For more information please do get in touch 

Rosie Waters

Attachment Focused Therapist



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