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Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing Attachment in Early Parent-Child Relationships

Presenting both a theoretical foundation and proven strategies for helping caregivers become more attuned and responsive to their young children's emotional needs (ages 0–5), this is the first comprehensive presentation of the Circle of Security (COS) intervention. The book lucidly explains the conceptual underpinnings of COS and demonstrates the innovative attachment-based assessment and intervention strategies in rich clinical detail, including three chapter-length case examples. Reproducible forms and handouts can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2'' x 11'' size. COS is an effective research-based program that has been implemented throughout the world with children and parents experiencing attachment difficulties.


  • Foreword, Charles H. Zeanah, Jr.
  • I. Attachment in Early Caregiving Relationships
  • 1. Hidden in Plain Sight: The Critical Importance of Secure Attachment
  • 2. The Circle of Security: Understanding a Child’s Needs for a Safe Haven and a Secure Base for Exploration
  • 3. Being-With: Meeting the Child’s Needs through Relationship
  • 4. Limited Circles: Insecurity and the Power of Adaptation
  • 5. Shark Music: How State of Mind Shapes Caregiving
  • 6. Completing the Circle 
  • II. The Circle of Security Intervention
  • 7. Observing the Relationship
  • 8. The Interactional Assessment: Differential Diagnosis and Identification of the Linchpin Struggle
  • 9. Understanding State of Mind and Defensive Processes through Core Sensitivities
  • 10. The Parent Perception Assessment: Using the Circle of Security Interview to Enhance Treatment Efficacy
  • 11. Treatment Principles and Planning
  • 12. The Circle of Security Intervention Protocol
  • III. Case Examples
  • 13. Laura and Ashley
  • 14. Ana and Sam
  • 15. Shelly and Jacob

Author Bio:

Bert Powell, MA, Glen Cooper, MA, and Kent Hoffman, RelD, have devoted their Spokane, Washington, clinical practice of more than 30 years to translating complex clinical insights and developmental research into straightforward and accessible protocols for use with families. During the last two decades they have focused specifically on the creation and dissemination of the Circle of Security (COS), for which each has received the Washington Governor's Award for Innovation in Prevention, among other honors.

Bob Marvin, PhD, served as principal investigator on the original COS study and participated in the development of COS. He is Founder and Director of the Mary Ainsworth Attachment Clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia.


“The summary of attachment theory presented through this new framework is insightful and accessible. The discussion of the intervention itself and case studies make this book a must read…. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals: general readers.” —Choice Reviews

“Brilliant, creative, and transformative are words that don't fully capture the true power of this approach. The authors have woven attachment theory into a research-based, innovative intervention that helps infants and their parents move toward security and a life of resilience and well-being. Soak in the wisdom of these masters and you'll be forever grateful—I certainly am. The book provides an intricate yet practical therapeutic exploration infused with the dedication and insights of its authors.” —Daniel J. Siegel, MD, Department of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine; author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.


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