Books for Therapists on Attachment


Attachment is a key concept to understanding how and why we connect with others; moreover, it helps us understand our own functioning, from childhood to adulthood. In this section, you’ll find some of the most relevant theories about the subject and find guidance on how to successfully apply it to the clinic.

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“Attachment” by John Bowlby

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Attachment is the first book of the classic trilogy of Attachment and Loss by world-famous psychologist John Bowlby. In this volume, Bowlby explains his groundbreaking theory of how, by experimenting with children and their caregivers, we can create a pattern of behavior concerning the children’s attachment style. The author also explores the biological nature of attachment, and how this basic instinct relates to the conduct of the parents. By reading it, mental health professionals and the general public will be amazed at our functioning and connection to others.

“Separation: Anxiety and Anger” by John Bowlby

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In this second volume of the classical Attachment and Loss trilogy, John Bowlby explores in depth the impact of parental relationship to our well-being and mental health. By studying this intricate relationship, the psychologist addresses the anxiety that comes with it, including the why and the how of this often harmful feeling. Continuing to take interest in the biological side of the phenomenons, Bowlby also focuses on the function of fear, and what triggers it.

“Loss: Sadness and Depression” by John Bowlby

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This is the third and final book of Bowlby’s Loss and Attachment series and addresses how children respond when confronted with the permanent or temporary loss of the mother figure. In this text, Bowlby disagrees with Freud’s theory on this matter and creates a new and eye-opening model for working with children burdened with anxiety and grief upon the loss of a mother figure.

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“Attachment in Psychotherapy” by David J. Wallin

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Through this book, author David J. Wallin elucidates effective and compelling techniques to best work the different kinds of attachment on each individual patient. Therapy case studies are discussed as we learn how a person’s early relationships provide a model for those that come after it, and how this knowledge plays into the psychotherapeutic treatment. In an intersectional narrative that connects neuroscience, mindfulness, trauma, and relation psychotherapy, Attachment in Psychotherapy will prove to be a powerful resource for working with attachment.

“The Attachment Handbook: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications” by Jude Cassidy and Phillip R. Shaver

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The Handbook of Attachment is considered to be a valuable tool when working in the attachment field. Deepening the knowledge of attachment theory, this book dives into its origins, its biological and evolutionary perspectives, its major role in relationships, and its practical applications. The book explores the theory applied to different kinds of relationships, such as romantic and familiar, extensively studying the types of bonds and attachment styles present. The book was edited by Jude Cassidy and Phillip Shaver, and is written by authors considered to be top of the field so that you can have a better understanding and notion of how to apply attachment theory to your practice, whatever that may be.

“Bindung und Veränderung in der psychotherapeutischen Beziehung: Grundlagen und Anwendung” von David J. Wallin (“Attachment in Psychotherapy”)

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This eloquent book translates attachment theory and research into an innovative framework that grounds adult psychotherapy in the facts of childhood development. Advancing a model of treatment as transformation through relationship, the author integrates attachment theory with neuroscience, trauma studies, relational psychotherapy, and the psychology of mindfulness. Vivid case material illustrates how therapists can tailor interventions to fit the attachment needs of their patients, thus helping them to generate the internalized secure base for which their early relationships provided no foundation. Demonstrating the clinical uses of a focus on nonverbal interaction, the book describes powerful techniques for working with the emotional responses and bodily experiences of patient and therapist alike.

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