Circle of SecurityThe Circle of Security® is an effective research-based program that has been implemented throughout the world with children and parents experiencing attachment difficulties.


Services begin with an Attachment Assessment

The attachment assessment is the foundation for the Circle of Security intervention. An attachment assessment includes the Strange Situation procedure developed by Mary D. Ainsworth and standardized clinical interviews of the caregiver(s) and/or parent(s). The family will be invited to visit the Ainsworth Attachment Clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia [or satellite facility around the state] for the procedure.

After the attachment assessment data is collected and reviewed by a certified clinician, the 6-phase COS protocol is individualized for the parent(s). Depending on results from the attachment assessment and family needs, several treatment dosage intensities may be recommended, including outpatient (in office) to twice per week in-home appointments with a Circle of Security therapist.

The normal Circle of Security attachment assessment is not appropriate for purposes of child placement decisions or for collecting documentation for court proceedings. To explore these types of forensic or custody Attachment Evaluations, please contact Lisa Layne.

Learning the results of the Attachment Assessment

The Circle of Security® Network intervention is an evidence-based, time-limited, highly specialized service for parents and caregivers of children referred to the clinic. The Circle work will be with the parent(s) or caregiver(s) that participated in the attachment assessment and will NOT involve the child in the follow up services.

The Circle of Security Family Model

  1. Begins with assessment of attachment-caregiving patterns
  2. Individualized treatment goals for the family are developed
  3. Parents review videos of attachment related research
  4. Psycho-Education & Psychotherapy (Reflective Dialogue between parents and therapist)
  5. Number of weekly sessions vary for each family, treatment duration often 12 months


A trained Circle of Security therapist under team based supervision transfers the attachment assessment data to parents through the Circle of Security Protocol. Parents are usually very excited to learn about the results of the attachment assessment through video review, the Circle of Security® map, psycho-education and therapy.

The Circle work focuses on the most important parts of child-parent relationship including exploration and play, attachment, teaching, behavior, and emotional co-regulation.


Connect. Restore. Grow.Many children with behavior and emotional problems puzzle and challenge their parents/caregivers (and the professional helpers). The goal of this specialized service is to help "decode" or “solve the mystery” of a child’s behavior, so to better understand how to guide children and make sense of the difficult behaviors, mysterious signals and attachment needs.


Sixty years of research world-wide has shown that when parents are able to understand attachment needs and attune to their child’s cues; children develop healthy secure attachments, which are the foundation for success in school, social relationships and predictive of a general sense of competence and well-being.