I have been practicing for over 10 years and I have worked with both not-for-profit organizations and government agencies dedicated to supporting families. Much of that work has involved using the Circle of Security (COS) approach.

What is Circle of Security?


COS is a user-friendly, visually based approach (utilizing extensive use of both graphics and video clips) to helping parents better understand the needs of their children. It is based extensively upon attachment theory (from the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth) and current affective neuroscience.


It is also a basic protocol that can be used in a variety of settings, from group sessions (20 weeks) to family therapy to home visitation. The common denominator is that all of the learning is informed around the following themes:

    • Teaching the basics of attachment theory via the Circle of Security
    • Increasing parent skills in observing parent/child interactions
    • Increasing capacity of the caregiver to recognize and sensitively respond to children’s needs
    • Supporting a process of reflective dialogue between clinician and parent to explore both strengths and areas of parent difficulties (i.e., being “Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, and Kind,” supporting exploration, and supporting attachment)
    • Introducing parents to a user-friendly way to explore defensive process


The videos below provide a good summary of the COS approach. For more information on COS click here.