What is an attachment problem?

Attachment is a physical, social, emotional, behavioral and cognitive connection one person has with another; typically we think of it as the way a parent and child relate and feel about each other. When there is a problem, one or more of these markers for attachment is not strong or not in a pattern that suggest the person is securely connected to another. Children with a history of trauma—who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, institutionalization—are at increased risk for attachment problems.  They may have distortions about how parents and children related to each other; they may be able to demonstrate physical contact indicating a connection but not have an emotional link to the parent. A secure attachment is one where all these markers are consistent with each other and is the optimal type of attachment. Many children, with consistent & loving caregiving, will begin to change their attachment pattern. However, some children have attachment difficulties that are so severe that they have a diagnosis and need professional intervention.

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