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Attachment Disorder

I struggle to find intimacy and closeness in my relationships. Talk therapy can help you work through this.


An attachment disorder manifests in either mood or behavioural difficulties associated with the ability to either build and/or maintain relationships with others.

Attachment disorders develop in childhood, but their effects may continue into adulthood whereby an adult may have difficulty trusting others and/or feeling safe and secure in relationships.

Attachment theory looks at how people form emotional bonds with others. How a person forms and maintains relationships is dictated by the interaction they had with their primary caregiver or parent in the early years of their lives.

Attachment styles in adults can be described as secure, avoidant or dismissing, anxious or preoccupied, and disorganised.

  • Having a secure attachment style is associated with low levels of anxiety in relationships, a good ability to emotionally regulate and generally having positive emotional bonds with others. This type of attachment style is likely to arise if the primary caregiver was consistently (or almost always) responsive to their child’s needs.
  • An avoidant or dismissing attachment style will result in an adult who will avoid closeness and value independence in relationships. This attachment style is likely to arise if the primary caregiver was not emotionally attuned to their needs.
  • Adults with an anxious or preoccupied attachment style crave intimacy with others but do not feel secure in their relationships. This type of attachment style is a likely result of a caregiver who was unpredictable and not always available.
  • Adults with a disorganised attachment style may experience intense or chaotic relationships, at times craving closeness but at other times pushing others away. This type of attachment may be the result of a childhood trauma or adversity.

What causes Attachment Disorder?

Attachment disorders manifest in childhood as a result of a child being unable to access a consistent and secure emotional relationship with their parent or primary caregiver. While there are no official attachment disorders in adulthood, many adults present with attachment-related difficulties due to attachment disorders not being diagnosed in childhood.

What treatment helps attachment disorders?

The primary treatment for attachment difficulty is psychotherapy. In adults, both individual and couples therapy can be effective.

City therapy’s Approach to treating attachment difficulties:

  • Individual psychotherapy will focus on helping the adult overcome negative childhood experiences. Typically, people with attachment issues may also have low self-esteem, poor emotional regulation and/or other mood disorders. Psychotherapy can also be effective for managing these issues.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and other behavioural approaches may help people challenge negative thoughts and thinking patterns related to others and themselves.
  • Couples therapy can be effective in helping individuals explore how attachment styles can impact their interactions and provide them with tools to overcome negative relationship patterns and support themselves.

We are here to help – Book Now

We hand-pick and vet our team of experienced accredited Psychologists, Psychotherapists who will work with you to create an individual treatment plan. Call today to set up a consultation to get you started on your therapy journey.

General Recommendations (Things to consider)

Attachment related difficulties are common. If you feel like you may be experiencing difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, a psychologist, psychotherapist will be able to help you look at your attachment style and explore if this is impacting on your understanding of and ability to form and maintain relationships.