Original Paper

Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 85-97

First online:

Building a Secure Base: Treatment of a Child with Disorganized Attachment

  • Karen ZilbersteinAffiliated withThe Cutchins Children’s Clinic Email author 
  • , Eileen A. MesserAffiliated withThe Cutchins Children’s Clinic

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Treatment strategies for children with disorganized attachments are not well established. This population exhibits a large array of difficulties in social relationships and self-regulation, as well as numerous other co-morbid conditions. As such, treatment of children with attachment problems is complex and requires a multi-faceted approach. This paper explores current research and theories about disorganized attachment and then examines how that research helped shape the treatment of an 8 year-old boy.


Disorganized attachment Self-regulation Reactive attachment disorder Child treatment Parent-child therapy