Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Attachment Disorders in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Quintin HuntEmail author
  • Maliha Ibrahim
  • Guy S. Diamond
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_439

Name of Concept

Attachment Disorders in Couple and Family Therapy.


Attachment disorders have several meanings in the field of couple and family therapy. The first refers to the relatively rare, diagnosable disorders of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED) which are seen exclusively in maltreated children. The second refers to commonly enduring attachment styles of parent-child interactions that were first identified by John Bowlby (1969) and Ainsworth et al. (1978) for children and later expanded to adults (Hazan and Shaver 1987). The third meaning of “attachment disorder” is a pseudo-diagnostic term with criteria ambiguous enough to include most developmentally appropriate child behavior such as lying, persistent questions, or triangulation of caregivers. This entry focuses on RAD and DSED. Both RAD and DSED have particular relevance to field of Couple and Family Therapy as the disorders result from severe and persistent...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Family InterventionDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA