Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Circle of Security

  • Anna HuberEmail author
  • Erinn Hawkins
  • Glen Cooper
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_845-1

Name of Model

Circle of Security



The Circle of Security (COS*) is both a framework (represented graphically) for understanding attachment relationships, as well as a strengths-based intervention approach (Powell et al. 2014). It provides concrete guidelines and clinical tools for relationship-focused prevention with families of young children in contexts of risk and/or early intervention with families showing caregiver-child relationship problems.

The COS* graphic (see COS Original Circle at http://circleofsecurityinternational.com/handouts) distils essential concepts of attachment theory and research, making them easily accessible to parents and practitioners. Of several COS* intervention variants, the two most widely disseminated are Circle of Security Intensive* (COS-I) and Circle of Security Parenting* (COS-P).

COS-I* is a psycho-educational and psychotherapeutic early intervention...

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  1. Cassidy, J., Ziv, Y., Stupica, B., Sherman, L., Butler, H., Karfgin, A., et al. (2010). Enhancing attachment security in the infants of women in a jail-diversion program. Attachment & Human Development, 12(4), 333–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Cassidy, J., Brett, B. E., Gross, J. T., Stern, J. A., Martin, D. R., Mohr, J. J., et al. (2017). Circle of Security-Parenting: A randomized controlled trial in Head Start. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 651–673.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579417000244.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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  5. Huber, A., McMahon, C., & Sweller, N. (2015a). Efficacy of the 20-week Circle of Security Intervention: Changes in caregiver reflective functioning, representations, and child attachment in an Australian clinic sample. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(6), 556–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huber, A., McMahon, C., & Sweller, N. (2015b). Improved child behavioural and emotional functioning after Circle of Security 20-week intervention. Attachment and Human Development, 17(6), 547–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Huber, A., McMahon, C., & Sweller, N. (2016). Improved parental emotional functioning after Circle of Security 20-week parent–child relationship intervention. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(8), 2526–2540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, R. (2014). The Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing attachment in early parent-child relationships. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  3. 3.Circle of Security InternationalSpokaneUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly F. Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA