Attachment Theory

Attachment theory was first developed by psychologist John Bowlby and focuses on the importance of early emotional bonds. Attachment theory investigates the nature of a person’s initial relationship with their primary caregiver (such as a parent) and how it influences their social and emotional development. Therapists using attachment theory can help a client to identify their individual attachment style. Attachment styles influences how individuals relate to each other in intimate relationships. Knowing your attachment style can be a powerful tool in understanding your strengths and weaknesses in a relationship.

Local experts in Attachment Theory

Nani Waddoups (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

Attachment Theory is an extraordinarily helpful tool to understand how we developed our baseline relational styles. By studying our earliest emotional attachments to our primary caregiver(s), we can understand how we developed our sense of trust, security, and self-assuredness in relationship to others. Knowing your attachment style can become a navigational compass in relationships.

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Sprout Therapy PDX

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC, LMFT, CSWA, LCSW

Our relationship with our selves and others begins with our experience of attachment to our caregivers. Attachment is a huge influential part of our behaviors in relationship with everyone in our lives- our partners, children, parents, families, and friends.

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Rebecca Flatt

Clinical Social Work Associate

Attachment theory is a major part of how I conceptualize how I work with clients. I personally feel attachment plays such an important role in human experience because it's how we relate to the people around us. In therapy, the relationship between the therapist and the client is significant as trust and vulnerability are a major part of the client's process through treatment.

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Rachel Bagley, MS, NCC, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been trained in Experiential Attachment Psychotherapy. I have a passion for working with those wanting to find more security in their attachment style and in their relationships.

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Firefly Institute

Licensed Professional Counselor

Attachment theory is a theory of affect regulation and interpersonal relationships. Adult attachment anxiety is conceptualized as the fear of interpersonal rejection and abandonment, negative view of the self or feelings of increased anxiety or depression within relationships. Children can experience insecurity within their relationships and the behaviors we see are a result of that anxiety.

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Marley Dagner (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA

The foundation in which we relate and develop bonds with others was taught to us in our earliest experiences. Working to understand the way we learned to engage in relationships leads to the opportunity to teach ourselves new ways of connecting with others. Offering freeing & mutually servings methods of connecting with others and yourself.

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Gudmund Lee

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Attachment is all about how we live in the context of a symbiotic relationship with the world around us. We are at our best when we can mutually recognize and help to meet the needs of our loves ones and community, and they ours.

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Gemma Baumer (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA

As infants and children, we are completely dependent on our caregivers for survival. This need for attachment is innate within us, and forms an intense drive for love and belonging. When these needs are not easily met by caregivers, we make adaptations and accommodations. These show up as different patterns of attachment, which can stick with us into adulthood. Attachment work includes working with these patterns and exploring how we show up in relationship with ourselves and others.

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Michelle Pliske

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

DSW LCSW RPT-S

Attachment theory is a theory of affect regulation and interpersonal relationships. Adult attachment anxiety is conceptualized as the fear of interpersonal rejection and abandonment, negative view of the self or feelings of increased anxiety or depression within relationships. Children can experience insecurity within their relationships and the behaviors we see are a result of that anxiety.

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emily bilbao (she/her)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Attachment theory is a key tenant of my work, particularly with it's current support from neurobiology, which demonstrates the importance of mindfulness in mental health. I have attended many trainings with Daniel Seigel, MD and I stay current with the literature as it evolves.

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Arrival Counseling annie dolle LCSW (she/her/hers)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

From family work (family crisis and adoptions) to the most vulnerable peoples (Emergency Department social work), I know that our attachment templates are primary to the way that we experience ourselves, our relationships, and our world. I keep this awareness close and utilize attachment theory in my work, always.

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Nova (Stephenie) Knutson (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA, CHT

Attachment therapy uses principles of modern neuroscience and research about the ways humans form inner relationship models based on our early relationships. Unless they are interrupted, we carry these forward into current relationships, for better or for worse. I work with a client's present moment relational experiences to unravel old relationship patterns and foster new, more satisfying ones.

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Lawrence VENASKA (He/Him)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

I have an overarching lens I view my work through which is attachment theory. Approximately 85% of the general US population has less than optimal development due to disruptions in the process of attunement we all need to be able to best regulate our own neurology and well being. Secure attachment can be achieved later in life as an adult even if not achieved in childhood.

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Sankofa Counseling

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have attended extensive training on attachment as it pertains to brain development and the development of both risk and resilience factors. I hold an advanced certificate in Adoptive and Foster Family Therapy, where major coursework was around attachment processes within various family settings.

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Patrick Bluett (he/him)

Professional Counselor Associate

What did your earliest relationships teach you about love and intimacy? What patterns of behavior did you adopt in order to protect those relationships? How are those patterns serving you now? Adult attachment theory provides a valuable framework for understanding the ways that you form and maintain relationships in order to meet core emotional needs. Through therapy, we can identify patterns that might not align with your relationship values and learn better ways of finding and keeping love.

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Kate Madden

Professional Counselor Associate

MA, NCC

Our earliest experiences with caregivers shape what we expect from the world, how we enter into relationships, and how we make sense of ourselves. By exploring and processing early attachment experiences—and forming reparative, adult attachment experiences—we can facilitate healing and growth.

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Jenni Goldstein (She/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

I specialize in experiential attachment healing (not just theoretical) where we utilize our relationship to explore & heal insecure attachment states and support & encourage secure attachment states.

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Christine Bethel (she/her)

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

LMFT

As with systems theory, I find attachment theory to be an extremely helpful model in supporting clients. We are indelibly marked by our early bonds with caregivers and typically, what we learned in those relationships sets our beliefs about the world and determines the patterns we follow in future relationships. Not that we can't change, attachment theory just helps us understand why.

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Emily Berry LPC (she/they)

Licensed Professional Counselor

I believe deeply in the power of human connection and how it shapes us. Our earliest significant relationships heavily influence how we learn to see ourselves and relate to others and the world. These dynamics evolve over our adult lives. It can be tremendously helpful to look at these histories and patterns to learn about ourselves and make change from a deeper place of self-understanding.

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Heather Lokteff

Licensed Professional Counselor

Our early childhood relationships and experiences provide a blueprint for how we see ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us. Is this world safe? Am I alone or can I rely on others? Can I find trustworthy people? It can be extremely helpful to know what your attachment style has been in your life and also hold onto hope that you can move into a place of security with others.

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Kathy Hardie-Williams M.Ed MS LPC LMFT

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

M.Ed MS LPC LMFT

Attachment can be defined as a deep and enduring emotional bond between two people in which each seeks closeness and feels more secure when in the presence of the attachment figure. Attachment theory explains how the parent-child relationship emerges and influences subsequent development. There are four basic characteristics that basically give us a clear view of what attachment really is. They include a safe heaven, a secure base, proximity maintenance and separation distress.

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Jeremy McAllister (He/Him)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC

Attachment theory helps us understand our relationship to relationship and to emotions based on internalized experience. It fits well with IFS and multiplicity, helping us provide for unmet needs that show up directly in states triggered by relational conflict. While useful for individuals, this theory plays a primary role in couples work and allows us in the therapy room to directly translate one another in ways that partners will really get so each side feels fully witnessed.

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Sarah Shaw Glidden

Professional Counselor Associate

QMHP-R, LMT, Associate

Difficult experiences in early life can lead to damaged or maladaptive attachment styles. Together we will work to create healthy, secure attachment bonds in your life and your relationships. This starts by creating a secure bond between client and therapist, where I hope to help you feel confident that you are accepted completely, without fear of ridicule or abandonment. I believe that secure attachment will create an environment where deep and meaningful therapeutic work can occur.

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Kathleen Thompson (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC, CRC

Attachment Theory is about discovering that how a person was cared for & related to in their early years still effects us. When we were young we learned if the world was safe or not. To make us feel safe we isolated or became people pleasers. These patterns continue on into adulthood & can be very disruptive to relationships. There are ways to feel emotionally safe so you can thrive.

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Ruth Tessema (she/her/hers)

Professional Counselor Associate

M.Ed., NCC, LPC Associate (R6545)

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Sarah Small

Professional Counselor Associate

MA

An individual's attachment patterns with early significant persons in their life contributes to present and future connections with others. Identifying and understanding these patterns can help individuals develop more freeing ways of engaging with others and themselves now and in the future.

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Maria Bonacci (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC

"Attachment" is a way to explore how and in what contexts we feel safe. I have studied Interpersonal Neurobiology which is deeply rooted in attachment theory and the interpersonal emotional information we internalize and which as a result impacts our day to day interactions.

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Adam Benjamin

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

A thorough grasp of attachment theory is foundational to understand most forms of dysregulation or mental illness. I consider attachment patterns as I seek to tune in to each client's suffering. I also have training in attachment-based therapeutic techniques.

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Margot Standeven (she/her/hers)

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Masters in Marriage, Couple, & Family Counseling

We each have a particular attachment style that determines how comfortable we are in proximity to others. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) helps couples understand the attachment style of each partner and the dynamic that exists between them.

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Catherine Palmer; MS, LPC, MFT (She/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Azhar Sultanova

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC C5924

Attachment theory is the cornerstone of all relational issues. When a client has an understanding about his/her attachment style and that of other people in his/her life, it opens great possibilities of interpersonal change.

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Wild Foxgloves Counseling, PLLC (She/Her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MHCA.MC.61068879

Our formative relationships and experiences shape our understanding of ourselves and others, and form the patterns of how we relate to others. Turning over the leaves of these relationships and experiences can bring profound healing, understanding, and kindness to oneself.

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Dani Dierking (She/Her/Hers)

Licensed Art Therapist

LAT, LPC, ATR

This has consistently been a driving theory in my work with adults. Your early childhood relationships impact how you relate to others today, and this is essential to be explored to improve your own resiliency.

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Su Yim, MSW, LCSW (she/her)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Attachment theory is all about love and safety. How we experience that from an early age influences the coping skills we develop for all of our relationships, especially during times of conflict and struggle. I love that we can change how we feel about ourselves, our relationships and the world at large through the context of new, safe, reparative experiences.

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Jenna Washburn (she / her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA: Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions

I have researched attachment theory and utilize its theories in most of my therapy interventions, particularly on issues of family systems, relationships, trauma, and boundaries.

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Jessica Blaschke, M.A. LMFT (She/her)

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

B.S. Health Psychology, M.A. Counseling, LMFT

I often find that a person's attachment style is one of the strongest factors in how they related to the world and other people. When working with children I always hold their early experiences in mind and take them into account when working toward goals. The issues that couples face can often be traced to their attachment pattern. My role is to help translate each person's needs to their partner.

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MereAnn Reid

Licensed Professional Counselor

Registered Play Therapist, Certified Adoption Therapist

Our earliest relationships help construct a map for how we expect future relationships to unfold. Our sense of safety--both internal and shared--has its roots in how we were parented. All of this is changeable, as our brains grow and change for our whole lives; the greatest factor of influence is how and with whom we connect. That's attachment: Getting our needs met, in a dance with others.

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Alexandra Henderson (she/her)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

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Sarah Nelson (she/her)

Clinical Psychologist

Ph.D.

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Marla Christensen LPC NCC (she/her)

Marriage and Family Therapist

MA LPC NBCC

My theoretical focus is through the lens of attachment – that is, how the bonds we create are effective, or ineffective, in our current lives (John Bowlby). In addition to attachment bonds that we experience, I also support my clients collaboratively to better understand life’s stressors and patterns of interaction that may or may not be promoting his or her well-being.

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Stacy Sheffler (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

How we attached to our significant caregivers in early childhood leads us to desire, gravitate and repel others. Understanding these styles can aid in seeking healthier relationships.

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Kari Carroll (she/them)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC, LMFT

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Pearl Waldorf

Licensed Professional Counselor

It is during our early development that our ways of understanding relationship are being mapped into our brains. Attachment therapy can awaken these networks for reconfiguration. Deep change is possible in how we experience ourselves, in our ways of connecting with others and in our capacity to act effectively in the world.

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Beth Bloom (she/her)

Clinical Psychologist

Psy.D.

I have advanced training and experience working with attachment theory, including a study group with Beatrice Beebe, a leading researcher in this area.

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Anne Emmett

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I have studied attachment theory through various coursework and study groups throughout the years.

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Jessica Feinsmith, MA, LPC Associate, NCC (She/her/hers)

Professional Counselor Associate

LPC intern

I believe that to heal we must feel, and that can be very scary to do alone or with a stranger. If you struggle with insecurity within yourself and relationships, connecting and building a trusting relationship with a therapist will take time. I utilize attachment and bonding interventions to holistically develop a trusted relationship between myself and the client to create a secure attachment.

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Tina Lilly, MS LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have researched and trained in various attachment-based theories related to parenting, adoption, couples and families.

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Camillia Thompson, LPC (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

MA, LPC, CMA

We all want to feel connected, we just don't always know how. I draw heavily from attachment theory as well as training with the M.E.T.A. Institute in attachment focused techniques to bring this knowledge into our work. Profound life changes can take place when we face our fears of vulnerability and connection in a safe and supportive relationship.

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Jules Allison (They/them)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA, Professional Counselor Associate, CADC-R

Attachment underpins all of our relational experiences

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Jeannie Songer

Licensed Professional Counselor

My training and personal experience has included special emphasis on healing attachment wounds, and I work with most clients on a long-term basis with attachment work as a primary focus.

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Marc Otto (he/they)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA, RSMT/E, Professional Counselor Associate

Our earliest relationships form the templates for how we interact and what we expect from others. These patterns live in our body and in the ways that we engage with (or avoid) others. Over the past 10 years, I have learned how to recognize and work with individual attachment styles and relationship patterns through my in-depth studies with Bonnie Badenoch, PhD, LMFT.

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Miranda Bayard-Clark, LPC (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

Humans learn attachment from their primary caregivers. This relationship we have with our parents directly reflects our relationships with our friends, other family members, co-workers, and intimate partners. I work with clients to identify their attachment, and how it can help or hinder their personal success in creating and maintaining relationships.

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Majken Elek, MA

Licensed Professional Counselor

Our early childhood attachments with our caregivers creates a template for how we respond and relate with ourselves, and our relationships. They inform our beliefs about the world and from this, we internalize relational patterns. We can cultivate understanding of why we attached the way we did and how we can utilize neuro-plasticity to create new templates to get our emotional needs met.

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Julianna Vermeys

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC, NCC

I believe our attachments to our first caregivers offer us a window into how we feel and function in our current relationships and life endeavors. Using narrative and discussion to understand the complex web of attachment-based emotions and experience in the world, I can help you feel empowered and in charge of your life choices and behaviors.

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Ally Simone (she/her)

Marriage and Family Therapist Associate

M.S., MFT

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Heather Vliet (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

Attachment theory and its connection to the field of interpersonal neurobiology is exciting in its implications for treatment! I help children and families build the skills of reflection, empathy and validation that are needed for children to develop secure attachment and healthy self-confidence. When life's challenges have injured these primary relationships, our work is essential for healing.

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Sawyer Salameh

Licensed Professional Counselor

I work off attachment theory to help individuals and couples. This gives us an understanding how we interact with people in our lives and how we can change our patterns.

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Paige Cameron (She/Her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MA LPC Intern

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Lilyan Smith-Moore, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

We are creatures of love, and when we feel disconnected from others, we suffer. In therapy, I use attachment theory to help a person explore how their early family relationships (or lack thereof) shaped their ways of relating to others in adulthood. This type of therapy is especially useful for those who have been through childhood or family trauma.

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Tracy Trefethen

Licensed Professional Counselor

My Masters in Clinician Mental Health and ongoing post-Masters intensive trainings feature a fundamental understanding of how our childhood attachment relationships profoundly shape our sense of self, others and the world. I am currently participating in an 18 month training intensive that focuses primarily on supporting clients to repair and transform their childhood attachment wounds.

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Carly Henderson (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have and continue to participate in graduate education and professional development that focuses on attachment and attachment related trauma. I continue to participate in graduate classes through Portland State University's Trauma Informed Services and Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) programs and participate in an advanced study group focusing on trauma, attachment, and IPNB.

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Professional Counselor Associate

Patterns of thought and ways of being in relationships with others are largely put in place prior to acquiring the ability to verbalize our experience. As such much of what we know and how we know it are implicit. Nonetheless these embedded patterns can effectively addressed by counseling in an atmosphere of empathic collaborative dialogue.

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David Hayden (He/Him)

Licensed Professional Counselor

I specialize in attachment theory, which looks at how our early childhood experiences have shaped our understanding of ourselves and our close relationships.

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Haley Brotzman (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

Student Intern

Attachment Theory is a lens through which your style of connecting with others can be seen. It is necessary to process through our connection styles in order to improve relationships to the self and others. This work can be beneficial in the beginning stages and continue through your healing process.

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Liz Crabtree (she/her)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

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Dore Everett,LCSW (He/Him)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

Attachment work in therapy explores how dysfunctional attachment templates get represented in adult relationships by clients developing a personal, healthy, therapeutic relationship with their counselor. This relationship lays the groundwork to understand clients’ attachments to others through consistent and supportive communication.

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Sonia Holdaway (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MS

Attachment theory is at the heart of my work with both couples and individuals. If you are wondering why you seem to have the same problems in relationships over and over, or you feel clingy or suffocated in relationships, I can help. My clients often say they find our work helpful for looking at the impact of attachment patterns on present and past relationships.

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Sasha Rosenfels, MA, LMFT (She/her)

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

LMFT

Learning to understand our early attachment experiences and how they shaped our current relationship dynamics.

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Myra Sicilia (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC

Having training in attachment theory serves as a solid foundation for understanding client’s development of maladaptive coping strategies and how this relates to the client’s emotional difficulties. Using this therapy, I can help clients increase self-compassion and kindness because clients who have attachment disorders/wounds often develop a negative self-view.

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Katharyn Waterfield, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

OR Lic #C4802

Through the study of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) we have a great new understanding of the restorability of wholeness where emotional damage was done from unresponsive, unconscious, or even violent caretakers. Our work is in the relationship, as the 'interpersonal' actually enables a new neurologic wiring as well as new realizations of worthiness and value.

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Sophie Toolanen (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor

MA, LPC

Attachment and schema driven therapy were cornerstones of my graduate education program. I believe that the attachment, or lack there of, to our primary caregivers plays an integral part in shaping who we are and how confident and capable we feel. I have many years of experience working with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, which I see as a disorder rooted in attachment trauma.

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Allison Amo MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I strongly believe that our attachment experiences, from birth through adulthood, shape the way that we relate to ourselves and others. I will help you understand this lens through which you see the world, and open up possibilities for growth and healing, which ultimately leads to a more authentic and meaningful connections.

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Amanda Ball (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate

MS

Attachment theory helps us untangle the complex web of early learning that can make engaging in fulfilling adult relationships difficult and painful. I hold special training in a method called Experiential Attachment, which naturally elicits the infant/caregiver attachment system, allowing for examination of early attachment wounding and engagement in a process of repair.

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Amelia Righi (they/them)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC

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Christopher Marquardt (he/his/they/them)

Licensed Professional Counselor

LPC

I tend to build emotional connections to my clients- hoping to mitigate the pain caused by other suboptimal relationships they've had in the past. For other clients this looks like establishing a connection to someone who knows them very well and represents a reflection of their better self which, for one reason or the other, the client is unable to see.

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Karel Chan

Licensed Professional Counselor

MS, LPC

Our adult relationships reflect our earliest relationships in life with our families of origin. Whatever the quality of those relationships, they taught us powerful messages about love, how it's given, and sometimes what we need to do in order to receive it. If love was absent, inconsistent, or highly conditional, then we move through life feeling a persistent lack of belonging, no matter who we are with. Understanding that these messages are not true can open us to freely give and receive love.

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Mira Shah, LPC, ATR, LAT (she/her)

Art Therapist

LPC, LAT, ATR

Attachment theory is all about love and safety. How we experience that from an early age influences the coping skills we develop for all of our relationships, especially during times of conflict and struggle. I love that we can change how we feel about ourselves, our relationships and the world at large through the context of new, safe, reparative experiences.

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Rhys Pasimio

Licensed Professional Counselor

We are formed by our relationships. More than that, we are most deeply wounded in relationships, and find out greatest healing in relationships.

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