Treating Attachment Disorders

Second Edition
From Theory to Therapy

Karl Heinz Brisch
Foreword by Lotte Köhler
Afterword by Inge Bretherton
Translated by Kenneth Kronenberg

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
April 3, 2012
ISBN 9781462504831
Price: $78.00 $66.30
369 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 3, 2014
ISBN 9781462519262
Price: $33.00 $28.05
369 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
April 10, 2012
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $33.00 $28.05
369 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $66.00 $36.30
369 Pages

Organized around extended case illustrations—and grounded in cutting-edge theory and research—this highly regarded book shows how an attachment perspective can inform psychotherapeutic practice with patients of all ages. Karl Heinz Brisch explores the links between early experiences of separation, loss, and trauma and a range of psychological, behavioral, and psychosomatic problems. He demonstrates the basic techniques of attachment-based assessment and intervention, emphasizing the healing power of the therapeutic relationship. With a primary focus on treating infants and young children and their caregivers, the book discusses applications of attachment-based psychotherapy over the entire life course.

New to This Edition

“I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the application of attachment theory for any client group. There is something for everyone here and much to provoke thought and further discussion.”

Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

“A useful, unpretentious, and eminently readable book. The theory, research, and case material addressed in it are crucial to consider for those interested in reflective, honest, and effective clinical practice.”

Psychologist-Psychoanalyst APA Division 39 Newsletter

“This is a wonderful textbook for any one treating children with attachment disorders, particularly if involved in individual psychotherapy.”

Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

“The author presents a clear summary of the basic tenets of attachment theory and its theoretical and empirical development....It is then possible for the reader to engage in the author's case illustrations of how knowledge of attachment dynamics can usefully influence a diverse range of psychotherapeutic work.”

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

Treating Attachment Disorders is delightfully readable....The reader is quickly drawn into the cases, all of which are interesting and pertinent to clinical practice....[Brisch] offers much for both the novice clinician, for whom learning to establish a secure base is crucial, and for experienced ones who want to integrate attachment theory into their work. Child therapists, in particular, will find many valuable insights....Treating Attachment Disorders is an important and very timely book that shows how understanding attachment and keeping it in mind can immeasurably enrich one's clinical experience.”

International Journal of Psychoanalysis (on previous edition)

“Brisch's outstanding integration of John Bowlby's theory of attachment and analytic practice is fascinating to read....Highly recommended. Upper-division graduates and above.”

Choice Reviews

“An exceptionally rich account of how attachment theory may be used to guide treatment methods.”

—Michael Rutter, MD, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, United Kingdom

“This second edition is an essential resource for clinicians, scholars, students, and all others seeking a fuller understanding of attachment disorders across the lifespan and how to treat them. Brisch wisely agrees with other leading authorities that ‘holding therapy’ is wrongheaded and irreconcilable with attachment theory. But how then should the serious emotional and behavioral troubles that typify the notion of attachment disorders be treated? For what is arguably the best and most comprehensive, research-based, and sensitive answer to date, read Brisch!”

—Howard Steele, PhD, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research

Table of Contents

Foreword, Lotte Köhler


I. Attachment Theory and Its Basic Concepts

II. Attachment Disorders

III. Attachment-Based Psychotherapy

IV. Treatment Cases from Clinical Practice

V. Treatment of Early Childhood Developmental Disorders in an Inpatient Intensive Psychotherapy Unit: A New Model of Treatment

VI. Prospects for Further Application

Afterword, Inge Bretherton

Appendix: Brief Précis of the Adult Attachment Interview Protocol

About the Author

Karl Heinz Brisch, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, as well as an adult psychiatrist and neurologist and a specialist in psychosomatic medicine; a training psychoanalyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute in Stuttgart, Germany; and head of the Department of Pediatric Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany. Dr. Brisch’s primary research is on the development of infants and children with high-risk conditions and the development of attachment and its disorders. He has led longitudinal research projects on attachment disturbances and early psychotherapeutic interventions. He is a member of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and of the Society for Research in Child Development, and is president of the German branch of the German-Speaking Association for Infant Mental Health. His website is


Psychotherapists working with children, adults, and families, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and clinical social workers; developmental psychologists.

Course Use

Serves as a text in graduate-level courses.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2002
ISBN: 9781593850449
New to this edition: