Creating a secure family base: some implications of attachment theory for family therapy

Fam Process. 1995 Mar;34(1):45-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1995.00045.x.


The aim of this article is to make attachment research findings available in a form that family therapists can use. In attachment theory, parents are conceptualized as providing a secure base from which a child can explore. Family therapists, however, need a systemic concept that goes beyond the parent/child dyad. The concept of a secure family base is proposed, in which a network of care is made available for all family members of whatever age so that all family members feel secure enough to explore, in the knowledge that support is available if needed. Factors that contribute to the security or insecurity of the family base are outlined. The overall aim of therapy is to establish a secure family base from which the family can explore new solutions to family problems both during and after therapy. The role of the therapist is to help to resolve conflicts that threaten relationships, and to explore relevant belief systems that may be contributing to a sense of insecurity. The conceptual framework presented allows for an integration of family therapy techniques and ideas into a coherent whole. A new school of family therapy is not proposed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Family Therapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations