Understanding attachment and its application in social work assessment – 1 or 2 days


This course aims to provide an introduction to contemporary attachment theory and how developments in neuroscience have enhanced our understanding of the importance of early relationships to child development.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be offered the opportunity to:

  • Understand the importance of attachment theory in assessing the needs of infants and children and why and how the quality of attachment may impact on a child’s development.
  • Consider advances in neuroscience and how these have deepened our understanding of the way that the brains of infants and children develop.
  • Understand how attachment patterns develop and ways in which we may recognise these.
  • Consider an overview of the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM).
  • Understand how the developmental pathways lead to the various insecure strategies (The ‘ABC’ model of attachment); The characteristics associated with the A, B and C strategies.
  • Explore how the behaviour of children and adults can be best understood when we focus on the function of the behaviour rather than the surface appearance of the behaviour.
  • Reflect upon how attachment theory strongly signals the importance of relationship-based practice as being a key feature of successful assessment and intervention.

This course can also be offered as a two day version which focuses on enabling participants to consider and try out a range of tools to help them with the assessment of the needs of children and young people, and to formulate more effective plans for children. It includes the following additional learning outcomes:

  • Consider a range of tools that may be used to assess the pattern of attachment for individual children and their parents and carers.
  • Identify how an understanding of the attachment experiences of children and adults can inform assessments and assist in developing effective plans.