Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life

ATTACH Project Pilot Studies: Phase 1 and 2

ATTACH Project Pilot Studies: Phase 1 and 2

This study is a Community Based Public Health Care Initiative to promote the healthy development of children exposed to toxic stress transferred over by their parents/caregivers suffering from mental illness, addictions to substances of abuse, or domestic violence--are less able to respond sensitively and appropriately to meet the needs of their developing infants.

Specifically, the Action Team on Triadic Attachment and Child Health (ATTACH) Intervention is a brief supportive psycho-dynamically informed individual AND triadic parenting psychotherapeutic program that fosters a process of maternal RF. The content is designed to help the parent develop his/her mind and the emphasis is on the development of the capacity for mentalizing. In other words, the intervention helps to develop the capacity to think about mental states (thoughts, feelings, and intentions) and to consider how one’s own mental states might affect others, and how others’ mental states might have an impact on oneself. The format consists of face-to-face, one-on-one ATTACH Intervention sessions and face-to-face triadic ATTACH Intervention sessions. The duration of the treatment consists of 12 weekly therapeutic sessions with a RF therapist. After the therapeutic relationship is established (after 6 sessions of therapy) the mothers invite their co-parenting support person to take part in 3 triadic sessions (at sessions 7, 9, and 11) spaced 2 weeks apart, using the Reflective Family Play procedure; all 12 sessions occur over a total of 12 weeks of the intervention program. Our long-term goals include: 

  • Supporting the parent’s developing capacity for emotional regulation
  • Restoring the parent’s own capacity to engage in human attachment
  • Promoting the parent’s capacity to engage with and enjoy his/her child, to tolerate the child’s emotional distress, to understand attachment needs, and to support the child’s developing regulatory capacities

Thus far, we have completed Phase 1 and 2. We are currently working on Phase 3.