Identifying therapeutic action in an attachment-centered intervention with high risk families

Miriam Steele, Anne Murphy, Howard Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper describes an attachment-based intervention for mothers known to Child Welfare Services where past and current trauma complicates family preservation and promotion of child well being. The first part of the paper describes the innovative Attachment-Centered Parent-Child Therapy service that has been delivered to high-risk families with children from 0 to 3years of age. The intervention uses a group format that has the added benefits of enhancing social support and being highly cost effective. The intervention also integrates video filming both in terms of capturing essential features of the group intervention for review and supervision of clinical staff, and is fundamental in the observation-based empirical assessments. Quantitative data from an initial pilot study supporting the efficacy of the intervention is presented. As well, qualitative data is presented including a case study that highlights therapeutic action shown to positively impact the quality of the mother-child relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Attachment theory and research
  • Infants
  • Intergenerational influences
  • Intervention
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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