Attachment-Based Psychotherapy: Helping Patients Develop Adaptive Capacities

Pages: 269
Item #: 4317304
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1302-3
List Price: $59.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $49.95
Copyright: 2013
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


Our early attachment experiences with our primary caregiver influence the adult that we become. These experiences forge our patterns of communication, emotional experience, intimate relationships, and way of living in the world.

If our early attachments are secure, we learn to access and communicate adaptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In contrast, if our early attachment experiences are insecure, we may struggle with dysregulated, maladaptive emotions and have difficulties in our intimate relationships — leading to anxiety, depression, and excessive or misdirected anger.

This book presents an attachment-based approach to therapy that addresses the limiting and detrimental effects of negative early attachment experiences. Attachment-based psychotherapy has two major components: establishing a security-engendering therapeutic relationship and helping the patient to communicate more openly and thus to access more adaptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Psychotherapists of various theoretical orientations will appreciate this book's richly detailed conceptualization of common human problems, as well as clear treatment approach for addressing these problems.

Table of Contents


  1. Attachment, Communication, and Affect: An Introduction

I. An Attachment-Based View of Development

  1. Why Mothers Matter: The Evolution of Maternal Care
  2. The Neural Sculpting of the Self
  3. Attachment
  4. Communication
  5. Affect

II. Attachment-Based Psychotherapy

  1. Defensive Exclusion and the Focus of Attachment-Based Therapy
  2. Anxiety, Depression, and Maladaptive Anger
  3. The Security-Engendering Therapeutic Relationship
  4. Deconstructing Aloneness: Helping the Patient Access and Communicate Excluded Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors



About the Author

Author Bio

Peter C. Costello, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in New York City, working with individuals and couples, and an associate professor of communication at Adelphi University, where he teaches seminars in attachment theory, interpersonal communication, and adult romantic relationships. He previously served in multiple roles as a dean and an associate provost at Adelphi.

He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and hold two doctoral degrees: one in clinical psychology from The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (City College) and another in communication from New York University. His work combines both fields.

Dr. Costello completed his clinical training at The New York State Psychiatric Institute and at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. In addition to attachment theory, his current interests include an integrative approach to psychotherapy, and in recent years he has co-chaired two international conferences sponsored by the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration.

He also serves on the editorial board of the newly launched journal of the Unified Psychotherapy Project.

Reviews & Awards

This book is a jewel. Seldom has the depth and richness of modern attachment theory and science been explored with such clarity and elegance. Clinicians will find it invaluable, giving them a new understanding of their clients' emotional lives and life problems. -
—Sue Johnson, PhD, author of Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa, and distinguished research professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California

In the first half the author focuses on describing attachment and attachment theory, and he does so exceptionally well. The book offers readers a deeper understanding of [attachment] theory, laying a foundation for conceptualizing an individual's suffering according to this framework.

This is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it. It is thoughtful, generally well written, capacious in its review of the attachment literature and yet clinical in its focus, and includes a number of substantial and well-developed case examples. It would be an excellent addition to the reading list for clinically oriented graduate students; as a teacher of undergraduates, I found myself scribbling notes to myself in the margins for use in courses on psychopathology and personality, and in a seminar for seniors engaged in clinical work in the community. 
—Joseph J. Guido, PsycCRITIQUES