Thursday, February 27, 2014.  There is a link here to a talk Dr. Daniel Siegel gave on Identifying Your Child’s Attachment Style that is transcribed on the PsychAlive website.  My computer won’t bring up the pictures on the page, but in spite of those big blank areas on my screen I found the text very helpful.  Complicated attachment concepts are given here in clear words that are grounded in everyday life examples.


I just signed up for this free webinar listed on the PsychAlive site:

June 3: Is Your Attachment Style Shaping Your Life?

Presenter: Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.

Attachment refers the particular way in which you relate to other people. Your style of attachment was formed in childhood, however, once established, it has a heavy influence on how you relate in everything from your intimate relationships to how you parent your children. Understanding your style of attachment is helpful, because it offers you insight into how you felt and developed in childhood, while revealing ways that you may be emotionally limited as an adult. By learning your early attachment style, you gain insight into actions you can take to improve your close relationships. You can learn techniques to challenge areas in which you may feel limited and even form an “earned secure attachment” as an adult. In this Webinar, you will gain a better understanding of how your own attachment style influences your life, while learning tools to enhance your adult attachment style and develop yourself in ways that will bring you more success in life.”


Now I am taking my first look at – Patricia M. Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model of attachment theory

I see there is a heavyweight and very legitimate book written by this clinician published in 2011 by Norton:

Assessing Adult Attachment: A Dynamic-Maturational Approach to Discourse Analysis

Book Description on Amazon.com

A method for identifying the psychological and interpersonal self-protective attachment strategies of adults.

This book focuses upon new methods of analysis for adult attachment texts. The authors’ introduce a highly nuanced model—the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM)—providing clinicians with a finely-tuned tool for helping patients examine past relationships, in addition to gauging the potential effectiveness of various treatment options. The authors offer a fascinating explanation of the neurobiological underpinnings of DMM, grounded in findings from the cognitive neurosciences about information processing. In this volume, readers have an eminently practical, theoretically-grounded work that is sure to transform many types of therapy.


Here are the five reviews of the book on Amazon

I am thinking that this book is probably a MUST for any professional who wants to use the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) as either a client assessment tool or for anyone using this powerful tool for research.

It does not sound like a treatment-based book.  I would wonder, however, if the use of this tool and the classification system presented is without bias in terms of a particular treatment style.  I would have to look further into the book to tell.

I am concerned that now that the AAI has been released to the public that it’s integrity as a tool will be compromised by shoddy applications.  How can such a useful tool – a true gift to humanity from my point of vie – be protected and preserved in its usefulness and accuracy so that it will be used for what it was designed to be used for?

In looking at the contents of this book it seems that the use of the AAI and its classifications is presented with integrity.  The possible use of the resulting information in a treatment setting would be biased by the author’s theoretical approach.  SEE CONTENTS HERE


HERE is a 2005 article:  Attachment Theory, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapy:

The Dynamic-Maturational Approach

By Patricia M. Crittenden

Family Relations Institute, Inc.

In this article Crittenden’s dynamic-maturational model (DMM) of attachment theory is comprehensively presented and discussed.  It is a “heady” article and not easy to read.  However, it is an important, valid model that describes “adult pathology” in terms of early attachment failures and complications and is therefore immensely helpful for anyone trying to assist a human being to find increased well-being in their life. 

This theory and its application appear to me to be specific to a very skilled, high quality and long-term therapist-client relationship which is – I believe – in all but a very few cases impossible to access for most insecurely attached people.  A thorough reading of the article at the above link will provide a comprehensive view of Crittenden’s model and its implications.

In a simplistic and off-handed way I would say that it seems likely that only on the level of training in psychiatry would a clinician actually attend to the detailed study both of this model and of its implications and applications.  To my knowledge psychiatry is today nearly always concerned with giving formal diagnosis for the prescription of drugs and NOT with the kind of deep, careful and thorough rebuilding and healing work that Crittenden promotes.

This is a tragedy of life in today’s modern world.

This is not to say that we as individuals can’t pursue a serious study of her model so that we can work toward our own healing by integrating what we learn about attachment through Crittenden with what we know about ourselves.  Who among us is that motivated – and that hopeful?


Attachment theory is about identifying what attachment is, what it does, how to prevent problems and how to identify problems when they exist.  It is not about fixing those problems except that it is increasingly operationalizing the underpinnings of this entire process.

Crittenden’s work takes what I have just stated and INCLUDES the fixing aspect.

I searched in Google Books and found that Dr. Daniel Siegel does mention Crittenden in his book The Developing Mind but I cannot access that reference online.

Both professionals are mentioned side-by-side HERE


I did uncover this very informative page today and highly suggest readers take a few moments to scan through the comment section HERE.  Many illuminating points of view are presented in response to a talk Dr. Siegel was a part of.  Many sources of material about attachment are also mentioned in these comments.

From this link I just found this – which fascinates me!  Those of you who have read my book,


written with my daughter Ramona – may have questioned my conclusion that all my psychotic abusive BPD mother did to me was inspired by HOPE that originated in her child mind in reaction to the traumas of her childhood.

Comment and reply:

Laurence Drell 04.23.2011 13:54 

I find listening to Dan like rereading Shakespeare… there is always a slight new nuance of emphasis on something important that comes out of his discussions.

I have always felt that in therapy as patient or therapist that the sense of being “known” was somehow therapeutic in itself. How that occurred varied. And each patient speaks a different language so what is said and how it is said makes all the difference… but it always seemed crucial to growth to have this experience. And Dan describes this so clearly on an energetic level of two minds resonating and feeling that connection.

I was impressed by the current work and research on the neurogenesis of the integrative fibers in the brain when one person feels known by the other (or one part of the mind is connected to another as in meditation)

And it made so much sense when it was mentioned that the development of these new pathways enable us (and patients) to make greater use of the abilities and strengths we always have but don’t always use… especially when in the midst of emotional turmoil.

I found Dan’s clear description and explanation to a patient of how therapy can help the patient develop and grow parts of the brain that have not had the opportunity to develop (yet) incredibly useful.

Personally I have found that clearly (and with honesty) offering hope to a patient is therapeutic in itself. I am not sure where in the brain or the mind that the change actually occurs and perhaps it is just in a space in the middle of that triangle that Dan describes, but I know that it is an essential ingredient for growth.

And it is reassuring on some level to be reminded that what we do in therapy (and in every relationship) has actual neurobiologic mechanisms that can be understood and that understanding these mechanisms can then be used to teach better ways (parenting skills etc) to interact with one another and ourselves. It is all so hopeful.

Thanks again for a wonderful lecture.

Laurence Drell, MD

Washington, DC



Dan [Siegel] 04.23.2011 14:10 

Hi Laurence: Thanks for your reflections! The “ingredient” of that hopefulness is important, and fascinating. I wonder how you feel about the notion that intention is at the heart of hope, and that intention in many ways is the coherence push of emotion, that process which assembles elements together, often in an integrative way with positive intention. There is some fascinating writing about intention, and it is woven with in-depth explorations of a hard look at emotion, opening our minds up to the pathway from intention to connection. Anyway, when we imagine the intention of hope, we can sense some way in which the emotion (an integrative process, inside and interpersonally) created links us to our patient/client, with the “yes state” of receptivity that invites both the social engagement system to become activated (ala Porges’ Polyvagal Theory) and perhaps even neuroplasticity conditions to be primed…Lots to reflect on, and much synthesis to soak in! Thanks again for your reflections and see you soon I hope. Dan


I just wrote this and it posted – nearly three years after Siegel’s above words were written:

Dr. Siegel – I am a grass root in-the-trenches student of your work. Reading this comment today inspired hope in me that you might read the little book I wrote with my daughter about the terrible tragedy of my abusive, psychotically mentally ill mother and what she did to me. “Story Without Words” is available in kindle format on amazon.com and concludes with my statement that the entire saga of Mother’s story as she entrapped me within it was essentially about the process of HOPE as Mother portrayed it within a story she wrote as a child.

At the same time I have little hope that if I hit ‘send comment’ that my words will actually reach you! But what is life without hope!

thank you! Linda

How will I know if Siegel replies to me?  I hope (!!) I receive notification via email! 


Here is our first book out in ebook format.  A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben!  Click here to view or purchase: 


It lists for $2.99 and can be read free for Amazon Prime customers.  Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!


Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment



  1. I just heard Dan Siegel being interviewed by Dr. Ruth Buczynski on NICABM Brain Science 2014 series (http://www.nicabm.com/brain2014/pgu1-info/, it was free while it aired in webinars). He spoke on the Teenage Brain but he thought the adolescent brain period of life lasts until the mid 20’s. His references to attachment were mainly in reference to the shift in brain functioning from juvenile stage to adolescence to adulthood. (Note if you go to the main page of NICABM they erroneously put Helen Fisher’s talk under Dan Siegel as featured speaker, although that will surely change over time and future webinar series.)

    • Boy the one by Dr. Lipton on epigentics sure looks fascinating! Probably most of what Siegel is saying is in his book – which looks intriguing! How did you find you could listen to any of these free? Thanks!

      • Yes Bruce Lipton always gives some earth-shaking interviews. You can sign up for alerts at the NICABM site. Plan on another one in April/May (usually Treating Trauma) and one in Aug or Sept (variable topics) and the final one on Mindfulness in Oct/Nov or Dec. Past topics have included Nutrition, Women’s Health, Spirituality in Healing, etc.

  2. Thanks for your insightful observations about Crittenden’s work. You’re absolutely right about the fixing aspect of it…also I have found it to be somewhat more positively stated as strategies of protection that became overused and thus problematic, rather than a label that seems so negative to me. “Disorganized/Disoriented” attachment style. I ordered her book today as l haven’t found that much info on line about her model that you don’t have to pay for…I’ll let you know if she has the answers to the riddles of why we are the way we are and hopefully what we can do about it! More snow today….ugh!!!

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