Fostering attachment: A training connecting childhood experiences, adult attachment and reflective parenting

Caroline Distell (2007)

This dissertation describes a training manual for mental health professionals who wish to lead a workshop designed for therapeutic foster parents on the topic of attachment. To set the frame for the manual, this dissertation first offers a review of the current literature on therapeutic foster parents, foster parent training, and attachment theory. The workshop is designed to enhance foster parents' knowledge of attachment and provide opportunities for self exploration based on attachment experiences. Foster parents will gain greater self-awareness and understanding of their foster child by reflecting on their own early childhood experiences and by being insightful about their parenting practices. Further, this workshop provides information on the process of enhancing secure attachments in foster children. Foster parents will also assess their own attachment styles by completing the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire. The immediate outcomes of the workshop are evaluated using several questionnaires which assess the following; if foster parents have gained knowledge of attachment, if foster parents believe they have gained insight into their early childhood experiences and early attachment experiences and if foster parents were able to put into practice what they learned in the workshop. Some of the long term outcomes of the workshop include the potential to change insecure attachment patterns to more secure attachment patterns, to decrease multiple foster care placements due to the foster child's behaviors and to retain foster parents. A Power Point Presentation will also be included in the training manual for use throughout the workshop.