News, Updates, and Events.
View this email in your browser
Forward to Friend


Welcome to the Annual Newsletter from the Attachment Network of Manitoba!

While our Network began locally as a way to link service providers in and around Winnipeg and farther afield, around ways to make use of good attachment information, our website has enabled us to link with people and programs all over the world.  As a result, we deliberately try to cross pollinate one another with our newsletter, showcasing examples from afar.  So much innovative work is being carried out by the “boots on the ground” people such as front line workers, teachers, early childhood educators, and clinicians. Isn’t it time we all did a little bragging?

This fall, Winnipeg hosted Kent Hoffman as he presented the Core Sensitivities training.  Those of you familiar with Kent know he is a phenomenal presenter who takes you on a deep journey into what makes us tick inside.  We had set out to interview Kent as a feature article for this newsletter as we have tended to feature “movers and shakers” in the field previously, but in typical Kent fashion, he produced a 20 minute TED Talk on his favourite topic, Infinite Worth.  Instead of an interview, we are more than happy to share the You Tube link.  If that leaves you wanting more, Kent also produced an on-line book called Eighty-Seven Minutes, which we also link up to.  Should you be unfamiliar with Kent, we invite you to join us in Winnipeg April 5-8 as he returns to offer the Circle of Security 4 day DVD training.

Also, this fall, our Network hosted our first training in Making the Connection, an attachment intervention from the Psychology Foundation of Canada, and we now have a Manitoba master trainer, Jan Ranson. Keely Patterson provided a write up on how transformative that experience was as she takes the material back to the near north with her in Flin Flon.  Jessica Smith also shares an article about the training as well.

Circle of Security are working hard with illustrators to create short films depicting some of the internal working models both parents and children use in their interactions.  These visuals are powerful ways to help parents or professionals start to understand the dynamics of relationships that are ‘hidden in plain sight’ as well as gain some understanding of the trademarked concepts of COS.  

This past year, a local social worker, Pamela Delisle, came up with an innovative way to assist new families with all they need to get started looking after a baby.  We offered to partner with Pamela and have had our 10 Things Your Baby Wants You to Know and 10 Things Your Toddler Wants You to Know brochures included in all her packages. 

Canadian Association of Child Play Therapists are having a big conference in Winnipeg this spring and we are pleased to have renowned Theraplay instructor, Lorie Walton, provide a short article helping us begin to understand some of the processes involved for a child in relational play based therapy.

Nancy Rother, who is integrating the amazing Circle of Security program into her First Nations community of Kahnawake, near Montreal, has also provided us with an article about their work at helping families heal from the devastation and uprooting from the Residential Schools experiences. Keeping on a First Nations note, we are also providing links to some amazing attachment related resources gathered from across Canada.

Locally we are excited to share some good attachment intervention work at the New Directions Parenting Centre as they marry Circle of Security and Theraplay.

We want to continue to remind people that we now have completed our 4 part Brochure Series of 10 Things Your _____(Baby, Toddler, School Aged Child, or Adolescent) Wants You to Know, and these are available on our site for free downloading or available in our on-line store for purchase in bundles of 20 or 50, or if you need many more, by special arrangement through our Network.

Such thorough, thoughtful and comprehensive work is being done through the attachment lens all over the world. Let’s Celebrate!

Kent Hoffman on Infinite Worth

Kent Hoffman is a clinician, attachment researcher, and co-founder of Circle of Security International. His life work has included building intervention approaches for at-risk families dealing with parenting stress. Dr. Hoffman travels extensively throughout North America, Europe and Australia teaching professionals. His personal journey can be found at

Watch Kent's TEDTalk here: 

You Can't Spoil a Baby!


"Baby gifts to help with the first year of life are being delivered to financially vulnerable Manitoba families all because one former social worker turned stay-at-home parent, saw and filled a gap in the system. The solution was simply to connect people who had baby items to donate with people who needed baby items. The donor is invited to deliver their gift directly to the family and they get the reward of knowing their once loved baby items will be reused and appreciated. The family receives a customized gift and gets to meet the donor or volunteer who cares about them and their children. The planet benefits too, because every gift of once loved items saves valuable resources.  

The Winnipeg, home-based project, You Can’t Spoil A Baby (YCSAB), is founded and operated by Pamela Delisle and a core team of 40 volunteers. Four years in, and the project has delivered over 530 gifts, which include baby clothes and items, a big sibling gift, a greeting card and for the last year, The Attachment Network of Manitoba’s brochures, ‘10 Things Your Baby Wants You to Know’ and ‘10 Things Your Toddler Wants You to Know’, in order to promote a healthy attachment between child and parent.

In order to be inclusive, YCSAB is non-partisan and secular, and is rooted in strength-based social work practice. The project recognizes the resiliency and resourcefulness of the gift applicants and believes that every family who requests a gift is brave for asking, and deserving of that help. The project is proud to have connected many families who otherwise would not have met and to highlight that all parents face challenges and are stronger when they come together and support each other."

Pamela Delisle, Founder BFA, BSW

The Use of an Attachment Focus in Play Therapy

Lorie Walton is the Founder and Lead Therapist of Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc, in Bradford, Ontario Canada, a centre focused on assisting children and families dealing with attachment, trauma and emotional and developmental issues. She is an Ontario Registered Psychotherapist, a Certified Child Play Therapist Supervisor and a Certified Theraplay® Therapist Trainer Supervisor. She has extensive training in working with adopted and foster care children who experience attachment related issues and trauma. More information about Lorie, her trainings and supervision, as well as the services provided can be seen at You may also follow her on facebook/familyfirstplaytherapy


Play and Attachment Therapies connected through Neurobiology

Lorie Walton, M.Ed; RP
CACPT Certified Child Play Therapist Supervisor
Certified Theraplay Therapist Supervisor Trainer

Play therapy is a specialized mental health medium which includes many forms of evidence-based interventions designed to effectively assist children healing from trauma, abuse, grief, emotional dysregulation disorders as well as many other childhood challenges, experiences and issues. Play Therapy is suitable for children from infancy to about 16 years of age, but can also be adapted for young people in their late teens, and even for adults, including the elderly (O'Connor & Schaefer 1994). Because children are still developing, it is important for the play therapist to consider many areas of the child’s presentation upon entry into service, including attachment strengths and weaknesses. 

Human brain development and the importance of relationships is becoming an integral part of the Child Play Therapists role when considering treatment goals and outcomes. Children cannot heal alone and require a significant co-regulator/adult to support them through the healing journey. How this is done within the context of Play Therapy or Attachment therapy sessions can include a variety of interventions, styles, philosophies and techniques. No matter what the style or therapeutic philosophy however, is the imperative consideration of the neurobiological understanding of each client’s symptomology and emotional presentation. 

In play therapy, much of what is referred to or cited comes from four primary domains of neuroscience research: attachment, trauma, disruptive disorders and developmental disorders (O’Connor et al, 2016). Most recently, however, there is exciting information which considers neuroscience research relating play, therapeutic attachment techniques and therapist characteristics in relation to clinical practice (Hong et al, 2015) and to the healing process (Lindaman, 2016). Included in these characteristics is the focal point: Attachment relationships significantly influence brain development, emotional regulation and templates for future relationships. Both Attachment and Play therapists currently may include several neurobiologically informed practices such as Theraplay (Booth & Jernberg, 2009), Greenspan and Weider’s DIR/Floortime (O’Connor et al, 2016), Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Hughes et al, 2012) and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (Perry, 2009) to name a few. Children who come from deprived early experiences could benefit from attachment-based play therapies that offer the experience of caring, attuned interactions. These caring experiences calm the limbic area of the brain by building new neural pathways which helps to create the sense of safety – which in turn leads to building healthy attachment relationships. (Geller & Porges, 2014). 

Neurobiologically-informed therapy practice helps to explain the important work play therapists and attachment therapists do with children through a scientific perspective. It also supports validity, clinical decision-making and offers opportunity to consider the clients neurobiological presentation in order to maximize positive development and healing. 

Booth, P.B., & Jernberg, A.M. (2010). Theraplay: helping parents and children build better relationships through attachment-based play. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Geller, S. M & Porges, S.W. (2014) “Therapeutic Presence: Neurophysiological mechanisms mediating feeling safe in therapeutic relationships” in Journal of Psychotherapy Integration Vol 24, 3, 178-192. 

Hong, R., & Mason, C. (2015). Becoming a Neurobiologically Informed Play Therapist. Accepted to the International Journal of Play Therapy (Special Issue, January 2016). 

Hughes, D. & Baylin, J. (2012). Brain-based parenting: The Neuroscience of caregiving for healthy attachment. New York, NY London: Norton & Co. 

Lindaman, S. (2016). How Polyvagal Theory Helps us understand the effectiveness of Theraplay. Theraplay Institute published newsletter. Winter 2016, 8-11.

O'Connor KJ, Schaefer CE. Braverman L.D, editors. (2016). Handbook of Play Therapy. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Chapter 31, p. 583-598.

Perry, B. D. (2009). Examining child maltreatment through a  neurodevelopmental lens: Clinical applications of the neurosequential model of therapeutics. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 14, 240-255.

Making the Connection Training, 2 Articles

Jessica Smith is an ECE III who works in Winnipeg.

In Oct 2015 I had the opportunity to participate in the MTC training offered by the Attachment Network. I'm an ECE III who has facilitated parenting programs to adolescent parents, pregnant women, fathers, marginalized women, and those parents involved with CFS.  I feel that this training is an excellent addition to my professional tool box.  

What I found useful about the program were the practical discussions with the group. I learned from other's experiences and from the facilitators how to promote this program and how to foster the parent's completion. I enjoyed facilitating the parent activities with one another, the activities were interesting and fun and often didn't feel as though we were "re-enacting" them. I was relieved that the MTC course was fast paced, and the information presented was relevant.  The facilitators were experienced in promoting positive interactions in a nonthreatening way, and gave us good information on how to do this with the parents in the program.  What I was most curious about was covered. I had done videotaping in the past with my parents, but this was a different method of presenting it to them. I learned how to capture positive interactions, edit, provide feedback and discuss with the group. I was interested in the thought process of some of the parents, and we discussed how their backgrounds may influence their parenting. We also discussed how our parenting expectations may appear to parents of other cultures. I feel that this program meets the parents where they are at, building on their own strengths and love for their children.  Useful and different, and worth learning and implementing with the parents that we work with.


Keely Patterson is an ISP worker at Flin Flon Guidance Nursery, Flin Flon, MB

 Attachment…what does it mean? Such a simple concept that once came instinctively to all human beings but somehow is being lost. When we have a problem with behaviour in our modern world we feel the need to over analyze it and create scientific theories and in turn diagnoses based on what we see. I believe that we, as the parent, caregiver, teacher, early educator, etc hold that magic key in our hands and unfortunately don't even realize it’s in our possession! Prevention is key and that is where attachment work is genius!!

This past October, I was fortunate to attend the “Make The Connection” workshop. I was left feeling inspired and overjoyed with hope once again that attachment was indeed the easiest, most functional way to build strong emotional health of children. Emotional health is crucial as it is the foundation of all of us.  When a child is emotionally healthy they enter Kindergarten ready to sit, listen and learn. These children are therefore set up for a successful, healthy life. The MTC program gives me much hope and enthusiasm to pursue my desire to teach attachment here in the North for the simple reason that it is within all of us to do it, it is free and the concept is simple.  I have always believed that the most important thing you can give your child is your time and attention… material object will ever be able to replace it!

Circle of Security with First Nations Population


By: Nancy Rother, Coordinator of Inclusive Programming
and COS-P Facilitator
Tsi ionterihwaienhstahkwa ne Kahwatsiranó:ron
Step By Step Child and Family Center
Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, QC  J0L 1B0
P.O Box 771
Tel: (450) 632-7603
Fax: (450) 632-3357

“My biggest nightmare is that my son will become a serial killer and I’ll feel like it’s my fault!” 

 Imagine being in a group with parents and when this comment is made and seeing everyone nodding in agreement and recognition! Thankfully everyone was laughing too! 

Parenting is a huge responsibility and many parents fear that they are not “getting it right” and that the implications of that are also huge…and frightening! 

We also often hear parents say:

I don’t want to do to my kids what my parents did to me. But sometimes I don’t know what to do”.

Remember when we were all scared of our parents and getting a good smack? I know I can’t do that anymore. And I don’t want my child to be scared of me. But it really worked!

These conversations are taking place in Kahnawake , a Mohawk community on the South Shore of Québec, not far from the city of Montreal. For the past three years we have been using the Circle of Security Parenting  Program (COS-P) to help parents gain a better awareness of themselves and their parenting approach. The parents we are involved with want desperately to be good parents. In that, they are no different from any other parent. 

But being First Nation is different. The historical experiences of Kahnawake families – including the Residential school system – has had an impact on our ability to get close to our children. The effects of these traumas are multi-generational. They endure. 

COS-P has proven to be an effective framework within which to examine both the unique and not so unique challenges of First Nation parents. It has enabled us to explore our historical multi-caregiver traditions whereby parents and extended family each hold their own responsibility to act as the hands on the circle. It has allowed us to integrate a more contemporary Haudenosaunee way of exploring attachment along with other traditional Rites of Passage teachings and ceremonies.More parents are reconnecting and restoring these traditional rites and ceremonies – many of which parallel supportive concepts in COS-P.  When we talk about safety and security around the circle, we are also talking about cultural safety: a space where ceremonies are honored as lifelong teachings and merge with the teachings which originate from the attachment and child development literature. 

The desire to develop positive attachment relationships between parents and their children has become a community concern here and so we have turned our attention to developing a community response. A working group has been developed comprised of the critical social service, health and educational organizations in the community along with Spiritual and Traditional teachers and other community members. We have come together as a collaborative group with a desire to develop a common understanding, vocabulary and framework for working with the families and children whom we serve,  and on ourselves. 

 We have made a commitment to working together over time to examine this issue. Over the past two years we have organized community-based learning activities, have been running COS-P programs in our early child and family centre, have been implementing community-wide awareness campaigns and are about to begin delivering the 8 week COS-P to all the staff of Step By Step Child and Family Centre, an inclusive early intervention/Head Start/ Daycare serving children from 18 months to 6 years and their families. We hope to extend this approach into the elementary school system in time. We have learned that as community members and individuals working in education, we also are shaped by our own experiences of parenting and being parented and this impacts on how we understand and relate to children in our classrooms. It’s not only parents who want to “get it right”. 

As is evident, the COS framework has had a huge impact on us and is a vehicle through which we can easily weave our traditional and cultural teachings. We look forward to continuing to relate our growing knowledge towards a better understanding how within our various roles we can support the development of secure attachment relationships within Kahnawake.

Wrap Around Circle of Security with Theraplay

By: Michelle MacIsaac, MSW (
      Jayne Vander Zaag, MMFT (
      Kristine Pau, MMFT (
      Clinicians, New Directions Parenting Centre, Winnipeg

New Directions Parenting Centre in Winnipeg is well steeped in Attachment work and many of our staff draw upon Circle of Security and Theraplay in our daily work with parents and families. We have been running Circle of Security Parenting groups with a concurrent child group component for some time. In Fall of 2015 we decided to adapt our model to enhance the practical application of the material. 

Our fall wrap- around COS group was extended from 8 weeks to 11 weeks. In addition to our concurrently run children’s group (already enhanced with small group Theraplay sessions) we allowed for two individual family Theraplay sessions. One family Theraplay session was offered at about the half-way point and the final session was the evening prior to the final celebration night. 

The Theraplay sessions offered parents an opportunity to put their Circle of Security learning into practice with the additional support of a therapist from our team. We rotated three therapists between the parent and child groups. Two therapists lead the parent group and the third worked with two students to deliver the Theraplay enhanced child group. Rotating ourselves through the two groups allowed both parents and children to become familiar with us and comfortable with the family Theraplay sessions. This comfort was an important component to this model’s positive outcome.

The feedback we’ve received from parents who went through our fall group was positive. The Theraplay sessions did create a needed practical component. It also provided us with information at pick up and drop off, and about the family’s strengths, progress and areas of need. The second Theraplay session allowed parents to demonstrate their confidence in new found skills. These new therapeutic sessions also provided a nice bridge into ongoing follow-up work with staff.  Many families struggle on the top of the Circle, and adding in Theraplay helps them feel safe there and gaining a better sense of whether their child is on the top or the bottom.

Our positive experience with the wrap-around model of Circle of Security has lead to us running it again! We are excited about having an opportunity to further fine tune our wrap-around COS group. Our hope is that we are strong hands to support parents in their journey toward becoming “Bigger, Stronger, Kinder and Wise”... the kind of parents they strive to be!

Circle of Security

Lisa Joubert, MSW, RSW, Children’s Centre Thunder Bay –Program Manager

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is a children’s mental health and child development agency providing outpatient and residential services to children and youth in the District of Thunder Bay.

Our Caregiver Programs operate on a tiered approach offering psycho-education, as well as individual and group treatment options.  Caregiver’s are assessed at the intake level. Based on the presenting issues and the profile developed through this process caregivers are offered one or a combination of the above.

Four years ago an evaluation of this program determined that despite having a strong Triple P component, service gaps in relation to attachment programming were present.  

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay holds strong in our values for providing quality and knowledge informed programming to our clients.  As such our search for an established and evidence informed program brought us to Circle of Security.

In the fall of 2013 six staff were trained by Kent Hoffman.  By the end of the training those six were hooked on this programs ability to so effectively deliver the concepts of attachment in a matter which elicited reflective practice and promised to insight long term meaningful change for caregivers.

During the first year of the program 4 groups were run and 34 caregivers were served. We established what we refer to as the Circle of Security Peer Development group as a means of ensuring fidelity to the program and offering clinical consultation to clinicians delivering the model.

Two years later we have now doubled the number of staff trained with the intention of training five more this fall. A subcommittee has been established from our peer development group to act as a promotional team offering presentations to both community professionals and caregivers to spread the word about the effectiveness of Circle of Security.

To date this program has been delivered to 67 clients. Feedback we have received includes comments such as 

“Circle of Security has taught me to consider the idea that perhaps my child is seeking a connection…a hug, a question, a statement rather than seeking attention”.

“This course should be made available to all caregivers.  It was easy to understand exactly what attachment is all about and showed us in an easy way”.

“It’s about connection with your child, no attention”.

“Everything you and I need to know about being a parenting is in 25 words or less”.  

Circle of Security has now been established as one of the core caregiver treatment modalities Children’s Centre Thunder Bay offers.

Online Resources


Circle of Security International have developed some interesting animated ways to convey concepts to parents. Check these out:

 Good Enough – also at  
 Connection – also at
 Being With and Shark Music- also at

Resources for use with First Nations Populations:

For use with families with teens:

Attachment and Teens-

Teens and Attachment Figures-

10 Things Your Teen Wants You To Know E-Brochure-


We are always interested in submissions for our blog, website, and newsletter.  Please send submissions to

Please continue to check out website for events both locally and abroad.

Copyright © 2016 Attachment Network, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp