Application of Attachment Theory to a case study

In the attachment theory, several assumptions can be derived to give the theory context. The first assumption of the theory is that the bonding behaviors are seen to be adaptive and this enables the individual’s capacity to survive (Simpson, 2012). Another assumption of the attachment theory is that the development of the tendencies to attach oneself is shaped primarily during specific phases in a person’s life, this is usually marked around the first three years of a person’s life (McLeod, 2017). 

From Tiffani’s case, there is one problem that stands out and that is the case of her pimp Donald. Tiffani feels that she should go back to him because she insists on being a better “wife” this time around. She is attached to Donald because he provided her with food and care when her father or no one else was able to do so. Despite Donald treating her like an object and being abused physically time and again she believed that is how a woman ought to be treated because this was not different from how her mother was treated by her father (McLeod, 2017). Tiffani is not willing to let go of Donald because of the attachment she has for him. 

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According to the attachment theory, there is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to the other across space and time. However, despite an individual’s attachment to the other person it at times is not reciprocated by the other person (Contelmo, 2013). The assessment questions that can be asked are does the affected have or feel that there is a bond between her and her parents? Does she feel that her father failed to give her the care and love that she needed while growing up? These would be the fundamental questions to ask because even when Tiffani asks to see her family she asks for her mother and her sister. This indicates that she is attached more to her mother than her father. 

The best way to do an intervention is to reintroduce her to her family and to form a bond and attachment toward them. This would be important in ensuring Tiffani’s growth henceforth and to also try and have a father figure in her life. The latter is not easy because of what she has been exposed to but if her mother believes that she is dating a better person now that would be reassuring for Tiffani (Prior, 2006). This would enable her to learn more about the male persona and the type of men to avoid like John T and Donald. By this, she will also be able to choose her boyfriend’s wisely and make better decisions and this would make her bond to these people much more measured and calculated.

The self-reflective question that I would ask is whether I should be attached to either my parents or both my parents? This is a question that everyone should ask themselves once in a while. However, these attachments come naturally and it is believed that men and their sons get more attached and the reverse. But in some cases, mothers have a better attachment to their sons and fathers their daughters (Prior, 2006). Several factors contribute to these assumptions and even the family set up is one of them.

The outcomes to be measured on Tiffani are mostly if she has been able to bond with her family and this makes her rehabilitation much easier because she can be able to get assurances. If she can complete and also progress with her education it would be safe to say that it is progress and for her to be able to have people around her who care about her and make her feel like a normal person (Simpson, 2012). The aim is to make her assertive and a keen decision maker and this could also mean removing any thoughts of Donald and her past life from her mind.


Prior, V., & Glaser, D. (2006). Understanding attachment and attachment disorders: Theory, evidence, and practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Contelmo, G., Hart, J., & Levine, E. H. (2013). Dream orientation as a function of hyper activating and deactivating attachment strategies. Self and Identity, 12(4), 357-369.

Simpson, J. A., & Rholes, W. S. (2012). Adult attachment orientations, stress, and romantic relationships. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 45, pp. 279-328). Academic Press.McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Attachment theory. Simply Psychology.

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