FAQs

Find a training

Q: Where can I find out information about your upcoming trainings and workshops?
A: Please go to our section titled Trainings. All event information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Q: I am a parent looking to enroll in an 8 week or 20 week course. Do I register for that through your website?
A: No. The trainings we provide are for the practitioners to learn how to use the COS protocol. For COS-P classes from Registered Circle of Security Parenting Facilitators, use our Directory.

Q: I really want to attend a training, but you haven’t been to my area. How do I get COSI to come to my community?
A: We rely on local sponsors to help us bring a COSI training to any community. If you or your organization are interested in becoming a sponsor of a training, please contact Bill Bloom at bill@circleofsecurityinternational.com for more information.

Q: I can’t attend any of the trainings that you have posted, how do I register my interest in future trainings?
A: The easiest way to stay up to date on future trainings is to frequently check the Trainings page of our web site. You can also stay connected through our Facebook page, where we regularly post newly-added trainings.  We also send email announcements quarterly about upcoming trainings. To be added to our email list click here.

Registration

Q: Is there still room in a training?
A: Please click on the registration link for that training. If the training is full you will be prompted to add your name to the waitlist.

Q: I have been approved by my employer/school to attend a training, how do I register but have them pay for my tuition? OR How do I get an Invoice (or Tax Invoice) to submit to my employer to have them pay for the training?
A: Go to the registration page for the training you would like to attend. Complete the registration form and select your payment method. When you get to the confirmation page, there is a link to “documents” and you can print your invoice from there to submit. Payment must be received within 30 days or 14 days prior to the start of the training, whichever comes first, or your registration may be canceled. *Please note you must finish the registration process by clicking the “finish” button at the bottom of the page. If you don’t click the “finish” button your registration is incomplete and you will not have a space in the training.

Q: I need an invoice with the GST listed.
A: We are a US-based company, and do not charge GST. Please note that all payments are in US Dollars only.

Q: What type of payments do you accept?
A: We can accept credit card, direct bank transfer, or check. We can NOT accept Western Union or Paypal. Payments sent via those methods will be refused. For our direct bank transfer details, please email becca@circleofsecurityinternational.com. Please remember that all payments are in US Dollars only. All fees to send money are at registrant’s expense.

Parenting DVD

Q: What is the Individual Licensing Contract?
A: The Individual Licensing Contract is generally for people who are paying their own tuition for the 4-day Parenting DVD training. At the end of the training you will be required to sign the Individual Contract agreeing to the limited license to use the facilitator materials. This is a one to one limited license that is a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sub licensable right to the use of the DVD and manual. View the Individual Licensing Contract.

Q: What is the Agency Licensing Contract?
A: If you are an individual whose agency is paying for you to attend the training, your agency will have the option to sign an Agency Licensing Contract. The individual and the agency will both be required to sign the contract which allows the agency to hold the facilitator materials in the event that the individual leaves the agency. The agency will then have the option to send another employee to a future training at a reduced fee who will use the facilitator materials held from the exiting individual. At no time can the held materials be used by any persons who have not been trained to use the materials by our Circle of Security International trainers. The individual leaving the agency will have the option to purchase an individual copy of the facilitator materials and will then sign an Individual Licensing Contract. View the Agency Licensing Contract.

If any changes are needed to this contract due to an agency’s legal requirements, all requests need to be submitted in writing 4 weeks in advance of the start of the training to gretchen@circleofsecurity.org. After that time frame, no changes will be considered.

Q: Where can I purchase the COS-P video?
A: The Parenting DVD can only be obtained after completing the Parenting DVD training. You can find out more information about the training on the Trainings page. If you are in need of a replacement DVD or manual, please contact info@circleofsecurityinternational.com for purchasing information.

General

Q: Is this an Evidence Based protocol?
A: See our Research Information page.

Q: Where can I request COS Assessment Exam information?
A: Please visit our section, COS Certificates for registration forms and information.

Q: What training is necessary to be able to utilize COS professionally?
A: Please visit the section titled: COS Certificates, for more information.

Q: Do I have permission to use the COS handouts and papers?
A: Because psychologists, educators, childcare professionals, counselors, and others have found these graphics to be useful for parents and professionals in explaining the core themes of attachment behavior in young children, we want to make them readily available through this website. Please see the Resources section and read the detailed description of our conditions for using these materials.

Q: Do I have permission to use COS graphic imagery?
A: For specific requests related to publishing Circle of Security materials, approval is given only to non-profit organizations and academic/professional publications upon review by Circle of Security International. Please email info@circleofsecurityinternational.com to receive a permission request form. Requests take approximately 4 weeks to review.

Q: Is the Circle of Security® a theory or a protocol or both?
A: The COS is a user-friendly, visually based approach (utilizing extensive use of both graphics and video clips) to helping parents better understand the needs of their children. It is based extensively upon attachment theory (from the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth) and current affective neuroscience.

It is also a basic protocol that can be used in a variety of settings, from group sessions (20 weeks) to family therapy to home visitation. The common denominator is that all of the learning is informed around the following themes:

Teaching the basics of attachment theory via the Circle of Security
Increasing parent skills in observing parent/child interactions
Increasing capacity of the caregiver to recognize and sensitively respond to children’s needs
Supporting a process of reflective dialogue between clinician and parent to explore both strengths and areas of parent difficulties (i.e., being “Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, and Kind,” supporting exploration, and supporting attachment)
Introducing parent to a user-friendly way to explore defensive process

Q: As I read this material I find myself having many questions and reactions about either my own childhood and/or my own caregiving approach and/or issues concerning certain clients. May I contact you directly to receive advice or perspective on these issues?
A: Although we would very much like to be of assistance, we simply do not have the time available for consultation at such a level. Attachment related material raises many concerns and opens many insights as it is being learned. Please consider contacting a professional in your local area.

Q: Are Kent, Glen, or Bert taking new patients in their private practices?
A: No, unfortunately they are not taking new patients.

Q: I have attended (or will attend) a training with The Mary D. Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic. Now what?
A: We do not have any affiliation with the Mary D. Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic or their Circle of Security® trainings. Dr. Robert Marvin has co-ownership of the Circle of Security trademark for the graphic, and is part of our research history. The trainings offered by his group are different in structure and content from the Circle of Security ® protocol given by Cooper, Hoffman, and Powell. Neither training translates to the other.

Q: In what way are “Holding and/or Rage Reduction Therapies” different from the COS intervention?
A: This is a very important issue and we are committed to answering it directly. While there are a number of early intervention projects being developed and tested that focus on the security of attachment-caregiving relationships in high-risk parents and their infants, there are very few evidence-based programs that are focused on older toddlers and preschool children. Unfortunately, those programs for preschoolers and older children that do exist tend to take one or a few ideas from attachment theory and research, incorporate them in an oversimplified manner into another, usually incompatible, theoretical framework, and apply the resulting programs without adequately testing their effectiveness.

Specifically, these programs, some of which are known as Rebirthing, Rage Reduction, Attachment, or Holding Therapy, and as a group are often referred to as “the holding therapies,” have been published privately, in edited books, and on the Internet. The designers of these programs draw from Bowlby’s theory a focus on the importance during infancy of close bodily contact, security, and trust in the child’s attachment figure. However, these “holding therapies” tend to have taken those constructs and integrated them into intervention models based either: a) on a distorted version of the classical psychoanalytic theory of regression (Rebirthing and Rage Reduction therapies); and/or on behaviorism and principles of behavior modification designed to reduce or eliminate undesirable behaviors (Attachment and Holding therapies). Clearly, these are not really attachment theory-based interventions, and they are not appropriately evidence-based.

Characteristics of the holding therapies have led to the proliferation of interventions that, while they are administered by therapists with the best of intentions, are at worst abusive and potentially life-threatening and at best are neither based on attachment theory, nor empirically tested regarding treatment effectiveness. Unfortunately, many of these programs claim to be based on the Bowlby-Ainsworth theory of attachment, and there are literally thousands of therapists in communities around the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia who use them in their daily practice. In defense of these therapists, it should also be noted that until very recently there have been few if any evidence-based interventions for preschool and older children, truly developed from attachment research, available to them.

Interventions that are evidence-based and derived from attachment theory will have many differences from the holding therapies. Three that are especially pertinent to evidence-based practice are:

Holding therapies tend to use a diagnostic system that is non-standardized, non-validated, and not able to differentiate among the many psychological disorders found in childhood. In contrast, attachment research-based interventions should utilize a “diagnostic” system that is based specifically on thought and behavior patterns identified through attachment theory and research, and on research in other areas of parent-child interaction and relationships. This system should be scientifically and clinically reliable and validated. It should be sufficiently limited in scope both to identify specific attachment problems, and at the same time to differentiate these problems from other childhood and relationship difficulties as well as from formal diagnostic groups such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, and other disorders so often inappropriately associated in clinical practice with “Attachment Disorders.”

Holding therapies tend to direct the intervention to the child him or herself. In contrast, all attachment research-based interventions with which we are familiar, including the Circle of Security™, are designed to impact the child’s attachment pattern indirectly by directly focusing on caregiver patterns of behavior and thinking. This practice follows directly from Ainsworth’s focus on caregiver sensitivity to the child’s cues as perhaps the major variable in predicting security of attachment.

Holding therapies tend to view the behavior- and emotion-regulation problems of children with attachment difficulties as unacceptable behaviors, and often make inferences about negative intent on the part of the child. Most holding therapies attempt to eliminate or extinguish these intentions and behaviors through consistent, strong, and often negative, consequences that are based either on aversive behaviors toward the child, or on temporary separation, or interruption of the interaction, between the child and caregiver. In contrast, interventions based on attachment theory are likely to view the behavior- and emotion-regulation problems associated with attachment difficulties as patterns of thinking and behavior that are both an understandable adaptation to the child’s unique developmental and relationship history, and are reflections of the child’s inability, at the moment, adequately to self-regulate his or her affect and behavior. Even if the child is acting in an aggressive, controlling manner, attachment-based interventions will, in most but not all situations, view the child as anxious, vulnerable, “in over his head,” out of control, and needing the parent’s empathy, soothing, and management.