The most recommended books on attachment theory

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to attachment theory, and here are their favorite attachment theory books.
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What type of attachment theory book?


Book cover of Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

Koa Lou Whittingham Author Of Becoming Mum

From my list on for new and expectant mothers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a clinical and developmental psychologist, a parenting researcher at the University of Queensland, and a mother. My research is focused on applying and commitment therapy (ACT) to parenting including the parenting of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I wrote Becoming Mum while becoming a mother for the first time. In fact, much of the book was written while I cuddled my new baby, my laptop propped up on my knees so I could write! I am also the first author of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy the Clinician’s Guide to Supporting Parents. It is the first clinical manual on using ACT with parents.

Koa's book list on for new and expectant mothers

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did Koa love this book?

Becoming Attached chronicles the conception and rise of one of the most important psychological theories: attachment theory. In doing so, it also tells the story of the mother-child bond and how our earliest relationships shape who we are and how we love. This book will delight and fascinate you. It will also leave you with clear, evidence-based knowledge of how to build and maintain a strong and loving relationship with your baby.

By Robert Karen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Attached as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The struggle to understand the infant-parent bond ranks as one of the great quests of modern psychology, one that touches us deeply because it holds so many clues to how we become who we are. How are our personalities formed? How do our early struggles with our parents reappear in the way we relate to others as adults? Why do we repeat with our own children--seemingly against our will--the very behaviors we most disliked about our parents? In Becoming Attached, psychologist and noted journalist Robert Karen offers fresh insight into some of the most fundamental and fascinating questions of emotional…

Book cover of Loving Someone in Recovery: The Answers You Need When Your Partner Is Recovering from Addiction

Christopher Dale Author Of Better Halves: Rebuilding a Post-Addiction Marriage

From my list on couples recovering from addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a husband, father, writer, and recovering addict – and not necessarily in that order. Early in my marriage, I became a full-blown, low-bottom cocaine addict. While it wasn’t surprising that active addiction nearly led to divorce, my wife and I were baffled and discouraged when my newfound sobriety brought its own existential marital issues. Frustratingly, there was a dearth of resources for couples in recovery, especially compared to the ample support available to recovering addicts. As an avid freelance writer, I decided to add to this sparse genre by sharing our struggles, setbacks, and successes en route to a happy, secure marriage. 

Christopher's book list on couples recovering from addiction

Christopher Dale Why did Christopher love this book?

Therapist Beverly Berg offers tools for the partners of recovering addicts, who often struggle with reestablishing trust, closeness, and compatibility.

Employing strategies of mindfulness, attachment theory, and neurobiology, Berg helps readers rebuild emotional stability with partners, improve communication, lay boundaries, and take tangible steps toward reigniting intimacy. 

Much of the book's material is drawn from Berg's successful Conscious Couples Recovery Workshop, which is as close to a roadmap as I feel exists for partners trying to move forward post-addiction. Berg has over three decades in her field, and the exercises she adapts to this narrative effectively address common issues faced by couples in recovery.

Whereas my book lays out the gory personal details and gut punches, Berg brings a well-explained, semi-prescriptive approach to an oft-ignored topic.

By Beverly Berg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loving Someone in Recovery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recovering addicts are faced with many challenges, and these challenges can often extend to their romantic partners. During the recovery period, couples often struggle with overcoming feelings of betrayal and frustration, and may have a hard time rebuilding trust and closeness. While there are many resources available to recovering addicts, there are limited resources for the people who love them.

In Loving Someone in Recovery, therapist Beverly Berg offers powerful tools for the partners of recovering addicts. Based in mindfulness, attachment theory, and neurobiology, this book will help readers sustain emotional stability in their relationships, increase effective communication, establish boundaries,…

Book cover of Animal Husbandry

Mary Carlomagno Author Of Best Friend for Hire

From my list on girl power books that leaped from page to screen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a publishing executive turned self-help expert who frequents national morning shows to talk about clutter. Full disclosure, I'm a recovering shopaholic with an obsessive need to tidy up people’s homes and offices. My philosophy is simple, I bring order to everything I do, because life shouldn’t be a mess. I've written non-fiction books based on my organizing expertise that has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, and NPR. I learned that it's never really about the stuff but the journey of self-discovery, a journey that is made easier with a best friend at your side. This journey of the flawed and strong heroine in my latest book, a novel called Best Friend for Hire.

Mary's book list on girl power books that leaped from page to screen

Mary Carlomagno Why did Mary love this book?

I would argue that this novel set up the formula for fresh funny self-deprecating women characters that become heroines of their own stories. Later made into a movie with Ashley Judd and titled Someone Like You, the heroine compares modern-day dating to the rituals of mating in the animal kingdom to hilarious results.  

By Laura Zigman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animal Husbandry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New cow...

Ray makes the move. Jane feels the rush. Ray says the L-word. Jane breaks her lease. Then suddenly, inexplicably, he dumps her. Just. Like. That.

...old cow.

Now black is the only color in Jane's closet and Kleenex is clinging to her nose. Why did it happen? How could it have happened?


Jane is going to get an answer. Not from Ray. Not from her best friends, David and Joan. But from an astounding new discovery of her own: The Old-Cow-New-Cow theory.

Forced to move into the apartment of a womanizing alpha male named Eddie, Jane is…

Book cover of Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—And Keep—Love

Jacqueline Kademian Author Of Soul Therapy: A 365 day journal for self exploration, healing and reflection

From my list on start on a path of self-discovery and build a new you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Jacqueline Kademian, a licensed marriage & family therapist and author. With over 10 years of experience providing therapy, I am passionate about helping others. I am also passionate about making therapeutic concepts accessible and ready to utilize at home. I have taken my own teachings and created self-discovery journals for others to enjoy. Journaling is such an amazing skill and way to get to know yourself.

Jacqueline's book list on start on a path of self-discovery and build a new you

Jacqueline Kademian Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This is an excellent book about relationships and attachment theory, which describes our attachment styles in relationships. I loved reading this book because it taught me about my own attachment style and how I am in relationships.

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about themselves in relationships. I enjoyed the concepts in the book and how relatable it was. I recommend this to every human being who would like a relationship. It is a great way to learn about yourself.

By Amir Levine, Rachel Heller,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Attached as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Over a decade after its publication, one book on dating has people firmly in its grip.”
—The New York Times

We already rely on science to tell us what to eat, when to exercise, and how long to sleep. Why not use science to help us improve our relationships? In this revolutionary book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller scientifically explain why why some people seem to navigate relationships effortlessly, while others struggle.

Discover how an understanding of adult attachment—the most advanced relationship science in existence today—can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John…

Book cover of Diary of a Baby: What Your Child Sees, Feels, and Experiences

Erica Komisar Author Of Chicken Little the Sky Isn't Falling: Raising Resilient Adolescents in the New Age of Anxiety

From my list on raising an emotionally resilient child.

Why am I passionate about this?

Erica Komisar is a licensed clinical social worker, psychoanalyst, and parent guidance expert who has been in private practice in New York City for over 30 years. A graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Universities and The New York Freudian Society, Ms. Komisar is a psychological consultant bringing parenting and work/life workshops to clinics, schools, corporations, and childcare settings. She is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Daily News. She is a Contributing Editor to The Institute For Family Studies and appears regularly on Fox and Friends and Fox 5 News

Erica's book list on raising an emotionally resilient child

Erica Komisar Why did Erica love this book?

I love this book because it takes the observations and research of Daniel Stern’s The Interpersonal World of the Infant and puts it into readable and understandable language. This book helps parents to empathize with their young children, to understand how they are feeling and what they are thinking and to make attachment theory more real.

By Daniel N. Stern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diary of a Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every new parent desperately wants to know what goes on in the mind of a baby. Now a noted authority on infant development and psychiatry brings us closer than ever before to penetrating a your child's consciousness. In alternating sections of evocative prose, representing the baby's own voice, and explanatory text, Daniel Stern draws on the latest research findings to recreate the baby's world."

Book cover of Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair

Deirdre Fay Author Of Becoming Safely Embodied: A Guide to Organize Your Mind, Body and Heart to Feel Secure in the World

From my list on to heal trauma with yoga and meditation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am someone whose trauma history came out of the blue…while living in a yoga ashram, meditating, and training for triathlons. After almost seven years of ashram life I left, went to graduate school, and explored trauma, attachment, and wisdom traditions in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, my private practice, and beyond.  I amassed skills sets in trauma treatment (as a supervisor under the guidance of Bessel van der Kolk and Janina Fisher), attachment theory (with Daniel Brown, PhD), compassion (Compassion Focused Therapy & Mindful Self-Compassion), body therapy (as a trainer for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, practitioner in LifeForce Yoga and Self-Awakening Yoga), and Internal Family Systems.

Deirdre's book list on to heal trauma with yoga and meditation

Deirdre Fay Why did Deirdre love this book?

I was incredibly lucky to spend almost thirteen years learning attachment theory with Dan Brown in a small group setting, meeting with clinicians I highly respected. Dan’s incredible capacity to integrate the theory and literature of developmental psychology, attachment theory, and the wisdom traditions made it clear that the reason trauma doesn’t heal is because of the underlying attachment issues. David Elliott headed the team of co-authors which I am honored to be part of, making the book immensely readable. In 2018 it won the prestigious International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Pierre Janet Writing Award.

By Daniel P. Brown, David S. Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Attachment Disturbances in Adults as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Attachment Disturbances in Adults offers an innovative therapeutic model and set of methods for treating adult patients with dismissing, anxious-preoccupied or disorganised attachment. With rich detail, it integrates historical and leading-edge attachment research into practical, effective treatment protocols for each type of insecure attachment. Case transcripts and many sample therapist phrasings illustrate how to apply the methods in practise.

Book cover of Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection

Meredith Small Author Of Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent

From my list on the anthropology of parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist with a background in evolutionary biology, primate behavior, and cross-cultural approaches to parenting. I taught “The Anthropology of Parenting” for 20 years at Cornell University. The book grew from interviews with anthropologists, pediatricians, and child development experts taking a different stance about parents and babies—that we should look at how babies are designed by evolution and how cultures then interfere with those expectations. My book shows there is no perfect way to raise a child but there are styles in other cultures we can borrow to make our babies, and ourselves, more at ease.

Meredith's book list on the anthropology of parenting

Meredith Small Why did Meredith love this book?

If you want to know the real story about “attachment theory” this is the book. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Blum, it’s the tale of psychologist Harry Harlow and his experiments with rhesus monkeys and how that changed parenting in America. Fabulous read.

By Deborah Blum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love at Goon Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the early twentieth century, affection between parents and their children was discouraged,psychologists thought it would create needy kids, and doctors thought it would spread infectious disease. It took a revolution in psychology to overturn these beliefs and prove that touch ensures emotional and intellectual health. In Love at Goon Park, Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum charts this profound cultural shift by tracing the story of Harry Harlow,the man who studied neglect and its life-altering consequences on primates in his lab. The biography of both a man and an idea, Love at Goon Park ultimately invites us to examine ourselves…

Book cover of Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

Dedeker Winston Author Of The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know about Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love

From my list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been practicing some flavor of non-monogamy for over a decade now—and how much has changed in the past few years! In my coaching practice, I’ve seen an increase in clients who are trying to evaluate what kind of relationship is best for them. Many people know that the traditional dating game and lifelong monogamy are not for them, but they also feel concerned, intimidated, or confused by exploring non-monogamy. These books have helped many of my clients get perspective on how non-monogamous relationships work in real life. 

Dedeker's book list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you

Dedeker Winston Why did Dedeker love this book?

This one should be required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in non-traditional relationships. Therapist Jessica Fern clearly and thoroughly explains attachment theory—the idea that the way in which we form attachments to our parents in early life fundamentally influences our adult relationships. Whatever your relationship practice, even this part of the book alone can help clarify so much about what makes you feel secure or insecure in your romantic relationships. Fern goes on to explain how these foundation principles of attachment intersect with non-monogamy, jealousy, and trauma, as well as offering her unique HEARTS model for building secure attachment. I absolutely loved the practical and actionable HEARTS model—it’s worth the price of the book alone! 

By Jessica Fern,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Polysecure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A practical guide to nurturing healthy, loving non-monogamous relationships using attachment theory.

Attachment theory has entered the mainstream, but most discussions focus on how we can cultivate secure monogamous relationships. What if, like many people, you're striving for secure, happy attachments with more than one partner?

Polyamorous psychotherapist Jessica Fern breaks new ground by extending attachment theory into the realm of consensual non-monogamy. Using her nested model of attachment and trauma, she expands our understanding of how emotional experiences can influence our relationships. Then, she sets out six specific strategies to help you move toward secure attachments in your multiple…

Book cover of Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

Stephanie Dueger Author Of Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families

From my list on to feel more prepared for parenthood.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trained therapist, educator, and coach for expectant and new parents, I understand on a deep level the importance of creating a strong foundation in building a family. I also was personally humbled at how difficult the transition to parenthood was for me and the challenges it presented in my relationship with my husband. While we’ve grown exponentially, I wanted to make it a little easier for other expectant parents to avoid some of the pitfalls that aren’t spoken about as much in becoming parents. I also wanted to help the new little beings arriving in the world to have more resourced, present parents. It’s a win-win.

Stephanie's book list on to feel more prepared for parenthood

Stephanie Dueger Why did Stephanie love this book?

Siegel is a child psychiatrist who deeply understands the importance of attachment theory and neurobiology. This book, written with child development specialist and parent educator Hartzell, invites parents to deeply examine their own childhood experiences and how they have shaped us. It provides clear exercises for making sense of our past in an effort to provide the best, emotionally, for our children. As a therapist, I believe there is no greater gift to ourselves and our children than working towards our own healing, which helps prevent the transmission of “generational trauma” to our children. This book also focuses on the importance of “repair” after there have been ruptures in the relationship with our children. This in itself is invaluable.

By Daniel J. Siegel, Mary Hartzell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Parenting from the Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated edition—with a new preface—of the bestselling parenting classic by the author of "BRAINSTORM: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain"

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and…

Book cover of Attachment: The Fundamental Questions

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

How parenting—and other factorsshape infant-parent attachment security/insecurity and the effects of attachment on child, adolescent, and adult development has been the subject of extensive study for more than 4 decades.

This edited volume takes stock of what developmental scholars have learned as well as what challenges to attachment theory and research remain to be addressed. The contributors to this edited volume are all well-recognized experts in the field.

By Ross A. Thompson (editor), Jeffry A. Simpson (editor), Lisa J. Berlin (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Attachment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ongoing growth of attachment research has given rise to new perspectives on classic theoretical questions as well as fruitful new debates. This unique book identifies nine central questions facing the field and invites leading authorities to address them in 46 succinct chapters. Multiple perspectives are presented on what constitutes an attachment relationship, the best ways to measure attachment security, how internal working models operate, the importance of early attachment relationships for later behavior, challenges in cross-cultural research, how attachment-based interventions work, and more. The concluding chapter by the editors delineates points of convergence and divergence among the contributions and…