Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Families with children younger than 6 years old in high-risk populations such as child enrolled in Early Head Start, teen moms, or parents with irritable babies

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 5

Brief Description

The COS-P protocol presents Circle of Security content in eight chapters using a manual for the provider, handouts for the parents, and a DVD that explains and shows examples of all concepts presented. The facilitator stops at designated moments and asks reflective questions to participants. The core concepts of the program are:

  • The caregiver serves as a secure base from which the child can explore and as a safe haven to which the child can return for connection in times of stress
  • Some parents feel uncomfortable/threatened by their child’s exploration (moving away), whereas others have these negative feelings instead in response to their child’s attachment wishes (bids for connection)
  • Given that a child thrives when the caregiver is relatively responsive to both attachment and exploratory behavior, it is important that the caregiver develop the reflective capacity to consider what may hinder or help her/his capacity to respond.

Circle of Security – Home Visiting-4 (COS-HV4), a modified version of this program, is rated on the CEBC in Parent Training Programs and two other topic areas.

Program Goals:

The overall goals of Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) are:

  • Increase security of attachment of the child to the parent
  • Increase parent’s ability to read child’s cues
  • Increase empathy in the parent for the child
  • Decrease negative attributions of the parent regarding the child’s motivations
  • Increase parent’s capacity to self-reflect
  • Increase parent’s capacity to pause, reflect, and chose security-promoting caregiving behaviors
  • Increase parent’s capacity to regulate stressful emotional states
  • Increase parent’s ability to recognize ruptures in the relationship and facilitate repairs
  • Increase parent’s capacity to provide comfort when their child is in distress

Contact Information

Bert Powell, MA
Phone: (509) 455-7654 x27
Fax: (509) 455-4112

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2014