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Evidence-Based Strategies

Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P)

From Circle of Security International:

The Circle of Security is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. Decades of university-based research have confirmed that secure children exhibit increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure. The COS intervention is intended to help caregivers increase their awareness of their children’s needs and whether their own responses meet those needs. With increased awareness, parents can choose to respond in ways that promote secure attachment and exploration of the environment.  In this shift from mind-blindness to seeing what is hidden in plain sight lies the potential to break problematic attachment patterns, passed from one generation to the next, that can compromise healthy relationships throughout a child’s lifespan. 

Program Goals

The overall goals of Circle of Security Parenting (COSP) 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


Essential Components:

The essential components of Circle of Security Parenting (COSP) include:

  • Providers cover the material consisting of 8 chapters at one chapter per meeting for 8 sessions. Each chapter can be completed in 90 minutes in a group context, in individual counseling, or in a home visitation setting.
  • Each chapter on the DVD provides the theory and examples of parents interacting with their children and reflecting on the material. There are designated places to stop and engage parents in reflective dialogue regarding what has just been presented. A series of reflective questions are suggested in the manual for each designated pause.


At Nebraska Children, Rooted in Relationship leads the statewide effort in support of COSP. They coordinate the state leadership team and manage support for facilitators in Nebraska. Rooted and other initiatives at Nebraska Children (including Community Well-Being and Sixpence) support the implementation of COSP at the community level.


State partners


For more information


Related strategies

Circle of Security-Home Visiting (COS-HV4)

215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 200
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Monday-Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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