New Circle of Security in St Thomas, Exeter

A new Circle of Security Parenting® programme group is about to begin for parents, parents-to-be, and caregivers in the Exeter area.

Relationship and emotions are the keys to opening the challenges of parenting into opportunities. We say parenting is a loving gift to both parent and child, and that there is a ‘map’ to help you navigate, even in difficult times.

In this 8 session Circle of Security Parenting® confidential and safe group we will support and develop the key capacities we need as parents to help our children form secure bonds and thrive.

Where and when:

It’s being hosted by St Thomas Library, Exeter. It will begin Monday 30th April after 630pm and run for 8 weeks with beaks for school and bank holidays.

Contact for details and to book a place.

The gift of responsive parenting

Parent's supporting hand
NB: For ‘parents’ please also read ‘caregiver’, as appropriate.

Our earliest relationships can have a profound and powerful shaping influence over our lives.

As parents we know that our children jolt our world into turning on a whole new axis. From the very moment they appear to us we have that first ‘encounter’ of a relationship with this beautiful and tiny being, which despite their size moves the centre of our universe with all sorts of impacts on our lives.  How quickly that sets in, and exactly what that feels like can be different for each parent, yet the shifting is profound, often tangible and it’s certainly there.

If what is being built by this relationship for us as parents has the power to shift our world on its axis, surely it also has enormous power in shaping our children’s.

From before birth, and throughout childhood, our children are learning from parents about being-in-relationship through their experiences of relationship.  A lot is facilitated in that important parenting relationship,  children are dependant upon parents to meet both physical and psychological needs and the state of the relationship is how a child will intuit how those needs are going to be met.  How parents provide or not for their children’s psychological needs:  to  belong,  to be delighted-in, to receive comfort when it’s needed, helped to understand their difficult feelings; and, to be supported to grow and explore the world (not an exhaustive list) will be a part of the information about what forms the landscape of the parent-child relationship.  Children, particularly in the early years, learn from the day-to-day countless interactions that exist between them and their parents.  So it’s in the accumulation of day-to-day interactions, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs and values around relationships that are expressed, permitted or disallowed that patterns emerge. These patterns shape the child’ understanding of what relationship means, and how they are, or are not able, to move around in it: this can be seen as a map of their attachment behaviour, made, stretched, compressed, sometimes warped, in that gravity between child and parent.

Over the many decades of research into what’s known as the attachment system, a psychological term for the ways in which we all, humans and mammals, form and maintain key relationships.  The evidence has shown that what’s called a secure attachment include a range of relationship capacities to thrive throughout life (empathy, reflectiveness, thoughtfulness, psychological and emotional resilience). Children that gain a secure attachment also grow to, thrive and have more happiness and less anger in their relationships with parents and siblings, are able to turn to their parents for help and solve problems on their own,  get along with friends and form lasting relationships, have higher self-esteem, feel confident that most problems have an answer, are able to trust themselves and others, and know how to be kind to those around them.

Having easy access to the psychological  capacities that we all learn in our early relationships is going to put us and our children in good health. Such psychological capacities are powerful allies against the personal adversities that sadly befall many of us; equipping us to navigate life pressures – at least in good part – with social and emotional intelligence, thoughtfulness and resilience, and with kindness and compassion. Parenting with an aim to help our children on the path to security is a wonderful and lasting loving gift. Such aims can feel at times overwhelming, especially if we feel we didn’t get much or any help towards security ourselves – it’s not easy for sure and I want to say, welcome to the human club.

However,  a difficult past does not determine your future or that of your children. As adults and parents, we have agency and the ability to make positive changes. Sensitive and responsive parenting is a major part of the key to helping our children to secure attachment, what’s also needed is a clear map guiding us to see and understand our children’s real attachment needs, and an understanding of how to meet them.

Parenting interventions like the Circle of Security® can help parents feel equipped to untangle present from the past and illuminate difficult or unclear aspects of their relationships.

By working on ourselves we can help our children to weather the inevitable difficulties and challenges they, our society indeed humanity will face in this century and the next.

Please see Upcoming Groups and  contact us for information on services

A version of this article was originally published in Apr/May Reconnect Magazine (issue 54)

Circle of Security for Parents and Caregivers

Connection — Circle of Security International from Circle of Security International on Vimeo.

For Parents and Caregivers

The Circle of Security is a relationship based programme 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,
  • increased capacity to handle emotions

The programme is intended to support and strengthen secure attachment between parent/caregiver and child. Extra benefits for the parents are experienced from enhanced reflective capacity, which is fundamental in better enabling caregivers to notice their child’s needs and support them in parenting in the moment.

It addresses questions such as:

  • how can I be a safe base and a secure haven for my child?
  • how can I understand and communicate with my child?
  • how can I meet my child’s needs without spoiling him?
  • how can I support my child’s ability to successfully manage his emotions?
  • how do I deal with the difficult aspects of parenting?
  • how do my own early experiences impact on my parenting style?

Additionally, the programme can help to make significant shifts from missing what is hidden in plain sight. Problematic attachment patterns passed from one generation to the next that can compromise healthy relationships throughout a child’s lifespan.

We will work in a small group with the aid of pre-recorded material on a DVD and facilitated group discussion. Support can be offered outside of the group also.

Ok when can I start?

Please contact for booking enquiries, registration and more information.

Further information

We will be adding more details here soon. However, for an introduction to what the programme can offer please see the ( website.


Fees include: Preliminary intake and admin fees, all sessions, handouts, Certificate of Attendance, refreshments & all course materials. Please contact us for more details and to apply.


Do I have to attend every week, can I just choose which I go to?
There is an expectation to commit to the full 8 week programme. Indeed you won’t receive the full benefits of the programme by missing weeks. As such to reinforce the commitment payment needs to be made in advance.

Will I miss out if I miss a session?
There will be times that missing a session is unavoidable. We don’t want you to worry if this happens, so we will do everything we can to support you in catching up.

What will I get at the end of the course?
If you attend the full course we can give you a certificate of attendance, and you will also be able to join an alumni programme for continuing support. Most importantly you will have had experiences throughout the programme that will help support and strengthen your relationship with your child/ children. This will help them in their experiences in the wider world and help you to support them in their lifelong explorations.

Mindfulness, Neural integration and The Circle of Security

Dan Siegel gives a ‘gripping’ demonstration of the anatomy of the brain in this Ted Talk, Mindfulness and Neural Integration, which is both illuminating and profound. He outlines the role of the pre-frontal cortex in making meaning and forming relationships. This very short introduction gives an explanation of how deepening reflection and relationship works to improve resilience and self regulation of emotions.

The Circle of Security Programme reflects this new understanding.

Dan Siegel gives a ‘gripping’ demonstration of the anatomy of the brain in this Ted Talk, which is both illuminating and profound. He outlines the most crucial part of it for our meaningful lives and civilisation: the prefrontal cortex; and how the keys for developing this part of the brain lie in, as Siegel puts it: reflection, relationships and resilience.

The connection between the practice of reflection our need for relationships and our levels of resilience are hard-wired into our neurology. Providing the conditions for these to take place are crucial for development of the Prefrontal cortex, which develops significantly after birth, and can be stimulated throughout life. Caregivers’ that strengthen their reflective capacities improve their own emotional regulation and resilience, and deepen empathy.

This very basic and short introduction gives a hihgly accessible explanation of how developing focus on reflection, deepening self awareness – openness to our internal emotional worlds – and relationship works at the level of the brain.

This understanding of the interaction between the mind and the brain is inherent in the programme for parents and caregivers that we are offering. The Circle of Security Parenting Programme helps parents and caregivers to integrate these positive qualities, and many others, with a simple map for understanding the needs of their children.

We are very pleased that in Exeter from May 2016 we are running two courses, which are available to general public, in this ground breaking programme.

Daniel Siegel says of the Programme:

“The Circle of Security® is circling the globe as an intervention to help parents raise their children with love, warmth, and emotional intelligence. The four researcher/clinicians who invented this important new and effective program are themselves filled with these positive traits and a huge dose of common sense and devotion to the well-being of others. These innovators have created a readily accessible and engaging approach to helping parents, young and old, to connect with their infants and toddlers in ways that break the old, destructive patterns of parenting that so often have been learned by difficult childhood experiences in the past. Cited from England to India, the Circle of Security® offers new hope for making the hard earned wisdom of attachment research available to clinicians helping parents heal old wounds and building new options for the next generation.”

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. Faculty, Center for Culture, Brain, and Development Associate Clinical Professor UCLA School of Medicine

This internationally acclaimed programme is available in Exeter in May and booking are being taken right now here.