Educate. Teach. Heal.

Lark Eshleman, Ph.D. is a child and adolescent psychotherapist who is an expert in working with children who have experienced early emotional trauma, attachment difficulties, neglect and abuse. Her mission is to create a deep, broad understanding of attachment trauma and the different avenues to address it through trainings for professionals and families, speaking engagements, and her various publications.


What Is Attachment?

Attachment is a reciprocal process by which an emotional connection develops between an infant and his/her primary caregiver. It influences the child's physical, neurological, cognitive, and psychological development. It becomes the basis for development of basic trust or mistrust, and shapes how the child will relate to the world, learn, and form relationships throughout life. Healthy attachment occurs when the infant experiences a primary caregiver as consistently providing emotional essentials such as touch, movement, eye contact and smiles, in addition to the basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.

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What causes attachment trauma?

If this process is disrupted, the child may not develop the secure base necessary to support future healthy development. Factors which may impair healthy attachment include: multiple caregivers, invasive or painful medical procedures, sudden or traumatic separation from the mother, hospitalization at critical developmental periods, neglect, sexual or physical abuse, prenatal alcohol or drug exposure, and neurological problems.


household dysfunction

  • Physical

  • Emotional


  • Emotional

  • Physical

  • Sexual 


  • Divorce

  • Imprisonment

  • Substance Abuse

  • Mental Illness

What are signs of attachment trauma?

Children with attachment disturbance often project an image of self-sufficiency and charm while masking inner feelings of insecurity and self hate. Infantile fear, hurt and anger are expressed in disturbing behaviors that serve to keep caregivers at a distance and perpetuate the child's belief that s/he is unlovable. These children have difficulty giving and receiving affection on their parents' terms, are overly demanding and clingy, and may annoy parents with endless chatter. They attempt to control by engaging adults in frequent power struggles and seeking attention in negative ways. Additional behaviors may include: poor eye contact, abnormal eating patterns, poor impulse control, poor conscience development, chronic, "crazy" lying, stealing, destructiveness to self, others, and property, cruelty to animals and preoccupation with fire, blood, and gore.


Education by Design

Offering custom designed seminars, consultations, training and workshops to educate on emotional trauma, attachment, adoption and foster care.



Reclaim your happy family life! Turn negative parenting into positive, fun, productive parenting – learn how, and practice on-site with your child.


Consultation groups on-line or by Skype exploring clinical questions and topics of common interest. Groups will discuss which assessment tools are best and how should they be administered for maximum information.


april 2011

“Based on these first critically important relationships, children learn the template for how to trust people enough to love and be loved. They learn to tell the difference between “safe” and “unknown” people.”

Understand attachment disruptions: Promote healthy attachments / Read Full Article