Circle of Security

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Circle of Security

Specialist Parenting Clinic — Circle of Security

Over the course of my career I have become increasingly convinced of the fundamental importance of relationships in shaping the developing brain. The need for an emotional connection drives almost every aspect of human behaviour. Promoting good communication and strong emotional bonds in important relationships is what underpins much of my work with children and families. Circle of Security Parenting is a relationship-based parenting programme developed by Kent Hoffman, Bert Powell and Glen Cooper from Spokane Washington USA. It is highly acclaimed internationally, based on robust theory but driven by compassion and respect for parents and children. I was first trained in this approach by the originators in 2004 and have been instrumental in introducing it to the UK ever since.

The approach is significantly different to most other parenting programmes. Whilst the goal of many widely available interventions is behaviour management, the Circle of Security aims to strengthen the parent-child relationship by helping parents read and respond to their child’s emotional cues. When the relational bond is strong, better behaviour tends to follow as a natural consequence and the benefits are enduring and wide-ranging.

This short animated film sums it up well:



Parenting Support for Children with Special Educational Needs

Some children, for a variety of reasons may be more challenging to parent. Children with specific learning difficulties, social communication problems or with any kind of unusual developmental profile, may require additional understanding or extra parenting skills. My colleague, clinical psychologist Bettina Hohnen has specialist expertise in the area of education, learning and neurodisability. We work together to help parents of such children. Using our combined clinical experience we are uniquely placed to help such parents.

In general we recommend 8 sessions to complete the course but can adapt this to suit your needs and circumstances.

If you are interested or think these sessions might help, please contact Tracey who can provide more details.

Contact Tracey for more details

Consultation Locations

  • London
  •   55 Queen Anne Street, London W1
  •  Tracey McMullan on 020 8390 5641

London Map / Send a Message


  • Windsor
  • Cardinal Clinic, Oakley Green,
    Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5UL
  • Lynne Barber on 01753 869755

Windsor Map / Send a Message

About Me

I am a consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, a medical doctor who specialises in the mental health of children and adolescents.

After a career in the NHS spanning 20 years I now divide my time between my private practice and voluntary sector work.


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Dr Clare Gates MRCPsych

Dr Clare Gates - child and adolescent psychologist


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