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Attachment and Adoption


Attachment-Based Therapy is the foundation of Evoke’s clinical model. Psychologist John Bowlby was the first to explore attachment, describing it as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” Attachment is the most important ingredient in the development of resiliency. The greatest predictor of a caregiver’s ability to provide a secure attachment is rooted in their own therapeutic work. Therapy can repair the damage caused by poor or fractured attachment. “Part of the business of psychotherapy is to discover and create alternate experiences for thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. This is undertaken in the service of freeing people to be able to re-experience themselves in a safe but different context. The virtue of talking to an empathic and accepting person who has a different base is that it quickly illuminates one’s own. What was automatic and unconscious is noticed and discussed.” (Jami Gill). Wilderness therapy provides a safe container to explore and begin to heal trauma and attachment issues. In addition to Evoke’s foundation of Attachment-Based Therapy, our therapists use an array of trauma healing techniques including EMDR, Brainspotting, Somatic Experiencing, and Psychodrama. Our wilderness therapists and staff work from a Person-Centered Approach that creates a safe and loving environment to explore, repair, and develop skills consistent with secure attachments for families. While many mental health and substance use disorders may be traced back to attachment issues, Evoke believes that therapy informed by attachment theory is useful across the mental health continuum.



Evoke Wilderness is extremely effective in working with underlying issues connected to adoption. We work with the entire family system to uncover how adoption has impacted the child and the rest of the family. Many adoptive parents believe that loving the child with all your heart is enough to undo whatever problems the child might have. Sadly, love is not enough and many mental health issues predate adoption and have little to do with the adoptive parent. Based in Attachment Theory, we help the clients and the family understand the underlying impacts adoption can have and give language so they can openly express thoughts and feelings. For many, underlying grief and attachment wounds can manifest in behavioral issues. At Evoke, we look below the behavioral manifestations to treat the underlying pain. Wilderness creates a safe environment with skilled therapists and staff to explore that grief and begin the process of better knowledge and understanding, awareness, communication, and healing.


Transracial Adoption

Transracial or transcultural adoption means placing a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group. In the United States these terms usually refer to the placement of children of color or children from another country with Caucasian adoptive parents. Transracial adoption increased by 50 percent over last decade (Institute of Family Studies). The research shows 64 percent multiracial adoptees, 62 percent Hispanic adoptees, and 55 percent black adoptees. Evoke Cascades specializes in working with this population. We use an array of therapeutic modalities including Attachment-Based Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Trans-generational Therapy (Bowen), and Psychodrama. The therapists and staff support clients in openly discussing matters of racism, oppression, and microaggression. We teach attunement to self by creating a secure, accepting, caring, non-judgmental, and reliable environment where the client and parents can feel comfortable sharing their traumatic experiences and exploring the nature of the client’s attachment pattern. We assist the client(s) in becoming aware of and experiencing the emotions that have been previously dismissed or ignored. Wilderness therapy provides exceptional family systems work that helps to create a safe non-shaming space for parents to discuss their own racial experiences and potential biases that effect the interracial relationship.

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