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The Co-originators

Meet the Founders of the Circle of Security


ent Hoffman, Glen Cooper, and Bert Powell devoted their Spokane, WA, clinical practice of more than 30 years to translating complex clinical insights and developmental research into straightforward and accessible protocols for use with families and adult clients. During the last two decades they have collaborated in applying object relations, attachment theory and family systems theory into the creation of the Circle of Security. Each has received the Washington Governor’s Award for Innovation in Prevention and the Bowlby–Ainsworth Award for developing and implementing the Circle of Security presented by the New York Attachment Consortium.

portrait of Glen Cooper

Glen Cooper

has been passionately involved in social services for almost forty years. His life experiences, which range from working and living in a homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles to ten years as a treatment foster parent, speak to his enthusiasm and commitment.

Early in his career, Glen worked part time for many years so that he could participate in the day-to-day experience of parenting his foster children and later his own children. He considers this time of being home with children one of the joys of his life and a vital foundation for his clinical work. Glen has extensive training in family therapy, object relations, and attachment theory. Prior to his 27 years in private practice, Glen worked as a teacher and director of a preschool for low-income children, a therapist for sexually abused children and their families, and a consultant with Spokane Head Start - a role he had for over 25 years. National and international audiences rate Glen highly for his warmth, kindness, humor, and ability to present complex material in a manner that is engaging and accessible.

portrait of Kent Hoffman

Kent Hoffman

received his doctorate in 1975 from the Claremont Graduate School of Theology focusing on the interface between psychological crisis and struggles within relationship. This has remained the central interest of his professional career.

After graduation he worked with psychiatric patients in prison, individuals with terminal cancer, survivors of sexual abuse, and the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. From 1985 to 2017, he worked as a psychotherapist at Marycliff Institute in Spokane. While receiving post-doctoral certification in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with the Masterson Institute of New York City, Kent began focusing on the creation of a methodology designed to support the healthy emotional development of infants and young children.

Kent’s focus for many years was the application of the Circle of Security model to street dependent (homeless) teenage mothers, fathers, and their infants. Since 2012, he has been designing approaches to support security for high-risk youth within school settings. As a practitioner of mindfulness meditation and contemplative practices over the past 45 years, Kent is continually seeking an integration of psychological need and spiritual practice.

Kent recently gave a TEDx talk on his favorite topic, Infinite Worth. Kent and his colleagues received the Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention Award in Washington State for their work in the Circle of Security® Project. Kent was also given the Child Advocate of the Year Award by Spokane Head Start and the Washington Children’s Alliance and the Excellence in Advocacy Award by the Washington Counseling Association. Kent and his wife Kim live in the hills outside of Spokane. Their son, Kai, lives and farms in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington.

Bert Powell

Bert Powell

has committed his career as a clinician and teacher to learning how people struggle and succeed at negotiating emotional security in their lives. He began his clinical work as an outpatient family therapist in a community mental health center in 1974 providing treatment for high-risk families. As a family therapist he learned the key to intervention was not just change in behavior but change in the quality of intimate relationships.

Seeing behavioral problems as relationship struggles has been an organizing principle for Bert as he pursued extensive training and supervision throughout his career. He was trained in family therapy through the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic and earned certification in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Masterson Institute of New York. Bert’s exploration of the clinical applications of attachment theory led him to long-term consultation to Spokane’s Public School’s Behavioral Intervention Program and to the Martin Luther King Center where he trained and supported staff to meet the needs of at-risk youth and families.

Bert is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Counseling Psychology at Gonzaga University and an International Advisor to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Attachment and Human Development. In Washington State Bert and his colleagues have been recognized for their work in the Circle of Security with the Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention Award, the Community Service Award by the SPO-CAN Counsel for the Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Department of Health and Human Services Regional Award of Honor for contribution to Head Start children and families.