Course Type

Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)

Duration: 18 days

Level I Introductory DMM-AAI Courses

Level II Clinical DMM-AAI Courses

Overview DMM-AAI

The Adult Attachment Interview is a procedure for assessing adults’ strategies for identifying, preventing, and protecting the self from perceived dangers, particularly dangers tied to family relationships. All AAI courses offered by FRI use DMM theory and assessments.

In the sections below, we address the courses, both general criteria and specific course offerings. Following the course offerings, we provide detailed information about the DMM-AAI itself.

DMM-AAI Courses

Level I: Adult Attachment Interview (AAI): Introduction for low-risk and mild clinical conditions. This 18-day introduction teaches basic psychological constructs, discourse analysis, and classificatory procedures. A low-risk reliability test is included for those who qualify.

Level II: the “Advanced Clinical AAI” is an 8-day didactic course that presents constructs found most frequently in AAIs of people with psychiatric diagnoses. A clinical reliability test is included for those who qualify.

Level III: Advanced Clinical Seminars address specific clinical topics (e.g., forensic applications, somatic states, the psychoses, etc.) as well as mixed clinical topics of the participants’ choosing. Reliability tests are not included.

Registering: the courses are listed by trainer, with dates and costs. Most are offered by Zoom, with the times listed by time zones. Each course gives instructions for enrolling. Some courses are offered residentially.


  1. Bachelor’s Degree or its academic equivalent; Master’s and doctoral degrees are recommended.
  2. Attachment, Neurodevelopment and Psychopathology (ANP) or Attachment and Psychopathology (A & P) before completing the AAI course (i.e., ANP/A&P may be taken concurrently).

Refunds: FRI does not provide refunds, but withdrawing persons may transfer their registration to another person if that person meets the course requirements and if the withdrawing person finds the replacement.

Reliability Tests: there is a Reliability Test Low-risk and Mild Clinical populations and a 2nd Clinical Reliability Test for high-risk populations, including child protection, mental health treatment and criminal populations. A pre-reliability test and reliability test are included in the introductory AAI course fee for the year in which the course was taken. Passing the test yields a Certificate for Classifying Low Risk AAIs. Passing the Clinical Reliability Test yields a certificate for clinical, forensic, and research applications

  • The decision to recommend the student for the AAI reliability test is at the discretion of the AAI trainer and will be based on: 1) 65% or higher accuracy on the pre-test; 2) Overall participation in the course; 3) Indications of improvement in accuracy over time; and 4) the trainer’s estimation of the likelihood that the student will pass the test.
  • If the Reliability Test is delayed, additional AAI course work must be taken before the Reliability Test can be taken. There is a fee for a delayed Reliability Test.
  • There is a retest available for an additional fee. It is offered irregularly, as needed.

The DMM-AAI Assessment​

The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) is a clinical and research tool that offers reliable and valid assessment of adult attachment. It provides information on (1) an adult’s self-protective strategy, i.e., the way the speaker uses information to organize their behavior when they feel endangered or believe their children to be endangered, (2) a possible set of unresolved traumatic experiences that distort the person’s behavior without their being aware of it, (3) an over-riding distortion of the strategy such as depression, (4) a pattern of information processing, (5) an interpreted developmental history of the speaker, and, (6) the Level of Parental Reasoning (LPR, Crittenden, Lang, Claussen, & Partridge, 2000), i.e., how the parent thinks about making caregiving decisions for their children. The course offered is based on an expansion of the Bowlby-Ainsworth theory (Crittenden, 1995) and an extension of the Main and Goldwyn procedure (Main & Goldwyn, in press) as applied to the Adult Attachment Interview (George, Kaplan, & Main, 1986, 1996).

The Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) approach to the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI, Crittenden & Landini, 2011) is both a useful research tool and also a potential guide for professionals working with psychopathology. Trainees will learn not only new ways to conceptualize disturbed development, but also ways to identify in adults’ distortions of the mental processing of information, particularly information relevant to disorders of feelings, thought, and behavior. The techniques for interpreting speech can be useful even if the professional does not formally use the interview itself in practice. For those interested in research applications, the 18-day training is usually sufficient to establish reliability on the major classifications and subclassifications.

The Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) method (Crittenden & Landini, 2011) for analyzing Adult Attachment Interviews differs from the Main and Goldwyn method in several ways:

  1. Intent: The intent of the DMM is to describe the self-protective strategies and patterns of mental processing of speakers; the intent of the Main and Goldwyn method is to match infants’ patterns of attachment.
  2. Outcome classifications: The set of outcome classifications is larger in the DMM and better suited to differentiating among individuals with psychological distress than the set of classifications used by the Main and Goldwyn method.
  3. Treatment of non-Ainsworth classifications: The DMM uses 6 compulsive Type A sub-patterns (A3-8) and 6 obsessive Type C sub-patterns (C3-8), plus a full array of combinations of these. In the Main and Goldwyn method, most non-normative individuals fall in three classifications (E3, U/E3, and “Cannot Classify”).
  4. Patterns vs ratings: The DMM depends upon patterns within and among memory systems, whereas the Main and Goldwyn system depends upon ratings of specified constructs.
  5. Functions vs defined meanings: The DMM uses the function of discourse markers to define meaning, whereas the Main and Goldwyn method assigns meanings to discourse markers.
  6. Memory systems: The DMM assesses 5 memory systems (somatic, body talk, procedural, imaged, semantic, connotative language, episodic, and reflective integration) whereas the Main and Goldwyn method considers 3 (semantic, episodic, and working).
  7. Modifiers, Intrusions, & U’s: In the DMM, there are four modifiers (depressed, disorientated, reorganizing, and triangulated), two sorts of intrusion, and eight forms of lack of resolution of trauma or loss; the Main and Goldwyn method has only preoccupied lack of resolution of loss or trauma.
  8. Validity: Validity for the Main and Goldwyn method is primarily based on normative samples and prediction from mothers to infants; the validity of the DMM method is primarily based on clinical samples and differentiation among disorders (Crittenden, Spieker, & Farnfield, 2021).