About Daniel Sonkin


Daniel J Sonkin, Ph.D., MFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in independent practice in Sausalito, CA. He has been involved in treatment of male batterers since 1976 and has authored numerous books and articles on domestic violence. He conducts training nationally and internationally on domestic violence treatment. For the past twenty years he has been incorporating attachment theory and neuroscience into his clinical approach. He is currently conducting online research on the effects of repeated secure base priming on attachment style, mood and felt-security.

Posts by Daniel Sonkin:

ADVIP International Conference

Yesterday I spoke at the ADVIP International Conference, that was co-sponsored by the IVAT San Diego Conference. John Hamel put together an awesome group of presenters that covered topics Including evidence-based treatment, attachment theory, Dynamics of community based programs for victims and perpetrators, and LBGTQ+ clients, just to name a few. The speakers were all dynamic, exciting and presented very interesting research. Plus, it was all done on Zoom with minimal technical glitches. Thank you John for all your hard work on this conference.

Secure Base Priming Research Project


The Secure Base Priming Research Project (www.securebasepriming.org) is an independent research study looking at the effects, over time, of repeated secure base priming on a person’s mood, current sense of felt-security, and attachment style. Secure base priming is either the subliminal or supraliminal presentation of words or images that represent attachment security, or the names of real-life security providing attachment figures. It can also consist of guided imagery that involves the recollection of real or imagined experiences of feeling safe, secure, loved or emotionally helped in a close relationship.

These priming procedures have been shown to increase mood, increase openness to new information/experiences, decrease negative stereotyping, reduce aggression and increase compassion and altruism. Additionally, secure base priming has been shown to reduce psychiatric symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Most research have focused on a single administration of primes followed by an assessment/task. Results consistently demonstrate a temporary effect. We are looking at whether using these exercises on a daily basis will result in a more sustained effect. We are also interested in knowing whether there is a decay in effect once the priming has stopped. We are hypothesizing that these exercises can be used to augment the security-enhancing effects of psychotherapy.

Currently we are soliciting subjects through the Internet (Twitter, LinkedIn) and networking with colleagues. Participation requires that participants spend less than 5 minutes a day to complete the exercises for ten days. Days 1, 9 and 10 may take a bit longer since the participants must also complete three assessment questionnaires.

We are currently exploring the idea of conducting a similar study with perpetrators of domestic violence who are in court-mandated treatment.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to respond here or contact me directly (contact@danielsonkin.com) at any time.

Daniel Sonkin, Ph.D.
Mayté Frias, Ph.D.