Data from an ongoing research study have been used to identify a subgroup of families of severely ill, young adults who present formidable treatment challenges to the family therapist. The disconnected family is characterized by disturbances in attachment between one or both parents and the patient. In many cases, disturbances in attachment and caretaking in the family of origin are reported for the parents in these families. Disconnected families that also have intense emotional styles of relating are particularly difficult to treat. A treatment model that focuses on intergenerational attachment issues is described.