Attachment Centered Family Therapy: Interventions for Improving Parent-Child Connection and Attunement

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Dafna Lender
3 Hours 1 Minutes
Audio and Video
Jun 16, 2020


When attachment trauma permeates a family, children are left feeling hurt, angry, and disconnected from their caregivers - and caregivers, in turn, become discouraged when their child-rearing approaches aren’t working to address problematic behavior.
Unless and until the core issues are addressed, this cycle will continue!
Watch Dafna Lender, LCSW, internationally recognized attachment-based trauma expert, for this 3-hour recording overflowing with compelling insight and concrete strategies you can use right away to help traumatized families connect and repair. 
Through the lens of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay®, you’ll discover how to:
  • Uncover the core issues that underlie problematic behavior or relationships
  • Gently intervene when a parent is misattuned or critical
  • Engage caregivers in the crucial reparative work that leads to improved connection, regulation, and joy
  • And more!
Don’t miss this opportunity to renew your sense of confidence and skill in your work with kids and families!



Attachment-Based Treatment:  Principles and Goals

  • Attachment Theory - and what it means for trauma-informed treatment
  • Elements of the social engagement system
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Theraplay: Structure, Engagement, Nurture & Challenge

Getting Started:  Assessment and Engagement

  • Discern underlying motives/feelings underneath a child’s behaviors
  • Facilitating a safe, active dialogue between parent and child
  • How to engage caregivers who are traumatized, too reduce defensiveness and increase empathy

Clinical Interventions to Create Connection, Regulation, and Attunement

  • PACE - Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy
  • In-SENC based on individual child’s needs (Structure, Engagement, Nurture, Challenge)
  • How to gently redirect mis-attuned or critical caregivers
  • Facilitating face-to-face interactions between parent and child
  • Increase warm facial expressions, synchronized movement and rhythm
  • Calm a dysregulated child and engage a withdrawn child
  • Activities to increase warm facial expressions and synchronized, rhythmic movement      


Attachment Centered Family Therapy: Interventions for Improving Parent-Child Connection and Attunement

Dafna Lender, LCSW Related seminars and products: 5

Dafna Lender, LCSW serves as the program director at The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, IL and is certified as a practitioner, supervisor and trainer in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Dafna trains psychotherapists internationally in these methods and trains in three languages. She is also a supervisor and author in the field of treating attachment and trauma issues in children.

Dafna has spent her career focusing children’s development of a secure attachment with their caregivers while resolving issues in their traumatic history. Early in her career, Dafna worked in treatment foster care and witnessed child after child “fail” out of foster placements due to difficult behavior. Children were disruptive, unsettled and unhappy, and their caregivers felt defeated. Dafna’s sense of discouragement went away after taking the Theraplay training and learning direct, concrete ideas and interactions that she could apply in home with her treatment families to promote healthier, more hopeful relationships. Dafna has successfully treated children with a variety of backgrounds, including children raised in orphanages, with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, exposed to domestic violence and community violence and children of parents with chronic mental illness. Dafna has worked in the field of child welfare and child mental health for 20+ years.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dafna Lender has an employment relationship with The Theraplay Institute. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Dafna Lender has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.