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Attachment across the lifespan. Practice focused interventions and approaches for specific developmental periods

Event Details
Date: 21st Nov 2019
Venue: Brisbane, Qld
CPD hrs: 7

Student and new graduate rates available

Organiser: The Professional Development People
Further information

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Attachment consists of diverse lifespan phenomena. Studies have now expanded including all age cohorts: younger and older children, adolescents, adults and older adults. Both understanding and responding to attachment needs of each group requires knowledge of important differences and similarities, continuities and discontinuities. This seminar provides a unique overview of practical interventions applicable across the full attachment lifespan. For each age group, one evidence-based approach will be engaged whereby specific skills and activities are explored with a focus on applicability for practice. Although fewer practitioners work with every lifespan age group, awareness of the full spectrum remains valuable for understanding clients, their families and their relations. After an initial introduction to Attachment Theory, the seminar focuses on six specific age groups.

  1. The initial glance takes in earliest pre-language attachments where implicit patterns of interaction dominate. Some of the greatest clinical progress in the attachment world has occurred in supporting first attachments with key caregivers.
  2. The emergence of goal-corrected partnerships between ages 2 and 5 has historically received less attention than earlier attachments. Indeed, we have only recently been able to fully measure. But social work home visit interventions are producing valuable evidence for shifting less optimal attachments.
  3. Middle childhood attachment includes greater integration within the family system and new attachments with key mentors such as teachers and sports coaches. The practical value of promising combinations of attachment and system interventions will be considered, especially as regards school performance.
  4. Adolescence sees the emergence of an individual’s first peer or symmetrical attachments as adulthood beckons. This period remains the most challenging as our grasp of these immense changes remain only partially understood. Again, a look at the more efficacious interventions for the world of the adolescent will be explored: both parent-child and peer.
  5. Adulthood sees the emergence of new longterm relationships, both romantic and close friendships. The application of attachment to couples work as depicted in Susan Johnson’s important work with Emotionally Focused Therapy [EFT] for couples takes the next focus. [Please not more in-depth work with adult attachment is considered in Seminars 2-4]
  6. Finally, the seminar concludes with a vital glimpse of emerging research on shifts in attachment in later life, especially as regards possible cognitive decline. In summary, the seminar seeks to skill up mental health workers by providing a relatively comprehensive picture of the most current research and available practical interventions.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand attachment across each phase of development
  2. Develop a more comprehensive understanding of client’s relational world
  3. Apply most recent evidence based interventions
  4. Assist clients in enhancing their attachment relationships
  5. Envision the emerging and complex world of adolescent relationships
  6. Develop attachment informed strategies with client’s whose parents or loved ones may suffer with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Learning outcomes

How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Gain a unique view of the full lifespan of attachment phenomena.
  • Possess a more comprehensive perspective on evidence for interventions at each stage of the lifespan.
  • Expand skills and practice interventions for age specific attachment.

Presenter details

Kevin Keith, PhD is a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor. He splits time between private practice and education/academic activities. He is a lecturer in the Jansen Newman Institute (JNI) and Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP). In 2017, he completed his PhD at the University of Sydney (History and Philosophy of Science Unit) with primary research interests in Attachment Theory. His thesis—The Goal-Corrected Partnership: A Critical Assessment of the Research Programme—brings a focus on attachment development post-infancy. This work also rearticulates Attachment Theory in light of advances in the lifespan developmental sciences, especially approaches to biological complexity. Kevin presents regularly on Attachment Theory to a wide range of audiences, including a May 2016 paper at the International Society for Philosophy of Psychiatry in Atlanta GA USA [on attachment within the NIMH Research Domain Criteria, an alternative model to the DSM-5]. He is acclaimed as an engaging and inspiring presenter whose seminars change the way therapists perceive and work with their clients in ways that surprise and delight.

Location and date

Park Regis
293 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000

21 November 2019



Standard fee: $288

This event is fully catered and all resources are provided.

Students and new graduates may apply to attend at a discount apply here.


Register online by clicking here

Ph: 1300 887 622

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers