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Domestic and Family Violence, Attachment and Complexity Practice focused concepts and tools to address risk, perpetration and prevention

Event Details
Date: 4 June 2020
Venue: Brisbane, Qld
CPD hrs: 7

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Organiser: The Professional Development People

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Domestic violence is often complex: the intersection of multiple lives, histories and contexts. When it comes to prevention/intervention, this heterogeneity presents formidable challenges. When viewed from a few selected perspectives the evident complexity offers new opportunities. One promising approach to such complexity has been research into the identification of developmental pathways and risks associated with domestic violence (DV) and family violence (FV). Such an approach provides at least two benefits: (1) an understanding of antecedents and possible risk (sometimes causal ones via longitudinal studies) and (2) a model to comprehend complexity in current experience. Attachment Theory has been increasingly employed in mental health and forensic research contexts to better understand risk and resilience. This is also increasingly the case with domestic violence. Attachment Theory has demonstrated evidence for differences in how people experience close relationships and engage emotions more generally. The seminar will therefore look at attachment and DV from multiple perspectives: childhood exposure to family trauma (including DV), intergenerational risks for violence in romantic relationships, considerations of gender and sexual orientation, within couple dynamics, as well as perpetrator and victim individually. The seminar will present a survey of the latest research on risks for DV including both the attachment relationship level as well as the more general attachment styles of emotion regulation. Indeed, attachment anxiety would appear to be the most cited risk factor for DV. Why might this be the case will be elaborated. Equally, particular focus will be given to new insights into maladaptive ‘disorganisation’ in romantic relationships, which may encompass the less secure responses including attachment anxiety but in a more chaotic volatile, disorganised manner. Participants will also be introduced to or provided a brief refresher on the expanding range of assessments and measurements— some now available on-line. With concepts and tools in hand, the workshop will turn to a review of attachment informed preventions and interventions. First, light will be shown on how prevention work has been applied with children at intergenerational risk for violence—i.e., where violence between parents is present. Children’s attachments to parents have been shown to be correlated with their own disposition to violence. Hence intervention options as future prevention research will be highlighted. The workshop next turns to work with adults in the context of romantic relationships. Participants will gain an understanding of how attachment differences may play out in terms of risk and perpetration. Clarification of contraindications for couple treatment and differentiation of mutual violence will be addressed. Additionally, practical insights will be offered from attachment work with individuals as well as insights from attachment-informed couple therapy. [N.B. This seminar is not formal forensic training but rather is focussed on expanding knowledge of the typical mental health to provide support and therapy for individuals and where appropriate for expanding couple interventions.

Learning objectives

  • Understand possible impacts of attachment development for perpetrators and victims.
  • Grasp key relationship variables considered in the research.
  • Identify risks children may face who are exposed to DV and FV.
  • Differentiate attachment features in DV from more adaptive relationships.
  • Understand crucial safety requirements when working with DV.
  • Gain insights from EFT work with couples and individuals.
  • Support victims and their children via increased assessment capabilities, new avenues for clinical psychoeducation and skills for responding to trauma.

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 GoalCorrected Partnership: A Critical Assessment of the Research Programme—brings focus on attachment development post-infancy. This work 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 DSM5]. 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

4 June 2020

9:15am - 4:30pm


Standard fee $298
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 OR Inquire about this as inhouse training, wherever you are - we come to you.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers