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Maladaptive attachment, trauma and dissociation: Implications for longer term therapeutic work. Third Edition Series: staying current with recent advances in therapeutic research

Event Details
Date: 30th August 2018
Venue: Melbourne, Vic
CPD hrs: 7

Standard Fee: $275

Organiser: PDP
Further information

Event date has passed

Attachment Theory Seminar Series (3rd Edition): The field of attachment represents one of the largest developmental research platforms in the study of human development. Hardly a month goes by without the release of a new, serious publication researching some dimension of attachment including biological findings from fields of genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience, and stress research regularly compliment new research from the fields of developmental and social psychology. Perhaps most exciting for the therapist/counsellor is the mounting evidence of the practical benefits that an attachment-informed practice brings for our work with clients. However, one of the challenges facing clinicians today is how to remain current in the increasingly expanding complex field. The three-part Attachment Theory Seminar (3nd ed.) provides therapists with exposure to the latest relevant research findings, combining theoretical insight and clinical practice incorporating research up to and including 2016. Particular focus has been added to skills building and learning amongst peers.

Seminar Two: The second seminar expands the basics of Attachment Theory with a specific focus on risk associated with maladaptive attachment.

The first half of the day will focus on identifying the lifespan risks associated with maladaptive attachment. Two associated phenomena will also be considered: trauma and dissociation. The evidence for attachment risk and psychopathology will be shown to be considerable and growing, especially as regards both borderline personality disorder (BPD) and trauma related disorders. An important associated question will also be addressed: What are the developmental trajectories of both childhood disorganised attachment and adult unresolved attachment, and how might attachment experiences change across the lifespan? The seminar will explore how attachments evolve across the lifespan, are not set in stone and may be expected to demonstrate both continuity as well as change. Maladaptive attachment will also be shown to be strongly associated with trauma and dissociation. The seminar will also clarify ‘what’ we may treat in therapy: ‘changing attachment’—a lifespan dynamic personality construct, ‘resolving trauma’—a causal contributor to disorder—, ‘modifying dissociation’—a consequent symptom.

The second half of the day focuses on clinical skills for addressing maladaptive attachment. Training in longer-term work typically relies upon ‘case study’ approaches. The seminar will review key elements included in these approaches and work practically with a selection of the various components. Particular focus will be given to the dynamics of maladaptive attachment and related disorders [i.e. personality disorders, PTSD and complex trauma]. Attention will also be given to the practical considerations involved in working in a world of limited resources: How can we best respond to the need for longer-term work where clients may lack resources

Learning objectives

  • Identify important dimensions of maladaptive attachment [disorganised, unresolved, etc.] and how they differ from more functional attachment styles
  • Differentiate the more reliable depictions of attachment, trauma and dissociation from less helpful oversimplifications
  • Explore the breath of the latest findings within the study of attachment risk and psychopathology
  • Identify and integrate current conceptual and empirical findings for important phenomena of trauma and dissociation [including DSM5 and alternative depictions]
  • Recognise and work with key components in longer term case based approaches [e.g. issue/goal identification, diagnosis, transference/countertransference, supervision, ‘getting stuck’]
  • Clarify clinical responses for maladaptive attachment, trauma and dissociation
  • Evaluate options for longer term work that may sit outside 10 session models

Presenter details

Kevin Keith is a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor who splits time between private practice and education activities. He is a lecturer in the Jansen Newman Master’s Program. In addition, Kevin provides facilitated training on behalf of Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA). He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney (History and Philosophy of Science Unit) with primary research interests in Attachment Theory. His thesis, due for final completion in 2016, will offer a rearticulation of Attachment Theory in light of advances in the 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

Venue and date

Mantra on Russell
222 Russell Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

30 August 2018

9:00am - 4:30pm


This is a fully catered day with all resources provided.

Standard Fee: $275

Students and new graduates may apply to attend at half price, apply here

Registration and other information

Register online by clicking here

1300 887 622

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers