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Unlocking Infant and Early Childhood Trauma!

Event Details
Date: 26-27 November 2018
Venue: Melbourne, Vic
CPD hrs: 14

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Organiser: Donna Zander

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This is a specialised two day workshop focusing on unlocking trauma presentations in children in infancy and the early years. Trauma in this period has a significant impact on the developing brain and locks itself down in the body. Infants and preschoolers show us this in their behaviour and their relationships with others. This workshop provides a neurobiological and relational framework for understanding the effects of trauma on cognitive, social, physical and emotional development and functioning and; explores implications for practice. Evidenced based models of intervention will be presented utilising research in the areas of attachment, parenting, parent-child relationship difficulties, diagnostic assessment of infant and preschool children, neurobiological correlates of psychiatric disorders, outcome prediction, and for preschoolers the development of short term protocol-driven therapies.

A preschool PTSD Treatment (PPT) model will be presented. This 12-session manualised protocol uses a strategic combination of cognitive-behavioural treatment (CBT) and parent-child relational treatment suited for the developmental needs of very young children. Principles of CBT and parent-child relational treatment will be briefly over viewed. CBT techniques are developmentally adapted for younger children with limited cognitive and verbal skills. Clinicians will learn from this training how to implement the CBT techniques and how to assess and intervene in salient parent-child relational dynamics. They will also learn the systematic use of weekly checklists to ensure: therapist integrity; child compliance; parent compliance, reluctance, and acceptance of the treatment. We will explore specific and practical strategies for promoting transformation for infants and very young children who have experienced trauma..

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this program you will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of normative brain development through infancy and early childhood.
  • Be able to understand and assess mental health conditions in infants and very young children in particular: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); infant and preschool state, behaviour, cues, state modulation, and feeding interaction.
  • Understand the way that trauma affects the brain’s architecture and functioning and how it can lock itself down in the body
  • Identify ways that trauma shapes infant and early years memory development attentional processes, arousal states, emotional experiences and later cognitions
  • Explore models and strategies to unlock the trauma load from the body and mind of the infant and preschool child who has experienced it
  • Explore strategies to communicate and strengthen parents, caregivers and others to understand and respond to the infant and early years child who has experienced trauma.

Presenter details

Donna Zander is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. She has significant experience in trauma, child abuse and family violence and working therapeutically with infants, children, women and families. She has worked in this field for over 25 years both as a professional and a volunteer. Donna has a history of developing high quality training programs for the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Vic., Australian Childhood Foundation and Post Trauma Victoria. Donna's personalised, energetic and dynamic presentation style sees her services as a keynote speaker and facilitator are in great demand both nationally and overseas most recently in Bougainville, New Guinea at the Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre.

Location and date


26-27 November 2019


AASW Member: $440
Non Member: $460

Registration and More Information



AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers