Training

Attachment Based Practice with Families

A 3 part modular training programme focused on translating attachment theory into principles, tools and practical strategies for working with families.

Duration: 6 days

Overview

Attachment theory is essential for understanding how human beings function in relationships and how people develop social and psychological difficulties. It is also fundamental for understanding what constitutes psychological wellbeing. Exploration of relevant case examples enables participants to move from assessment to formulation to planning and intervention. The training is designed to increase the confidence of practitioners to act as change agents and to understand and relate to people in an attuned way.

Part 1: Infancy, Early Childhood and the School Years (2 days)

Course description

The foundation level of a programme of training on ‘Attachment Based Practice with Families’.

Part 1 of the course focuses on infancy and early childhood, moving up to the school years. It introduces contemporary attachment theory, its links with child development, neurobiology and the emerging field of narrative medicine.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course participants will understand:
• Attachment theory and its links to child development and neurobiology.
• Developments in neuroscience and their contribution to social policy.
• The essential aspects of the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) of Attachment and Adaptation across the lifespan and how this differs from the ABC+D model of attachment.
• The developmental factors that contribute to the development of secure and insecure attachment strategies (The ‘ABC’ model of attachment) and the characteristics associated with these.
• Attachment theory as a strengths-based, non-labelling and nonpathologising approach.
• How understanding of the attachment experiences of children and adults (assessment) can help practitioners increase their understanding of the roots of maladaptation in family functioning (formulation) and develop attachment informed plans and interventions.
• How attachment can be assessed, formally and informally and the limitations of the various methods.
• Attachment informed practice strongly signals the importance of relationship-based practice as key to successful assessment and intervention.

Part 2 – Adolescence, Adulthood and the Family system (2+1 days)

Course description

Part 2 of the course is a professional/advanced level of training on ‘Attachment Based Practice with Families’, focused on attachment based practice with adolescents and adults. It is aimed at case-holding practitioners. Completion of Part 1 of the course is a prerequisite for Part 2.

As with Part 1 of the course, Part 2 focuses on translating the theory into principles tools and practical strategies for understanding the functioning of adolescents and adults in families. It utilises chapters 1-8 of the course text, ‘Attachment-based Practice with Adults’ by Clark Baim and Tony Morrison. Day 3 of Part 2 focuses on synthesising an understanding of the difficulties and strengths of individual family members into an attachment informed understanding of family functioning.

Learning outcomes

During the training participants will:
Days One and Two
• Revisit essential aspects of the Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM) across the lifespan.
• Revisit how attachment strategies are formed from the family and systems perspectives and build confidence in describing contributing factors to the development of secure and insecure attachment strategies.
• Understand the five key memory systems for understanding how attachment strategies develop and function.
• Understand how to identify attachment strategies in speech and behaviour.
• Understand how to apply theory in practice through discourse analysis of case study interviews.
• Understand how the DMM connects with the emerging fields of interpersonal neurobiology and narrative medicine.
• Understand the LEARN Model for promoting narrative integration and improving psychological functioning.
• Understand the impact of unresolved loss and trauma and implications for assessment and intervention.
• Understand what it means to be psychologically integrated and to reorganise one’s mind in relation to perceived danger.
• Formulate a plan in small groups to undertake some ‘attachment informed’ assessment work with a family before Day 3 of the course

Day Three
• Revisit key themes and learning from the ‘Attachment Based Practice with Families’ Programme.
• In small groups, review assessment work undertaken with individual family members (transcripts of assessment sessions, videos of parent child interaction or direct work such as story stems with children etc.) with the goal of synthesising understanding about individual family members to develop an attachment informed understanding of family functioning.
• Develop a plan for direct work with the family using the LEARN model and techniques and exercises from Chapter 9 to effect change within the family system based on the formulation of family functioning.

Additional Information

Participants will be asked to undertake a piece of assessment work (audio or video recorded) with an adult or child (within a family identified by your group) and bring this back to Day 3 ready for review.

Part 3 – Applying the LEARN model to practice, consolidation and embedding the learning (1 day)

Course description

Part 3 of the course is a professional/advanced level of training on ‘Attachment Based Practice with Families’. The focus is on developing attachment based practice intervention skills through applying the LEARN model and techniques and exercises from Chapter 9 from the course text. It is aimed at case-holding practitioners.

You must complete Parts 1 & 2 before attending this course.

The final part of the day will focus on consolidation and embedding the learning: integrating attachment based practice in the long term.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course participants will:
• Revisit key themes and learning from the ‘Attachment Based Practice with Families’ Programme.
• In small groups, review intervention work undertaken with individual family members (applying the LEARN model using techniques and exercises for attachment based practice from Chapter 9).
• Consider the degree to which the direct work has enhanced understanding of the family and/or family functioning and make a plan for further work.
• Consolidate and further embed the learning and consider any next steps that would help them to further develop.

Additional Information

Participants will be asked to undertake a piece of direct intervention work (audio or video recorded) with an adult or child (within a family identified by your group) and bring this back ready for review.

Prepare a brief summary of learning (in the form of short written summary, bullet points or any visual or other means) to share with the group about how you are using the attachment based approach in practice (sharing specific case examples of instances from practice) covering the following:

The What: What has changed in my practice? What if anything am I doing differently?
The How: How has the change occurred? How is it going? Are there any barriers I am encountering? Any further input needed?
The Why: Why is this significant or important? Why is attachment-based practice relevant, based on my experience?
What impact? What difference has the training made to individual practice and also to the experience of the families I’m working with?
What’s next? Next steps in integration the attachment-based attachment-based approach.