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Attachment, Relationships and the Brain with Ruth Schmidt Neven - Online Workshop

 This workshop will be delivered via Zoom online. 

Workshop Session 1: ,8 May 2021

Workshop Session 2: 15 May 2021

Time: 9am - 1.30am

We are all much more aware of the importance of early relationships with our caregivers on our later relationships. Attachment theory has now entered the mainstream, but what is it really about. How does this link to brain development? What’s the research? How can having more knowledge about trauma help us gain greater understanding of the impact of separation loss on child and adult development? 

Workshop Aims

By the end of this workshop you should have gained some: 

  • Understanding of the theoretical and conceptual basis of attachment within a psychodynamic framework that emphasises the interdependence of systems concerning development, relationships and meaning making.
  • Knowledge of key attachment research i.e. the Strange Situation Test and the Adult Attachment Interview.
  • Understanding of the role of attachment in brain development with specific reference to critical periods of development and the promotion of regulatory behaviour in the infant and young child.
  • Understanding of the impact of separation, loss, and trauma on attachment.



This workshop will be divided into two sessions on separate days. The tutor will present theory and clinical work to illustrate the conceptual framework of attachment. The case presentation will be linked with commentary on the critical importance of the assessment process in consultation with adults, children, and young people. The presentation will include exercises and time for discussion with participants who will be encouraged to bring case examples from their own work settings. 

The first session will focus on how attachment as a relational construct extends over the lifespan and provides continuity between infant and early childhood experience and later development and adult life. Its starting point is the recognition that all behaviour has meaning and is a communication. What John Bowlby the ‘father of attachment’ has called ‘a secure base’ and an ‘internal working model’ lays he foundations for how children ‘speak’ their families and adults ‘speak’ their experience. This session will introduce the key attachment research models. 

The second session will focus on the role of attachment in brain development with specific reference to its role in promoting regulatory behaviour in the infant and young child with respect to the learning of empathy, controlling and balancing emotions and developing opportunities for higher levels of cognitive processing. This will include understanding the role of critical periods of development for the infant and young child. The session will examine the impact of chronic trauma on the brain and how psychosomatic and developmental stress play a part in the breakdown of regulatory processes and have an impact on health outcomes. 

Workshop Leader

Dr. Ruth Schmidt Neven is a child psychotherapist and clinical psychologist. She trained at the Tavistock Clinic in London and worked for many years in child and family mental health services in the NHS. In the UK she was a pioneer in developing a national parent support service. Ruth came to Australia to take up the inaugural position of Chief Psychotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She is now founder director of the Centre for Child and Family Development and is engaged in clinical work as well as professional training in Australia and overseas including in the UK. Ruth is the author of five books on aspects of child and family development, on assessment and therapeutic communication and several clinical papers. Her most recent publication is ‘Time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy with children and adolescents: An interactive approach’ published by Routledge UK. Ruth has recently developed a series of audio trainings based on her wide range of training programmes which can be accessed at here.

Applications must be received by Thursday, 29th April 2021. Booking will be final after receipt of payment.

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