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Digital Recording

WORKING WITH DISORGANISED ATTACHMENT IN ADOLESCENTS & ADULTS: Skills and knowledge for providing therapeutic security to enhance client wellbeing.


The concept of attachment difference within Attachment Theory has offered a truly valuable framework to understand many of the serious mental health care risks associated with childhood difficulties. This attachment seminar extends this focus to addressing a relatively new set of adult differences identified as ‘attachment disorganisation’, something potentially influenced by ‘early and ongoing’ trauma and associated with adult personality disorders. In addition to clarifying current knowledge of ‘attachment disorganisation’ into adulthood, the seminar will also introduce more integrated approaches to treatment that include attachment and might also provide greater direction to our work.

The first half of the seminar will focus on updating current empirical understandings of ‘attachment difference’ and identifying manifestations of ‘disorganised attachment’ in adulthood. The aim is to provide a more realistic picture of adult disorganization that will enhance initial assessment and evaluation of ongoing clinical progress. Historically, the traditional adult identifications of maladaptive attachment—Unresolved/Disorganized/Cannot Classify Attachment (categories from the ground-breaking Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)) and Fearful-Avoidant Attachment (a continuum quadrant emerging from well validated self-report tools in Social Psychology)—have proven too broad to adequately inform clinical concerns; the two measures have also proven difficult to integrate. However, researchers have begun to identify greater specificity in the more disordered adult ‘disorganised attachment’ through the employment of new and expanded measures. Participants will be introduced to currently proposed specifics for ‘disorganised attachment’ in adulthood, drawing on important updated measures of attachment difference. Groups will consider these perspectives in light of their work with clients who are confronted by longer-term mental health challenges. ‘Disorganised attachment’ will also be considered in light of early and ongoing experiences of trauma, dissociation and personality disturbances.

The second part of the seminar focuses on clinical skills for addressing ‘disorganised attachment’. Focus on the clinical alliance and ongoing development of attachment will be addressed. Attachment Theory has greatly contributed to 

therapeutic relationship assist healing. 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—and ‘enhancing’ reduced functional capacities typically associated with personality disorders’—especially emotion- and self-regulation. Attachment work will be situated within two integrated models for treatment [The Sequential Model of Emotional Processing (Pascual-Leone & Greenberg, 2007) and the recent Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual 2nd Edition or PDM-2 (Lingiardi & McWilliams 2017)]. Case studies will be explored seeking to practically apply theoretical insights. Finally, 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?

In summary, the seminar will explore how even disorganised attachments evolve across the lifespan, are not set in stone, and may be expected to demonstrate both continuity as well as change. This may serve as a beacon of hope for clients and therapists alike.



This online program is worth 8.0 hours CPD.


Additional Info

Webcast Schedule

Morning Session
  9:00am - 12:45pm
  Includes a 15 minutes break at 10:45am

Lunch Break
  12:45pm - 1:45pm

Afternoon Session
  1:45pm - 5:00pm
  Includes a 15 minutes break at 3:15pm


Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Identify important and emerging dimensions and measures of disorganised attachment and how they differ from more functional attachment styles, including a confirmatory factor, dimensionally coded AAI (Haltigan et al 2014), the Hostile-Helpless States of Mind Coding in the AAI (Lyons-Ruth et al 2005), Goal-Corrected Partnership in Adolescence Coding Scale (Lyons-Ruth et al 2005) [also now validated with young adults], and the recent Adult Disorganized Attachment for Romantic Relationships measure (Paetzold et al 2015)
  2. Differentiate the more reliable depictions of disorganised attachment, trauma, dissociation personality disorder from less helpful oversimplifications
  3. Understand possible dynamics in disorganised adult romantic relationships, including risk of abuse
  4. Clarify clinical responses for working with disorganised adult attachment, especially in context of trauma and personality disorders
  5. Assist clients in enhancing their emotion regulatory skills
  6. Evaluate options for longer term work that may sit outside 10 session models.

"Recent research into Disorganised Attachment has provided valuable insights into how ‘early and ongoing’ attachment develops through adolescence and into adulthood, offering greater specificity from which to identify client difficulties and apply more informed responses."   Kevin Keith

How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Gain a current understanding of adult ‘disorganised attachment’.
  • Apply current findings on disorganization to enhance client assessment and ongoing case formulation.
  • Expand skills and practice interventions for working with disorganization in the context of trauma and personality disorders.


Morning Session (includes a short morning tea break)

  • Exploring Disorganised Attachment: (1) early and ongoing development, (2) current and new measures, (3) newly identified behaviours and manifestations.
  • Understanding overlapping concepts: Disorganised attachment, trauma, dissociation and personality disorder.
  • How to assess attachment in clinical setting without specific measures.

Afternoon Session (includes a short afternoon tea break)


  • Practicum 1: Exploring the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for traversing hope and despair differentiating work with adolescents and adults (with case study.)
  • Practicum 2: Identifying and working within integrated/plural therapeutic models—‘Attending to multiple matters’ (with case study.)
  • Practicum 3: Longer-term psychotherapy work [the big picture]. Finding ways to work within and beyond time-limited therapy? (with case study.)


Evaluation and post-test - your payment includes a free post-test which when completed with a minimum of 80% correct answers, will enable you to download your Attendance Certificate.

To complete the test, please log into your account at and click the orange "Certificate" button under the program's title. 

For live webcasts, post-tests must be completed within one week of viewing the program. (There is no deadline to complete the post-test for digital downloads)

Target Audience

This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists.



Overall:      4.6

Total Reviews: 13

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