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040. Attachment-based Intervention Specialist Training


Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.
Sharon May, Ph.D.






Attachment theory holds tremendous potential in the case of conceptualization and treatment of various forms of psychopathology, including childhood problems, relationship conflicts, chronic depression, anxiety disorders, and more. This intensive will explore the inherent power of the therapeutic relationship to literally change the brain’s chemistry, structure, and function. The role of various neurobiological systems will be identified, including the brainstem and vagal tone, sympathetic-parasympathetic balance, the limbic system (amygdala, hippocampus, and septum), the prefrontal cortex, left vs. right hemisphere activation, mirror neurons, neural integration, and relational neuroplasticity. “Secure Base” Psychotherapy offers an attachment-informed system for assessment and treatment through establishing a curative relationship, navigating treatment resistance, and healing attachment wounds. Psychologists and licensed mental health professionals will learn how to accurately assess attachment, along with powerful, evidence-based techniques, for processing strong attachment-related emotions, revising core attachment beliefs, developing emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills, breaking chronic patterns of withdrawal, isolation, hostility, and addictions, and generalizing treatment results to situations and relationships outside of therapy. Role-plays and case studies will be used throughout. Specific attention will be given to Christian integration for Christian clients and pertinent multicultural and ethical guidelines. 

Learning Objectives 

Participants will: 

  1. Describe foundational principles of attachment theory through the lens of the secure base system, including exploration, threat, attachment emotions (intimacy, anger, anxiety, depression, and grief), proximity seeking, signaling, and the safe haven experience      
  2. Identify the core features of interpersonal neurobiology  
  3. Summarize Siegel’s triangle of well-being (mind, brain, and relationships)   
  4. Outline brain basics and how various neurobiological systems are activated and changed in the context of restorative relationships      
  5. Summarize each attachment style and its development across the lifespan   
  6. Assess how attachment styles influence emotion regulation, self-worth maintenance, resilience, risk, parenting, romantic intimacy, spiritual growth, and risk and resilience to various forms of psychopathology      
  7. Describe the main tenants of “Secure Base” Psychotherapy, an integrated approach for assessing attachment and linking the assessment results to an integrated, attachment-informed case-formulation system      
  8. Critique core therapeutic relationship techniques for skillfully establishing and maintaining a strong, curative secure-base therapy relationship  
  9. Demonstrate crucial skills needed to detect and manage treatment resistance and potential therapy wounds       
  10. Outline six core, evidence-based therapy strategies (including more than a dozen specific techniques) within an attachment-informed perspective to common clinical cases, including depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, and disruptive mood dysregulation