COVID-19 Update - workshop schedules postponed



Monday 16 November 20209:00 - 16:00Add to calendar

Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne, 189 Queens St, Melbourne, Vic, 3000View map

Attachment in Group SettingsDr John Stewart
TrainerDr John Stewart (USA)
CPD Hrs7
IncludesCatering, handbook and certificate

Strategies to reduce challenging behaviour, increase engagement & improve outcomes

Young people who spend time in residential care, mental health units, day treatment or specialised educational programs for acute and severe behavioural problems have often missed the opportunity to engage in attachment-based relationships needed for their development. The vast literature of attachment, trauma and adverse childhood experiences demonstrates how the resulting neurological changes often undermine the young person’s skills needed to engage others cooperatively, regulate their emotions, resolve conflicts and engage in relationship repair. Overtime this primes the young person into a neurological state of “blocked trust”.

These complexities can create corresponding changes in the adult carers/ staff, because developing safe relationships with young people who do not trust relationships is often very difficult. Our common ways of creating safety and engaging others often fail with these young people, and these mis-attunements can create insecurities, doubt, shame, anxiety and anger in the very adults who are trying to “help” them. Some adult carers/ staff entering into attachment-focused relationships with young people may also have their own attachment history activated. Or more commonly the consistent rejection by a young person primes the adult carer/ staff for entering into a neurological state of "blocked care”. 

Understandably the management of intensive group settings is challenging and often functions largely in the role of just providing safe containment. Whilst the fields of attachment and interpersonal neurobiology have exploded with new insights on developmental trauma and mental health, shifting therapeutic approaches from a cognitive-behavioural focus to a more intuitively sound relational approach, relatively little of this has made its way into the management of intensive group settings. At its core is the need for connection (before correction) and safety (physical and relational) for the young people AND the adult carers/ staff - essential in any program’s effectiveness. During the workshop Dr John Stewart shares his practical approach to utilising relational approaches to healing and provide tools to leverage positive change in young people and staff. The workshop will explore:

  • Theory informed treatment and Attachment Theory - why relationships matter in therapeutic care
  • Attachment needs within a three stage developmental framework
    • safety and security vs insecurity and shame
    • emotional regulation vs emotional dysregulation
    • meaning and purpose vs meaningless
  • Supporting healing attachments in group settings:
    • how attachments are formed and how is this applied in group settings
    • intersubjectivity 
    • PACE
    • optimal frustration
    • connect-tear-repair
  • Understanding and using co-regulation of emotion as a precursor to self-regulation
  • Executive functioning weaknesses, attachment and organisation 
  • Attachment informed limit setting in intensive group settings:
    • use and misuse of behavioural limits
    • the what and how of structure 
    • connect and then only direct
    • managing overtly oppositional behaviour
    • rewriting (healing) shame-based self-narratives 
  • What gets in the way of the attachment informed stance for carers/ staff
    • competing objectives and values
    • environmental stress
    • institutional support for attachment informed work
    • environment
    • programming challenges
  • Special strategies and considerations for
    • touch
    • food
    • transitional objects
    • peer-centric group settings

This workshop is for professionals looking to improve the effectiveness of child and adolescent programs across a diverse range of settings - from in-patient mental health units, day programs and drop in services through to schools-based programs and residential care settings. Accessible for entry level caretakers and educators, yet sophisticated enough for clinical supervisors. It provides the knowledge and guidance to introduce the approach in their own service, potentially giving staff clearer understanding of their adult carer role, a greater sense of cohesion and associated work satisfaction

Presented by Dr John Stewart, a US based psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor Department of Psychiatry Tufts, School of Medicine. He was the Founder and past Clinical Director  of Maine Special Education/Mental Health Collaborative (The Collaborative School) - a day treatment program serving 50 students K-12, specialising in services for developmental Trauma, PTSD, attachment issues and high functioning autism. He is the author of Attachment Based Milieus and Beyond Time Out. With over 30yrs of clinical experience across diverse settings from MH Units to schools and private practice, John engaging and practical approach to treating vulnerable young people in care is widely acknowledged by leading figures such as Dan Hughes (DDP) and Lou Cozolino.

"John Stewart's new work is an excellent endeavor to describe the complex qualities that are central in developing and maintaining a milieu that provides young people with the relationships that they need to begin to trust" Dan Hughes, psychologist and founder of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy


Ticket typePrice (AUD)Quantity
Sale TicketSave 37%. Limited seats - on sale until sold out. Payment required at time of booking, non-refundable, name changes permitted.$315.00$199.00 incl GST
Early Bird TicketOver 20% savingAvailable until 30 Oct 2020$315.00$249.00 incl GST
Standard TicketIncludes signed copy of Dr Stewart's book. Collected at workshop.$315.00 incl GST