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510 | From Fear to Connection: A Toolkit for Overcoming Trauma and Insecure Attachment with Adolescents and Adults

Friday 9/15 4:15 – 5:30 PM, Workshop Tracks, Youth and Family Development: Issues and Interventions


Anita Kuhnley, Ph.D.; Lisa Compton Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Midwives, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners




New research on the brain reveals hope for clients derailed by past trauma and attachment wounds. From the alarming rise in adolescent suicide to the current overwhelming number of people seeking mental health services, there is a critical need for psychologists and licensed mental health professionals to become sufficiently trained in these neurobiological approaches. Ministry leaders and medical professionals must also be aware of these approaches to help patients and members get to the right mental health professional. Traumatic histories are common with clients and cause symptoms such as social anxiety, interpersonal avoidance, and chronic depression (Knight & Sibcy, 2017). This workshop will explore common autonomic nervous system responses to perceived threats. Seven essential strategies competent clinicians can use to recalibrate overactive defenses will be revealed. Forming a strong therapeutic alliance with clients lacking secure attachment bonds proves to be one of the most challenging tasks clinicians experience in therapy. However, key interventions related to emotional intelligence (EI), regulation, and interpersonal skills can make this challenge possible and enhance attachment security. This workshop will include a toolkit to facilitate client safety and stabilization and move clients from reactive to intentional behaviors (Clabough, 2019; Krupnik, 2019; Siegel, 2015). Last, biblical principles and research-based techniques related to developing interpersonal skills will serve as a blueprint for Christian clients’ journey from fear to transformative connection. Strategies for both virtual and in-person counseling sessions with adolescents and adults will be included in the toolkit.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe how to apply tools to assess trauma and attachment-based automatic responses in children, adolescents, and adults.
2. Identify trauma and attachment-based automatic response deficits for therapeutic goal setting.
3. Identify strategies of emotional regulation and attachment security to reduce defensive fight/flight/freeze reactions and improve interpersonal skill development and family connectivity,
Utilize activities that promote secure attachment principles to maintain satisfying relationships throughout the lifespan.
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