There continues to be a groundswell of energy for Attachment Therapy in its different forms at Shalem. Whether we are seeing couples, children, or families, the Attachment model provides the foundation for our therapeutic work.
In our counselling with couples, we primarily use Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), an attachment-based therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. Our clinical director, Jennifer Bowen has completed both the externship and the Core Skills training and continues to work towards becoming an EFT supervisor. Other staff who work with couples have also completed the EFT externship, and some are furthering their training through the Core skills.
Couples often respond with relief and a sense of renewed hope when they begin to understand what is happening in their relationship from an attachment perspective. More importantly, this model helps them have conversations and interactions that allow them to experience renewed closeness as they heal relationship hurts and reconnect emotionally.
Children and Families
In our work with children, we use the attachment-focused family therapy model that Dr. Daniel Hughes developed called Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Created for children who have been abused or neglected by previous parents or caregivers, this model helps adoptive, foster, or kin-care providers develop healthy relationships that repair the hurts of past relationships.
In addition to providing this therapy, Betty has been working with other therapists in the use of the model. In October Betty travelled to Pennsylvania to attend the international DDP study days and attend a pre-conference meeting with fellow DDP consultants and trainers from across the USA, Canada and the UK. She enjoyed spending a few days learning about the latest brain research and its implications for developing healthy relationships, sharing ideas and being affirmed in the work that we do.
Adoptive, Foster, and Kin Care Parents
We also work with parents of children who have experienced trauma and attachment difficulties. Betty is once again facilitating Nurturing Attachments Training Resource, a group program designed to provide support and guidance to these parents. This is done in partnership with the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. We had such a positive response from parents of last year’s group that we are offering it once again. We are excited that this program is also being offered by other agencies in the province. In fact, Betty is serving as a consultant to George Hull Centre for Children and Families as they hope to offer this support group out of their centre in the new year.
Professional Conferences, Training and Supervision
Beyond the therapy we offer, we are also providing opportunities for training and collaboration with other professionals who are working in the area of Attachment Therapy.
We are eagerly planning our bi-annual signature conference that brings together expert leaders in the field of attachment. We are pleased to confirm that Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Janina Fisher and moderator Dr. Jean Clinton will be part of our Recovery Through Relationship: Attachment, Trauma and Neurobiology conference that is scheduled for November 2016.
Betty has recently become certified as a DDP consultant and now supervises others who are seeking to become certified DDP pscyotherapists. As well Betty has been invited to become a certified DDP trainer and has already started the process.
Healthy relationships are an integral aspect of all that happens at Shalem Mental Health Network, especially in our counselling clinic. We are all wired to want to be in relationships where we are loved and have something to offer back. At Shalem, we are excited to be part of this growing field of Attachment Therapy because we are so keenly aware of the importance of healthy relationships for mental well being.