Embodied practices for healing attachment trauma in children using body-based attachment approaches

Presenter: Dafna Lender
Date: November 19th and 20th, 2022
Location: Milan; information about the venue will be provided ASAP
Time: Saturday, November 19th: from 10AM to 6PM, Italian time (including breaks).
Sunday, November 20th: from 9AM to 5PM, Italian time (including breaks).
Language: English, with simultaneous translation available for Italian-speaking participants.

200,00 300,00 

200,00 300,00 

Event Partner (Turkey):

Event Partner (Malta):



 During this inaugural workshop, Dafna Lender will teach techniques for work with children, helping them to gain positive experiences in their bodies which contradict their feelings of helplessness when they arise. Participants will learn practical tools to maximize a child’s resilience when they are stressed beyond their breaking point so that their equilibrium can be restored. Armed with this “recipe for resilience,” practitioners and caretakers can help to trauma-proof children, while also generally increasing their tolerance to everyday stress. Dafna Lender, LCSW, International trainer in both Theraplay® and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy as well as EMDR therapist, will be teaching techniques that focus on healing severely dysregulated childhood experiences through physical exercises that are co-regulated by a loving adult. In this way they can truly become stronger, more caring, joyful and compassionate human beings. Adults will also be able to use these tools to help heal the hurt child within themselves.

This workshop will also address successful parent attachment work.  Participants will learn:


  • how to identify when a parent needs more focused individual work, where the parent’s own attachment issues may be impacting session;
  • how to set goals for parent- focused work, assessing when it is time to re-introduce child into the therapy room;
  • how to navigate parent child sessions when the parent’s defences are re-triggered;
  • how to help parents initiate repair and stay present with the child to facilitate true healing and connection. 

By attending the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to:

  1. Learn practical tools that you can apply to your practice with parents and children immediately;
  2. Practice experiential activities in groups;
  3. Watch video case examples: children transformed from chaotic, aggressive e uncooperative to focused, relaxed and joyful, through play.


Learning objectives:

 Utilize embodied play techniques to address the specific needs of a child;

  • Identify the types of behaviours that require a particular intervention;
  • Observe video real clinical cases to deepen understanding of how to apply in clinical practice;
  • Learn how to involve parents in attachment/trauma focused treatment session.


Main topics explored:


Evolutionary underpinnings of trauma, the Polyvagal theory:

  • Flight, flight, freeze, and collapse;
  • The somatic effects of stress in children;
  • Trauma through the lens of attachment;
  • Why “bottom-up” techniques are imperative to the treatment process.


Integrative strategies to restore resilience, attunement and safety:

  • How to assess which behaviour(s) require interventions;
  • Simple containment tools for children;
  • Therapeutic games for overcoming feelings of helplessness;
  • Touch-based interventions to release somatically “stuck” responses to stress;
  • Trust and attunement practices for caregiver and child;
  • Pendulation-informed techniques to develop a sense of “flow”;
  • Guided attunement activities for caregivers and families;
  • Use voice, rhythm, facial expressions and touch to elicit trust;
  • Exercises that hone in on various vocal qualities;
  • Creating and maintaining an open facial expression with defensive clients;
  • Strategies for incorporating safe touch;
  • Surprise the brain of a defensive client with novel responses that will grab their attention, interrupt their automatic defensiveness, and generating curiosity;
  • Using playfulness and paradox;
  • Learn exercises and activities to make shut down, guarded or angry children feel more relaxed, open and read to connect;
  • Movement and breathing exercises that create connection.

Focused parent work:

  • The stages of parent focused attachment work;
  • Tools for deepening parent’s regulation skills: role plays, mindfulness practice, self-care;
  • Re-introducing child into the therapy room;
  • Tools for titrating the intensity of interaction between parent and child to maintain optimal arousal;
  • Helping parents stay open and engaged;
  • Learn gentle ways to intervene and redirect a misattuned or critical parent;
  • Guiding parents in helpful responses within session;
  • Facilitate active dialogue between parents and children that’s both safe and gets to their core issues.

The Presenter


Dafna Lender

Dafna Lender (LCSW) is an international trainer and supervisor for practitioners who work with children and families. She is a certified trainer and supervisor/consultant in both Theraplay® and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Dafna is also an EMDR therapist.  Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families with attachment in many settings: at-risk after school programs, therapeutic foster care, in-home crisis stabilization, residential care and private practice. Dafna’s style, whether as a therapist or teacher, is combining the light-hearted with the profound by bringing a playful, intense and passionate presence to every encounter. Dafna is the co-author of “Theraplay®: The Practitioner’s Guide” (2020).  She teaches and supervises clinicians in 15 countries in 3 languages: English, Hebrew and French. 


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