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Level I: Part One – Class 3 – Understanding Trauma and its Reverberating Effects: The Impact of Insecure Attachment

April 5 Join Zoom 8:30 am; Training 8:45 am - 4:15 pm (ET) , 6 CEUs Presenter: Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA Zoom, MD + Google Map

This class is only open to participants of the Level I program.

For information about the Level I Trauma Certificate Program, click here.

Workshop Description

In this 6-hour workshop we will use videotaped examples to explore the four major attachment styles: secure; avoidnt; ambivalent; and disorganized. Participants will learn about the profound impact of insecure attachment and neglect on the developing architecture of an infant’s brain, as well as the physical, emotional, social, and behavioral impact of not being securely attached. We will explore the dysfunctional dynamics of disorganized attachment and how they subsequently play out in a traumatized client’s future relationships, including the therapeutic relationship.  We will connect attachment issues to affect regulation and dysregulation, processing the concept of the “optimal window of arousal” and exploring the impact that hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal have on clients’ presentations in and outside of therapy sessions.

Participants will learn about the challenge that children face when they are forced to attach to abusive caretakers and the cognitive and emotional price they pay for taking ownership of the abuse. We will process attachment trauma and how depressed or unavailable parents react to their child’s needs. Viewing the Still Face video, we will discuss the ways in which children react to parental mis-attunement. We will also look at the negative impact on children when a trusted caretaker is also their perpetrator.

As we explore several different dysfunctional parenting styles, we will process the “coping strategies’ that children must evolve to navigate and survive parents who are shaming, overly demanding, inappropriately boundaried, emotionally unavailable, or aggressively abusive.

Learning Objectives

  1. Define the manifestations of secure attachment between primary caretaker and child.
  2. Describe and differentiate between the three insecure attachment patterns that abused and neglected children are forced to navigate, and how children react when they are not securely attached.
  3. Describe the fight, flight and freeze reactions that parents who do disorganized attachment exhibit to their children and identify at least four ways that disorganized attachment manifests in the child’s subsequent relationships.
  4. Define the optimal window of arousal and give examples of hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal.
  5. Describe and illustrate the concept of “shifting the locus of control” as a coping strategy that children must use to attach to abusive caretakers.
  6. Identify at least six ways that children are impacted when their caretaker is their perpetrator.
  7. Identify at least four dysfunctional parenting styles that disregard boundaries, the child’s normal emotional needs, and their right to have consistency and safety.
  8. Identify and analyze at least 10 dysfunctional family of origin dynamics that pertain to roles, boundaries, communication, cognitions, and perceptions.
  9. Identify at least 10 “dysfunctional” coping strategies that children must evolve in response to toxic or abusive family-of-origin dynamics.


Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C DAPA