I’ve just spent four days bathed in sunshine, immersed in trauma, connected to my memories and heartache, and surrounded by understanding and shared experience. Family vacation? College reunion? Therapy session? ATTACh 2014: “Trauma-Informed Treatment: The Intersection of Attachment, Science and Hope” was all that and more. Situated at the elegant Rosen Center in Orlando, we didn’t need to go outside to feel the warmth. Actually, it rained most of the time. No, the caring and compassion was in the spirit and commitment of the therapists, parents, educators and others who came together for four days to share their work on the cutting edge of treatment for children who have suffered from a history of insecure and disrupted attachment and trauma.
While making and renewing connections with each other, I believe that the over-arching take away from this year’s conference was that connection is the key. Starting at the very elemental level of connecting one delicate brain cell to another, and extending through parent and child to professionals and caregivers, we must first build connection. Throughout the workshops I attended, whether on yoga, Theraplay, storytelling, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, and the eloquent keynotes by Michael Trout, Mary Koloroutis, and Ruth Newton, everyone agreed that we must first create attunement and connection. We must begin with curiosity and “brilliant stupidity” to open ourselves to the one who needs our help and understanding – our patient, our client, our child.
I am grateful for the opportunity to renew and to make new connections at this year’s conference and am looking forward to sharing some exciting new developments here on theRadvocate. I’ve brought home some exciting new releases including Attachment, Trauma, and Healing: Understanding and Treating Attachment Disorder in Children, Families and Adults by Terry M. Levy and Michael Orlans (2nd Edition) and Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip: Adopting & Raising 22 Kids! By Hector and Sue Badeau. I will be reviewing both books here in the near future.
Another new development. Several leaders in research and treatment in attachment have been invited to guest blog and I hope to host their insights here in the weeks ahead. So, please follow theRadvocate, you won’t want to miss a thing, and keep your comments coming.