Connection before Correction: A Relational Approach to Treating Attachment Issues in Children and Adolescents
Alane Atchely, MS, LMFT, LCDC
In Connection before Correction, Alane will be walking participants through a relational approach to treating children and teens with attachment issues. We will briefly cover how healthy attachment is built between child and caregiver during the first three years of life, secure vs. insecure attachment and the impact of attachment on a child’s developmental trajectory. Following the exploration of attachment, we will cover diagnoses and treatment. We will look at attachment issues through a systemic and trust based lens and how to work with the whole family. We will dive into Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®), which is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection. We will also dig into Theraplay, which is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.
**Partial Content Credit: child.TCU.edu and theraplay.org
- Develop a basic understanding of how attachment is built and what is secure attachment vs. insecure attachment.
- Signs and symptoms of Insecure Attachment and Reactive Attachment Disorder in children and adolescents.
- Develop a basic knowledge of Trust Based Relational Intervention and Theraplay.
Alane Atchley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the great state of Texas since 2013. She has a B.S. in Community, Family and Addiction Sciences and a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy both from Texas Tech University. Alane began her career in the helping profession at the age of 21 before receiving her bachelors, as an On Call Advocate for sexual assault victims in Lubbock, Texas. She did this all the way through college and graduate school. She began her masters in 2011 and gained experience through a practicum at the Texas Tech Family Therapy Clinic doing individual, couples and family work; at Early Childhood Intervention where she was an Infant Mental Health Specialist Intern; and at the Lubbock Juvenile Justice Center doing groups with the residents. Following her graduation and licensure, she began working at Julianna Poor Memorial Counseling Center where she worked for 2 years seeing families and children. That is when she developed a specialty treating families with foster/ adopted children and working with attachment disorders. She went on to become an Intermediate Theraplay Practitioner and a Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Educator. She initially trained as a TBRI Practitioner then eventually trained as an educator, as well as in TBRI in the Classroom. During this time, she had the privilege of going with a small team of therapists to Riga, Latvia to train clinicians and work with adoptive families on connection and attachment. Following her full licensure, I went on to maintain a small caseload in private practice in West University and worked full time at a therapeutic school. There, she was a jack of all trades, she conducted admissions for my caseload, worked with parents weekly, developed and implemented weekly social/ emotional and play groups, teamed with outside providers and facilitated weekly clinicals with the teaching staff. She left that position as well as my private practice a little over a year ago. She is currently the Director of Admissions at Fusion Academy in The Woodlands and she also leads her leadership team on programming surrounding mental health. Alane trains and presents often in the community on attachment, TBRI and connection within the family system and within the classroom. She has been asked by multiple associations, parent groups and school districts to train staff and parents on attachment. She has plans to go back into practice in the next few years.