The Power of Attachment:
Utilising relationship-based, developmental and trauma informed approaches in Occupational Therapy
Throughout life, our ability to thrive is cultivated through our relationships, experiences, and interactions with our physical and built environments. The experiences children have early in life including the emotional interactions between infants/children and their primary caregivers, and the environments in which they occur, shape children’s neurological, physical and psychosocial development. Supportive relationships with the adults around them, give children a sense of security that builds a foundation for resilience across childhood and into adulthood, that can influence lifelong outcomes for learning, behaviour, physical and mental health.
This workshop will support occupational therapists to develop an understanding of how the experiences and relationships of infants/children and their families, can impact on their social-emotional, sensory, motor and cognitive presentation across daily life at home, school and play. It will explore how therapists can embody and integrate relationship-based, developmental, trauma- informed approaches into their assessment, formulation and intervention with infants, children and their parents.
Case studies will be utilised throughout the workshop to assist participants to integrate their knowledge and skills.
Workshop Objectives – This workshop will provide participants with:
- An introduction to attachment theory and relational theoretical underpinnings.
- An understanding of the potential impact of trauma (relational trauma) and adversity on children and families, including the connection between early childhood experiences and typical presenting issues for Occupational Therapy.
- An ability to use an occupational performance framework to understand an individual’s and families’ relationship strengths and challenges.
- An overview of therapeutic relationship/attachment based considerations when designing strategic interventions that provide tools for children and families to strengthen their relationships and enhance their participation across tasks and environments.
Workshop Delivery – The workshop will be delivered over 4 weeks via an integrated system of pre-reading material), weekly pre-recorded lecture presentations/case study and the scheduled online tutorial sessions. Participants will need to allocate 1.5 – 2 hours per week for self-study outside the online group sessions.
- Workshop Manuals participants will be mailed a hard copy of the workshop manual which will include:
- presentation notes, covering the online presentation content as well as the case studies used in the group tutorial sessions
- resources to assist with implementing workshop content into clinical practice
- Online content one week prior to the workshop, participants will be emailed a link to the pre-recorded online presentation related to the upcoming tutorial session. Presentation content will be approx. 1 – 1½ hours in length – participants are expected to have viewed this content prior to participation in the scheduled group tutorial session (NB. the link to this content will expire on commencement of the accompanying tutorial session).
- On line group tutorial sessions – using Zoom videoconferencing, participants will have the opportunity to link into four consecutive interactive tutorials (group discussions, case studies and Q&A sessions) to integrate their newly acquired knowledge and skills. Participants will be emailed the link (including password) to their scheduled sessions. Please note that due to confidentiality, copyright and privacy reasons, this workshop WILL NOT be recorded.
This workshop is suitable for occupational therapists.
NB This workshop is designed for occupational therapists that work with children and families. While it introduces a trauma-informed approach to responding to the prevalence of trauma, it does not explore trauma-specific therapies. Therapeutic work with children who have experienced trauma requires specialised training, and should be undertaken by suitably skilled mental health professionals.
About the Presenter
Beth Fulton (BAppSc, OT) – Beth is a registered paediatric occupational therapist with additional postgraduate qualifications in infant and perinatal mental health. Throughout her 22-year career she has worked in various roles across tertiary Paediatric hospitals, private practice and community based infant mental health services in NZ. She specialises in comprehensive developmental assessment and intervention for at risk infants and children with a special interest in social-emotional wellbeing, relationships, impact of childhood trauma and children in out-of-home care. Her therapeutic focus is the infant/ child in the context of their family and broader systems. Beth is an accredited trainer for several parenting/ carer education programs (Tuning in to Kids, Circle of Security) and is an experienced supervisor and educator across the state.