Attachment, Neurodevelopment and Psychopathology

Conference overview

This 3-day course focuses on the development, prevention and treatment of psychological disorder from infancy to adolescence. It weaves together theory, human development, assessment, case examples and treatment applications to reframe maladaptive behavior in terms of strategies for self-protection. The course emphasizes the process of adaptation and developmental pathways that carry risk for psychopathology.

The model used is the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) of Attachment and Adaptation. The DMM is relevant to individuals who are at-risk, have been exposed to danger, display disturbed or maladaptive behaviour, or are diagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder. Emphasis is given to how attachment explains maladaptive behaviour and how that is tied to culture and dangerous conditions.

The course is structured developmentally and consists of lecture with slides, video, and interview transcripts to demonstrate the patterns and principles of development. A set of readings and exercises, tied to each day’s material, is offered.

An introduction is given to the DMM suite of assessments of attachment and adaptation:

• CARE-Index (ICI, infancy from birth to 15 months)

• Ainsworth Strange Situation (SSP, 11-15 months)

• Toddler CARE-Index (TCI, 16-36 months)

• Preschool Assessment of Attachment (PAA, 2 - 5 years)

• School-age Assessment of Attachment (SAA, 6-13 years)

• Family Drawings (4 -13 years)

• Transition to Adulthood Attachment Interview (TAAI, 16-25 years)

NOTE: The ANP course is a prerequisite to all assessment courses, e.g. the Adult Attachment Interview.

Course text:

Crittenden, P. M. (2016). Raising Parents: Attachment, Representation, and Treatment. London: Routledge.

With additional readings and written assignments, this course can count toward earning the "DMM-informed Mental Health Practitioner Certificate".

NOTE: Contact Dr. Patricia Crittenden ( for further information.

Day One: Principles of Adaptation/Infancy


  • Course overview and central ideas
  • Infant development: the need for parental protection and comfort
  • The Ainsworth ABC patterns of attachment


  • CARE-Index (ICI) Assessment with video
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Post-natal depression and psychosis

Day Two: Preschool Years


  • Preschool development: the need for parent-child protective hierarchy
  • The coercive and compulsive self-protection strategies
  • Cross-generational parent-to-child strategies


  • The Toddler CARE-Index (TCI)
  • Several of the following: Adoption, foster care, ADHD, autism, child sexual abuse
  • Reducing coercive behaviour

Day Three: School Years and Adolescence


  • School-age development: Gaining independence, new attachment figures
  • Obsessive and deceptive strategies
  • Somatization
  • The School-age Assessment of Attachment (SAA)
  • Treatment: Hidden problems, recommended and risky practices


  • Adolescence: Integrating sexuality with attachment
  • Sexual disorders and sexual offending
  • Dangerous gaps in services and preventative opportunities

NOTE: Dr Crittenden and Andrea Landini will aim to cover all topics listed above, but dependent on time and audience requirements, cannot guarantee that all areas will be addressed.

Each day includes:

  • A developmental overview
  • Information processing as it affects self- and child-protective behaviour
  • Description of new self-protective strategies that develop at the age level
  • An application of DMM ideas to generate a novel approach to maladaptation
  • Treatment strategies drawn from all the major theories of treatment and selected on the basis of information processing and strategy

New skills:

  • Perceiving discrepant behaviour: seeing commonly overlooked clues to trouble
  • Identifying false-positive affect: uncovering hidden problems in their early stages
  • Differentiating symptoms and self-protective strategies: specifying how symptoms function
  • Functional formulation: Moving beyond diagnoses to understanding behaviour 

Treatment planning - choosing treatment strategies to:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Lower cost
  • Reduce risk of iatrogenic harm

Take-away Tools:

  • Level of Family Functioning Scale
  • Gradient of Intervention Scale

The course is aimed at professionals who work with troubled families or individuals, including, psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, social workers, teachers and nurses.

Patricia M. Crittenden has many years experience as an academic and practitioner in the fields of child abuse, attachment theory and family therapy. After her training with Mary Ainsworth, she served on the Faculties of Psychology at the Universities of Virginia and Miami. She has held visiting positions at the Universities of Helsinki and Bologna, as well as the Clark Institute of Psychiatry (Canada), San Diego State University (USA) and Edith Cowan University (Australia). She is well known for having developed the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) of Attachment and Adaptation and is one of the founders of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA). In 2004, she received a Career Achievement Award from the European Family Therapy Association. In addition, she has published more than 100 scientific papers and several books.

Andrea Landini M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He received his medical training at the University of Modena and trained as both a cognitive-constructivist psychotherapist and a family therapist. His clinical practice includes psychotherapy with adults and adolescents, work with parents and supervision of residential staff. He is implimenting the IASA Family Attachment Court Protocol in the Milan courts. For two decades, he collaborated with Crittenden in the development of the Dynamic-Maturational Model, translating four books, co-authoring many research articles, and publishing numerous chapters on using the DMM to guide treatment. He has participated in numerous research projects and is an author on publications resulting from them. He is on the visiting faculties of several Italian schools of cognitive and family systems psychotherapy.

This course will take place from Thursday 10 December 2020 - Saturday 12 December 2020. Each day will run from 9am - 5pm

3 day - £600 (minus 10% early bird discount if you book by 31 July 2020)

4 day - £800 (minus 10% early bird discount if you book by 31 July 2020)

You have the option to book onto the three day course or a four day course that includes the additional one day Attachment, Psychopathology and Treatment in Adulthood course on Sunday 13 December 2020.

The Tavistock Centre, London
10 December 2020 09:00 to 12 December 2020 17:00

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Attachment, Psychopathology and Treatment in Adulthood

This 1-day course focuses on using aspects of adult development to enhance treatment of psychological maladaptation of adults and their families...

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