Therapeutic Interventions and Daily Care for the Mistrustful Child

Course overview

A one day workshop by Dan Hughes, who created Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. DDP helps troubled children who have developed insecure attachments to learn to trust their caregivers. DDP is a family-based intervention and brings together attachment theory, the neurobiology of trauma and child development.

Attachment principles stretch from infancy to old age, from safety to exploration of self and other, including effective and reflective functioning, while involving the processes of co-regulating affect and co-creating meanings.  

A resulting attachment-focused treatment-Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is experiential and reflective and involves establishing attuned states between the young person and the therapist and caregiver in order to safely explore past traumas and current behaviours involving both fear and shame.  The treatment involves assisting the young person to develop a coherent story involving both past abusive experiences and current experiences in a safe family.    

This story-telling stance is characterised by playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy.  Strengths and vulnerabilities,  reciprocity and  conflicts are all understood and accepted.  Dialogues emerge that fully accept the subjective experience of each participant in the conversation.  Such dialogues become templates for satisfying and productive dialogues in all areas of life. 

Principles and strategies of both psychological treatment and daily care which utilise our understanding of both attachment, neurobiology and trauma will be presented and discussed.  This model of intervention will be demonstrated with videos of treatment sessions.

1. The developmental challenges of the mistrustful child

  •   Developmental trauma & the need for self-reliance
  •   The developmental strengths of the trusting child
  •   Secure attachments and inter subjective relationships

2.  Principles of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) for Young People and their Caregiver

  • Inter subjective Presence: attunement, joint attention and intentions
  • Conversations and Stories
  • PACE:  Playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy.

3. Structure & Interventions of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

          Two phases of Treatment: 

                   A. Caregivers seen alone

                   B. Caregiver and Young Person seen together

  • Focusing under the symptoms
  • Follow-Lead-Follow
  • Effective/Reflective Dialogue
  • Speaking for/Speaking about 
  • Interactive 

4.  Care giving Principles and Interventions

  • Exploring the Caregivers’ parenting and attachment history
  • Blocked Care
  • Day-to-Day Care


This workshop is designed to:

  • Understand the effects of developmental trauma and attachment disorganisation
  • Understand the developmental effects of a secure attachment
  • Understand the basic principles of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Understand the basic interventions of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Understand the basic principles of care giving for developing attachment security
  • Understand characteristics of day-to-day care

Friday 15 November 2019 (9:30am - 4:30pm). BOOKINGS HAVE NOW CLOSED

Dan Hughes, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who founded and developed Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), the treatment of children who have experienced abuse and neglect and demonstrate ongoing problems related to attachment and trauma. This treatment occurs in a family setting and the treatment model has expanded to become a general model of family treatment. Dan has conducted seminars, workshops, and spoken at conferences throughout the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia for the past 20 years. He is also engaged in extensive training and supervision in the certification of therapists in his treatment model, along with ongoing consultation to various agencies and professionals. He is the founder of DDPI a training Institute which is responsible for the certification of professionals in DDP. Information about DDPI can be found on

Dan is the author of many books and articles. These include Building the Bonds of Attachment, 3rd Ed. (2017), Attachment-Focused Family Therapy Workbook (2011) and, with Jon Baylin, Brain-Based Parenting (2012) and The Neurobiology of Attachment-Focused Therapy (2016). Along with Kim Golding and Julie Hudson, Dan has recently had published Healing relational trauma with attachment-focused interventions: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy with children and families (W.W. Norton, 2019).  

Dan has a limited practice in South Portland, Maine, USA.


Certificate of attendance
Course length:
1 day
Admission status:

Share this page