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Digital Seminar

WORKING WITH DISORGANISED ATTACHMENT IN ADOLESCENTS & ADULTS - Skills and knowledge for providing therapeutic security to enhance client wellbeing.


The concept of attachment difference within Attachment Theory has offered a truly valuable framework to understand many of the serious mental health care risks associated with childhood difficulties. This second 2020 attachment seminar extends this focus to addressing a relatively new set of adult differences identified as ‘attachment disorganisation’, something potentially influenced by ‘early and ongoing’ trauma and associated with adult personality disorders. In addition to clarifying current knowledge of ‘attachment disorganisation’ into adulthood, the seminar will also introduce more integrated approaches to treatment that include attachment and might also provide greater direction to our work.

The first half of the seminar will focus on updating current empirical understandings of ‘attachment difference’ and identifying manifestations of ‘disorganised attachment’ in adulthood. The aim is to provide an informative picture of adult disorganization that will enhance initial assessment and evaluation of ongoing clinical progress. Historically, the traditional adult identifications of maladaptive attachment—Unresolved/Disorganized/Cannot Classify Attachment (categories from the ground-breaking Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)) and Fearful-Avoidant Attachment (a continuum quadrant emerging from well validated self-report tools in Social Psychology)—have proven too broad to adequately inform clinical concerns; the two measures have also proven difficult to integrate. However, researchers have begun to identify greater specificity in the more disordered adult ‘disorganised attachment’ through the employment of new and expanded measures. Participants will be introduced to currently proposed specifics for ‘disorganised attachment’ in adulthood, drawing on important updated measures of attachment difference. Groups will consider these perspectives in light of their work with clients who are confronted by longer-term mental health challenges. ‘Disorganised attachment’ will also be considered in light of early and ongoing experiences of trauma and dissociation.

The second part of the seminar focuses on clinical skills for addressing ‘disorganised attachment’. Focus on the clinical alliance and ongoing development of attachment will be addressed. Attachment Theory has greatly contributed to 

therapeutic relationship assist healing. The seminar will also clarify ‘what’ we may treat in therapy: ‘changing attachment’—a lifespan dynamic personality construct—, ‘resolving trauma’—a causal contributor to disorder—, ‘modifying dissociation’—a consequent symptom—and ‘enhancing’ reduced functional capacities typically associated with personality disorders—especially emotion- and self-regulation. Attachment work will be situated within two integrated models of treatment [The Sequential Model of Emotional Processing (Pascual-Leone & Greenberg, 2007) & Character Adaptation Systems Theory (Henrique 2107)], one of which will be engaged in detail. A case study will be explored seeking to practically apply theoretical insights. Finally, attention will also be given to the practical considerations involved in working in a world of limited resources: How can we best respond to the need for longer-term work where clients may lack resources?

In summary, the seminar will explore how even disorganised attachments evolve across the lifespan, are not set in stone, and may be expected to demonstrate both continuity as well as change. This may serve as a beacon of hope for clients and therapists alike.


Here’s what people have said recently about Kevin’s training for PDP:

“One of the better presentations/seminars that I have attended in years. Well targeted, excellent pacing.”

“Made it interactive and relevant to people attending.”

“Very well done, valuable subject with application to today’s profession.”

“Thank you – I’d forgotten all the attachment stuff from formal study days – good new and helpful research, particularly dealing with ‘difficult client groups’, giving us and our clients hope.”

“Very interesting, hopeful perspective.”

“Very informative and stimulating! Made me want to explore the area of attachment more and more.”

“Interesting references to the progression of this theory.”

“One of the best seminars I have done! This seminar improved my understanding about attachment theory in a significant way. Kevin is an amazing presenter, he engaged participants from the beginning to the end of the seminar!”

“Always enjoy the high quality and clarity of Kevin’s work. It is well researched, well structured, time is extremely well managed and consistent effort is made to meet the personal needs of all attendees. Gluten free food is good!

“Kevin was an engaging and knowledgeable presenter who demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of his field.”

“Great presenter, venue.”
“PDP staff were amazing, useful, so friendly. Kevin was really great, loved his passion and knowledge. Interesting content.”



Kevin Keith, PhD BBA (Hons) (University of North Texas 1977); MA and STL (University of Louvain, Belgium, 1986 & 88); MPhil (Oxford University, 1991); Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Jansen Newman Institute, 2005); PhD Candidate (University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Research interest Attachment Theory, projected completion 2015).'s Profile

Kevin Keith, PhD BBA (Hons) (University of North Texas 1977); MA and STL (University of Louvain, Belgium, 1986 & 88); MPhil (Oxford University, 1991); Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Jansen Newman Institute, 2005); PhD Candidate (University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Research interest Attachment Theory, projected completion 2015). Related seminars and products: 14

Kevin Keith PhD BBA (Hons) (University of North Texas 1977); MA and STL (University of Louvain, Belgium, 1986 & 88); MPhil (Oxford University, 1991); Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (Jansen Newman Institute, 2005); PhD Candidate (University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Research interest Attachment Theory, projected completion 2015). Kevin is a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor. He splits time between private practice and education/academic activities. He is a lecturer in the Jansen Newman Institute (JNI) and Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP). In 2017, he completed his PhD at the University of Sydney (History and Philosophy of Science Unit) with primary research interests in Attachment Theory. His thesis—The Goal-Corrected Partnership: A Critical Assessment of the Research Programme—brings a focus on attachment development post-infancy. This work also rearticulates Attachment Theory in light of advances in the lifespan developmental sciences, especially approaches to biological complexity. Kevin presents regularly on Attachment Theory to a wide range of audiences, including a May 2016 paper at the International Society for Philosophy of Psychiatry in Atlanta GA USA [on attachment within the NIMH Research Domain Criteria, an alternative model to the DSM-5]. He is acclaimed as an engaging and inspiring presenter whose seminars change the way therapists perceive and work with their clients in ways that surprise and delight.

Registration Details

Registration fee:  $199 

Recorded version available to view for 3 months after event. 

Attendance Certificate for 6 hours of interactive training.  

Additional​ viewer: $99 

Watch the event with the Primary Participant as part of a group (on same device)

Attendance Certificate for 6 hours of interactive training.


This seminar provides 6 hours for CPD points.   


You will need a steady internet connection, and a device such as a computer, tablet or phone upon which to view and participate.


Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Identify important and emerging dimensions and measures of disorganised attachment and how they differ from more functional attachment styles, including a confirmatory factor, dimensionally coded AAI (Haltigan et al 2014), the Hostile-Helpless States of Mind Coding in the AAI (Lyons-Ruth et al 2005), Goal-Corrected Partnership in Adolescence Coding Scale (Lyons-Ruth et al 2005) [also now validated with young adults], and the recent Adult Disorganized Attachment for Romantic Relationships measure (Paetzold et al 2015)
  2. Differentiate the more reliable depictions of disorganised attachment, trauma, dissociation personality disorder from less helpful oversimplifications
  3. Understand possible dynamics in disorganised adult romantic relationships, including risk of abuse
  4. Clarify clinical responses for working with disorganised adult attachment, especially in context of trauma and personality disorders
  5. Assist clients in enhancing their emotion regulatory skills
  6. Evaluate options for longer term work that may sit outside 10 session models.​

"Recent research into Disorganised Attachment has provided valuable insights into how ‘early and ongoing’ attachment develops through adolescence and into adulthood, offering greater specificity from which to identify client difficulties and apply more informed responses."  Kevin Keith PhD


How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Gain a current understanding of adult ‘disorganised attachment’.
  • Apply current findings on disorganization to enhance client assessment and ongoing case formulation.
  • Expand skills and practice interventions for working with disorganization in the context of trauma and personality disorders.


Session one

  • Exploring Disorganised Attachment: (1) early and ongoing development, (2) current measures, (3) newly identified behaviours and manifestations.
  • Understanding overlapping concepts: Disorganised attachment, trauma, dissociation and personality disorder.
  • How to assess attachment in clinical setting without specific measures.​

Session two

  • Practicum 1: Exploring the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for traversing hope and despair.
  • Practicum 2: Identifying and working within an integrated therapeutic model.
  • Practicum 3: Longer-term psychotherapy work [the big picture] - integrating attachment within a case-based approach. Finding ways to work within and beyond time-limited therapy?

​Evaluation and quiz - your payment includes a quiz which when completed with a minimum of 80% correct answers, will enable you to download your Attendance Certificate. To complete the quiz, please log into your account at and click the orange "Certificate" button under the program's title. For live webcasts, post-tests must be completed within one month of viewing the program.

Target Audience

This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists.

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