Upcoming Seminars

Course Information

We Are the Tools of Our Trade: How the Therapist’s Own Attachment Patterns Shape Therapy

Sparked by Bowlby’s original insights, attachment research has revolutionized our understanding of human development, the internal world, and the consequences of development gone awry. No other empirically-based theory tells us more about how we become who we are—and how to change who we have become. In his acclaimed book, David Wallin spelled out the implications of this theory, integrating attachment with neuroscience, relational psychoanalysis, mindfulness and a focus on the body to help clinicians become more effective facilitators of growth and healing.

Now in his new workshop, he takes this exploration one step further, starting with the fact that in childhood and psychotherapy, the relationship is where the developmental action is—and development takes two. Attachment research shows that the parent’s security, insecurity, or trauma is unavoidably transmitted to the child. Clinical experience suggests the same is true of the therapist in relation to the patient. Because we are the tools of our trade, no factor influences our effectiveness as therapists more than our own attachment patterns. Rather than our theories or techniques, it is who we are—and who we can become—that ultimately determines our capacity to create with our patients a genuinely therapeutic relationship.

Illustrating his approach with vivid case material and video examples, Wallin explores how the therapist’s mindfulness and reflection can transform impasses generated by attachment history into opportunities for insight and inspiration. Using attachment research to clarify the impact of the therapist’s attachment patterns as these interlock with those of the patient, he highlights the reality that for the patient to heal, the therapist must also change. Of paramount importance here is a focus on the nonverbal realm of hear-and-now experience that is evoked, enacted, and/or embodied. This focus opens a "royal road" to the awareness and integration of previously dissociated experience, not only in the patient but in the therapist as well.



David J. Wallin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Mill Valley and Albany, CA. A graduate of Harvard who received his doctorate from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, he has been practicing, teaching, and writing about psychotherapy for more than three decades. His most recent book, Attachment in Psychotherapy, is presently being translated into eleven languages. He is also coauthor (with Stephen Goldbart) of Mapping the Terrain of the Heart: Passion, Tenderness, and the Capacity to Love. Dr. Wallin is a lively and engaging speaker who combines a scholarly perspective with unusual candor about his own experience as a therapist. He has lectured on attachment and psychotherapy in Europe, Canada, and throughout the United States. For further information, you may visit his website at:www.attachmentinpsychotherapy.com

Attendees Will Learn To:

  • Utilize the attachment relationship as a crucible of therapeutic change.
  • Identify and “decode” your own attachment patterns rather than be defined or dominated by them.
  • Detect the collusions and collisions that arise where your attachment patterns intersect with those of the patient.
  • Integrate, in yourself and the patient, the mindfulness and reflection (mentalizing) conducive to awareness, flexibility and change.
  • Identify attachment-based obstacles to dealing effectively with the financial dimension of the therapeutic relationship.


8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and check-in
9:00 – 10:30 What Attachment Research Teaches Us About Therapy
How We Co-Create a Secure Base and Safe Haven
How We Recognize Patterns of Attachment
How We Work with Unspoken and Unspeakable
Experience: The Evoked, Enacted, and Embodied
How We Move From Embeddedness to Mindfulness and Mentalizing
Attachment Relationship as a Dynamic System: Changing our Patients Through Changing Ourselves
10:30 — 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:00 Why Focus on the Therapist?
The Myth of the “All-Good” Therapist
Beyond "Countertransference"
The Therapist's Attachment History As a Source of
Impasse, Inspiration, and Change
Trauma and the Therapist
Identifying the Therapist's Attachment Patterns
12:00—1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:00 – 2:30 The Therapist’s State(s) of Mind with Respect to Attachment
The Therapist in a Secure State of Mind
The Therapist in a Dismissing State of Mind
The Therapist in a Preoccupied State of Mind
The Therapist in an Unresolved State of Mind
How the Attachment Patterns of Patient and Therapist Interlock
Mismatches, Collusions, Collisions—and Collaboration
Enactments Around Money: The (False) Dichotomy of Care-giving and Fee-taking
2:30—2:45 Break
2:45—4:00 Mindfulness and Mentalizing in Action: Exploring Interacting Attachment Patterns as They Unfold
Activating Mindful and Reflective States
Loosening the Grip of Attachment Patterns in Therapist and Patient
Working with the Therapist’s Attachment Patterns As an Antidote to "Burnout"
Bringing It All Together: The Therapist’s Psychology,
Nonverbal Experience, Mindfulness, Mentalizing And Change
4:00—4:30 In Conclusion: Discussion With Audience

Who Should Attend:

Psychologists, Psychiatrists, MFTs, LCSWs, Counselors


This event is sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars to provide 6 CE hours

Satisfactory Completion
Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in, attended the entire seminar, completed an evaluation, and signed out in order to receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.

R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program. (6) hours.
Social Workers
CA: Course meets the qualifications for (6) hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Provider #PCE418.
MA, MN, RI: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors to offer continuing education for certified counselors. We adhere to NBCC continuing education guidelines. Provider #6375. (6) hours.
Marriage and Family Therapists
CA: Course meets the qualifications for (6) hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Provider #PCE418.
MA, RI:This activity has been certified by the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc. for professional continuing education, (6) hours of credit. Certification # PC-028165.
MN: An application for this activity has been filed with the Minnesota Board of Marriage & Family Therapists for (6) hours of credit. Approval # pending.  Approval #CE:2012-076.
Chemical Dependency Counselors
CA: Provider approved by CFAAP/CAADAC, Provider #4N-00-434-0212 for (6) CEHs. CAADAC is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states. MA, MN, RI: Provider approved by NAADAC Approved Education Provider Program for (6) contact hours. Approval #000654.
CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for (6) contact hours.
Disability Access: If you require ADA accommodations please contact our office 30 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification.
Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

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