Attachment Toolbox: Strategies for Treating Attachment Disruption in Traumatised Youth


Disrupted attachment and traumatic impact are both components of complex trauma. New research in neurobiology provides insight into the impact of early trauma and disrupted attachment on brain development in the children and adolescents with whom we work. Niki Gomez-Perales, therapist and author provides hands on strategies, techniques and tools to treat these impacts, supporting neurological integration and post traumatic growth. From engaging child and caregiver, achieving stability, attachment, and coregulation skills, through trauma processing and integration, and on to creating a childhood within their developmental trajectory, this workshop utilises principles of attachment therapy, neurological integration and trauma treatment within a phase oriented framework to develop effective treatment for young clients with histories of complex trauma. Issues specific to the treatment of pre-verbal trauma, dissociative presentations and dissociative disorders will be addressed in a detailed way allowing for the application of this approach to the treatment of even the most complex and challenging traumatised young people.


Timed Outline
15 Minutes - The role of attachment in complex trauma
25 Minutes - Parenting, caregiving and relational issues
20 Minutes - Systems issues
15 Minutes - Interdependence vs independence
15 Minutes - Treatment Phase 1 - Strategies and techniques for engagement, stabilisation and enhancing attachment
45 Minutes - Treatment Phase 1 - Strategies and techniques for engagement, stabilisation and enhancing attachment continued
30 Minutes - Treatment Phase 2 - Strategies and techniques for trauma exploration and integration
15 Minutes - Treatment Phase 3 - Strategies and techniques for "developing a childhood"

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in October 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Negotiate the engagement of both young clients and their caregivers when they perceive themselves as having competing needs and agendas
  • Identify and use specific attachment focused techniques in order to build and improve the attachment relationship between the child or adolescent and their attachment figure in order to support and facilitate further treatment
  • Identify and use specific neurologically based techniques in order to assist the child or adolescent in achieving improved neurological integration, coping skills and self-regulation
  • Identify and use specific integrative techniques with children and adolescents in the exploration of traumatic memory within the support of enhanced attachment relationships
  • Support children, adolescents, and their caregivers in returning to their developmental trajectory and creating a childhood beyond their complex trauma experiences
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Niki Gomez-Perales, MSW, RSW
Presenter Bio: Niki Gomez-Perales, MSW, RSW, is an expert in the areas of children's mental health, complex trauma, attachment and dissociation. She has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of child welfare and children's mental health. For the past 20 years she has worked as a therapist in a Children's Mental Health clinic in Hamilton Ontario. Niki has lectured on Complex Trauma and Attachment with the ISST-D, the ESTD, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children, Safeguards Training for Children and Adult Services and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is an active member and Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and a winner of the ISSTD 2016 written media award for her book, "Attachment-Focused Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents: Phase-Oriented Strategies for Addressing Complex Trauma Disorders,” 2015. Routledge. Her second book, “The Attachment-Focused Toolbox: Phase-Oriented Techniques for Treating Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents,” is scheduled for release later this year.

Available Credit

  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


ISSTD Member cost:
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"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
  • ISSTD defines an emerging professional as mental health professionals who have completed an advanced degree and are in the first three years of their career (or first three years after graduation for researchers).
  • If you do not fall into one of the above categories please register as Professional/Retired. 

These prices are for Tier I countries. For a list of countries by Tier click here. If you are located in a country that falls into Tier II-VI please contact ISSTD at to receive the appropriate discount code.