304. Trauma and Disorders of Attachment in Children: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Mood Disorders, Suicide, and Self-harm, Saturday, April 13th 8:00 – 9:30 AM ,, Workshops


Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.

CE Credits


Professional CE Credit

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Chemical Dependency Counselors

IBCC Credit

Pastoral Counselors, Pastors, Teachers, Coaches,

CME/CEU Credit

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners




Increasingly, psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, and some medical professionals are called on to assess, diagnose, and treat children and families with attachment-related difficulties. While most mental health professionals are familiar with the concept of attachment, many have difficulty distinguishing between various types of attachment insecurity and what are identified as clinical disorders of attachment. This workshop aims to promote an understanding of the DSM-5’s new conceptualization of clinical disorders of attachment. The workshop will briefly review normal attachment, its development, and how early developmental trauma, such as extremes of insufficient care, can disrupt its development, resulting in clinically significant impairment in children’s primary caregiving relationships. Learn the first signs and symptoms of both Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED), how they may co-exist with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and what kinds of treatments are effective.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

Identify the process of normal developmental attachment and how early developmental trauma can disrupt its development.

Distinguish between sub-clinical attachment insecurity and clinical disorders of attachment, and also co-existing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and other common comorbidities.

Examine evidence-based treatments for children suffering from attachment disorders and ideas for how to address clinically significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress.