Dr. Dan Hughes specialized in the treatment of children and youth who have experienced abuse and neglect and who - for the most part - now manifest serious psychological problems secondary to childhood trauma and attachment disorganization. After not being able to fully help these children with traditional treatments, he developed an attachment-focused treatment that relied heavily on the theories and research of attachment and intersubjectivity to guide his model of treatment and parenting. He is the author of many books including Building the Bonds of Attachment, 2nd edition, (2006), and Attachment-Focused Family Therapy Workbook (2011). He has provided training and consultations to therapists, social workers and parents throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia and provides regular training's at Colby College in Maine, Annville, PA, and London, UK.
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OPENING PLENARY: Building safety and trust for street-connected children and young people: within and here, you and me
Many well-meaning programmes fail in their efforts to engage the children and young people they are meant to serve. Such engagements start in the first moment of contact when communications of safety and trust will be experienced—or not. Neuroscience teaches us how to evoke an open and engaged state of mind with another person by conveying a similar state of mind ourselves. This presentation describes this process in some detail, including the need for those becoming engaged with these children and youth to experience safety themselves. For our connection to be alive, healing, and restorative, it needs to begin at the beginning, in the now and here, between you and me, with safety for both.
WORKSHOP: Assisting street-connected children and young people to know and care that they are in our minds and hearts
Having a sense that we are who we are and we have what we have makes most of us feel safe. Regardless of our circumstances, there is a sense of comfort in the routine and familiar. Regardless of how stressful, or even traumatic, our situation is, at least part of us tends to resist the efforts of others to change, fix, or rescue us. If then we are to offer service to children and young people who are street-connected, what experience of our service do we want them to have so that they might be open to receiving what we offer? This workshop presents in some detail the attitude of PACE (being playful, accepting, curious, and empathic) which communicates to the street-connected young person that we want to come to know them — with no strings attached. As they begin to experience being known and cared for — without evaluations or judgments — they are more likely to invite us to stand alongside them and to consider openly what value our service may have for them in their past, present, and future lives.