Healing Relational Trauma: Sensitivity Across Patterns of Attachment

May 6, 7, 8, 2021

Registration Fees (including CEs):

$300 USD AEDP Institute Member Price (must be logged in to register)
$325 USD Non-Member Price
Scholarships (details below)
AEDP Metro DC Members (or want-to-become-members)*

Karen Pando-Mars presents:


Sensitivity and responsiveness are key to establishing attachment security. In this seminar we will explore how attachment theory and caregiver-infant interaction studies inform the therapist stance in AEDP. When we recognize the individual differences that arise with insecure patterns of attachment, in light of the fact that attunement is based on the dyadic interaction of the patient and the therapist, we can be better prepared to help each patient transform their suffering from relational wounding. Sometimes the pattern of attachment at play can challenge our capacity to be present, responsive, attuned and empathic. I propose that it is not actually the pattern itself that challenges us to feel inadequate or unable to empathize or triggers our self-at-worst attachment strategy. Rather, our reaction to the specific behavior that is manifesting in the moment may drive us outside our capacity to respond with the help that is needed. This seminar is about expanding the clinician’s capacity to respond moment-to-moment to an interaction that is co-created and informed not only by the pattern of attachment, but also by the various intersectionality’s that both therapist and patient bring to the dyad.

This seminar will identify classic blind spots that may arise with each attachment pattern. We will break down the configuration of each pattern into its affect regulation strategies and defenses, caregiver’s state of mind and its impact on self-other relational patterning, and the seeds of resilience. Video of psychotherapy sessions will illustrate how these strategies can be depicted on AEDP’s representational schemas and how we can intervene experientially to engage positive neuroplasticity. We will explore the way therapist’s sensitivity plays a part in enhancing attachment security and how metaskills can be chosen in service of the patient’s therapy. AEDP’s interventions about making the implicit explicit and making the explicit relational can be helpful to apply with specificity to each pattern of attachment. The aim of this workshop is to move towards strengthening a base of safety and connection through which our patient’s self-at-best can be engaged to gain traction and momentum for treatment.

Participants will learn:

  • -How psychotherapists can draw upon attachment theory and mother-infant interaction studies to set the conditions for building a secure base to bring patients self-at-best to the fore.
  • -The individual differences and configurations of each pattern of attachment
    -How caregiver sensitivity and responsiveness provide attachment security and the implications for the therapist stance, activity and interventions.
  • -How AEDP’s representational schemas can help therapists orient and select interventions when insecure attachment patterns arise.
  • -Therapists use of metaskills to address implicit and explicit messages that arise with each pattern of attachment.
  • -How therapist self-disclosure and affirmation can be tailored according to each attachment pattern to help patients know that they matter in the specific way that they need to know they matter

Ways to engage AEDP’s experiential focus and interventions to harness positive neuroplasticity to rewire the patient’s internal working model.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify two characteristics of avoidant patterns of attachment
  • Identify two metaskills therapists can use when patients display avoidant patterns of attachment
  • Describe two ways to intervene with dismissive defenses
  • Describe two characteristics of anxious/ambivalent patterns of attachment
  • Name two ways to regulate anxiety when clients are distressed.
  • Identify two metaskills therapists can use when patients display ambivalent patterns of attachment
  • Describe two characteristics of disorganization/unresolved trauma in patients.
  • Name two interventions for working with a patient who is processing unresolved trauma.
  • Describe two ways the therapist can intervene to help establish a secure base.
  • Name two characteristics of sensitivity.

Meet the Presenter

Karen Pando-Mars, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Rafael, California, and Senior Faculty of the AEDP Institute. She was irresistibly drawn to AEDP in 2005 and captivated by the depth and breadth of this transformational model. She immersed herself in training and consultation with Dr. Fosha and three years of core training with Dr. Frederick. Ms. Pando-Mars is one of the founders of AEDP West and chaired the AEDP Institute Education Committee from 2011-2018.

Ms. Pando-Mars‘ passionate interest in what cultivates deep connection between Self and Other has been furthered by attachment theory and related neuroscience. She is known for her presence, warmth, and the clarity of her presentations. Videotapes of her clinical work are moving and inspiring examples of how AEDP’s explicit relational and experiential practices can help patients heal from relational trauma.

Ms. Pando-Mars arrived to AEDP with background in somatic and experiential therapies, including Focusing, Biofeedback, Process-Oriented Psychotherapy, Sandtray-Worldplay, EMDR, and Authentic Movement. These influences are deeply woven throughout her work. She was a founder of The Sandtray Network and a contributing editor of its journal. As adjunct faculty at Dominican University, in San Rafael, California, she taught AEDP as the overarching theoretical model in the Alternative and Innovative Psychotherapies course.

She presents workshops on AEDP, teaches and leads Essential and Advanced Skills courses, Core training and supervision across the United States and internationally. Her publication “Tailoring AEDP interventions to attachment style,” 2016 Transformance Journal, 6 (2) is the basis for her upcoming book, which will be co-authored with Diana Fosha and published by Norton & Co.

Dates, Times, Location

Dates: Thursday – Saturday May 6 – 8, 2021

Times for each session: 11:00 00 am – 3:30 pm (North America East Coast time)

Location: Live, Online