Attachment Disorders Part 1: Understanding and Defining Attachment and Trauma


Mental health professionals know that the structure and function of the infant-caregiver relationship creates the fundamental building blocks of life-span development. During this sensitive period of development, the infant/toddler will learn to become comfortably attached to their caregiver and as a result the brain will organize into an optimal learning “machine.” But what happens when the infant-caregiver relationship is not healthy? In this course, you will learn about Attachment Disorder, a condition that occurs in many children who experience abuse, neglect and chaos at the hands of their caregivers during infancy and early childhood. In Part 1 of this course, you will receive an overview of past and current research and theories on the process of attachment; an understanding of the impact of early exposure to trauma on brain development and the attachment process; a symptoms check list of attachment problems; and a description of some long-term consequences for a child with AD. In the second course, you will receive suggestions for diagnostic tools of attachment disorder; details of evidenced-based and emerging interventions for attachment problems; plus suggestions for effective ways of communicating with parents who are raising a child with AD, as well as parenting practices to share with them. The complete course set will not qualify you to conduct attachment evaluations; however, you will be well-equipped to identify and assess presenting attachment problems, practice attachment-sensitive therapy, and advise families who are struggling with a mal-attached child.

Attachment Disorders Part 1: Understanding and Defining Attachment and Trauma is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 4.
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Hours: 1.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

State Of Illinois, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Marriage and Family Therapist Continuing Education Sponsor


This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

Association of Social Work Boards - New Jersey


This course is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards - ASWB NJ CE Course Approval Program Provider #37 Course #866 from 12/20/2016 to 12/20/2018. Social workers will receive the following type and number of credit(s): Clinical Social Work Practice 1.50.

New Jersey social workers not pleased with a grievance resolution provided by Relias Learning, LLC may appeal to the approving entity or their jurisdictional board.

Course Delivery Method and Format: Asynchronous Distance Learning Text-based

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-0-ADTTI1
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 4/30/2018
Learning Objectives:
Explain the developmental stage of attachment
Connect attachment to other areas of development
Differentiate normal attachment behaviors from mal-attachment behaviors
Explain the impact of early exposure to trauma on brain development and attachment
Cite research on long term consequences of exposure to trauma
Define Attachment Disorder
Identify the criteria for the diagnosis of RAD

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: All About Attachment A. Defining Attachment C. Practice: Meet Sam D. Review E. Historical Perspective of Attachment F. First Pioneers G. Section Summary H. Food for Thought Section 3: Attachment and Brain Development A. Brain Development B. Brain 101 C. Anatomy D. Section Summary Section 4: Trauma and Brain Development A. Summary of PTSD B. Trauma and the Infant Brain C. Capacities Likely Impacted by Trauma D. Dysregulated Fear: Sam E. Long Term Effects of Complex Trauma F. Section Summary G. Practice: What About Sam Now? Section 5: Trauma and Attachment A. Who’s at Risk for Attachment Problems? B. Defining Attachment Disorder C. Differential Diagnosis Quick Guide D. Symptom List E. Diagnosing Sam F. What’s First for Sam? G. Section Summary Section 6: Conclusion A. Summary

Instructor: Katharine Leslie PhD
Katharine Leslie has a doctorate in developmental psychology, and is a nationally certified family life educator, a trauma and loss specialist, an NC certified parent educator, family mediator, and embodiYoga teacher. She owns and operates a successful consulting business which includes researching and designing programs, seminars and curricula, and conducting on-site and on-line training sessions for parents, and family and child welfare professionals in social services, mental health, education, and juvenile justice. Her seminars, webinars, and curricula are approved for CEUs across the US by multiple boards and organizations/agencies. Her areas of expertise include child development, parenting education, parent-child relationships, communication and conflict resolution. She has particular expertise of the effects of abuse and neglect on the brain and subsequent developmental trajectories. She is a highly sought after national speaker and an expert witness on attachment and trauma, and best interest of child issues. Her model of in-home parent coaching has helped hundreds of stressed out families and her publications expand our understanding of parent-child relationships and introduce novel approaches to activating the social engagement circuitry of traumatized children.  Disclosure: Katharine Leslie PhD has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry and intermediate level Marriage and Family Therapists; entry and intermediate level Nurses; entry and intermediate level Professional Counselors; entry and intermediate level Psychologists; entry and intermediate level Social Workers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections, Health and Human Services, Hospital, Long Term Care; and the following practice categories: Addictions, Corrections, General Nursing, Gerontology, Home Health, Mental Health, Pain Management.
Relias Learning will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Relias Learning has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias Learning will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias Learning at
All courses offered by Relias Learning, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous Distance Learning with interactivity which includes quizzes with questions/answers, and posttests.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Learning Customer Support by calling (800) 381-2321 or emailing