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Digital Seminar

DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE, ATTACHMENT AND COMPLEXITY - Practice-focused concepts and tools to address risk, perpetration and prevention.


Domestic violence is often complex: the intersection of multiple lives, histories and contexts. When it comes to prevention/intervention, this heterogeneity presents formidable challenges. When viewed from a few selected perspectives the evident complexity offers new opportunities. One promising approach to such complexity has been research into the identification of developmental pathways and risks associated with domestic violence (DV) and family violence (FV). Such an approach provides at least two benefits: (1) an understanding of antecedents and possible risk (sometimes causal ones via longitudinal studies) and (2) a model to comprehend complexity in current experience.

Attachment Theory has been increasingly employed in mental health and forensic research contexts to better understand risk and resilience. This is also increasingly the case with domestic violence. Attachment Theory has demonstrated evidence for differences in how people experience close relationships and engage emotions more generally. The seminar will therefore look at attachment and DV from multiple perspectives: childhood exposure to family trauma (including DV), intergenerational risks for violence in romantic relationships, considerations of gender and sexual orientation, within couple dynamics, as well as perpetrator and victim individually.  

The seminar will present a survey of the latest research on risks for DV including both the attachment relationship level as well as the more general attachment styles of emotion regulation. Indeed, attachment anxiety would appear to be the most cited risk factor for DV. Why might this be the case will be elaborated. Equally, particular focus will be given to new insights into maladaptive ‘disorganisation’ in romantic relationships, which may encompass the less secure responses including attachment anxiety but in a more chaotic volatile, disorganised manner. Participants will also be introduced to or provided a brief refresher on the expanding range of assessments and measurements—some now available on-line.

With concepts and tools in hand, the workshop will turn to a review of attachment informed preventions and interventions. First, light will be shown on how prevention work has been applied with children at intergenerational risk for violence—i.e., where violence between parents is present. Children’s attachments to parents have been shown to be correlated with their own disposition to violence. Hence intervention options as future prevention research will be highlighted. The workshop next turns to work with adults in the context of romantic relationships. Participants will gain an understanding of how attachment differences may play out in terms of risk and perpetration. Clarification of contraindications for couple treatment and differentiation of mutual violence will be addressed. Additionally, practical insights will be offered from attachment work with individuals as well as insights from attachment-informed couple therapy.  [N.B. This seminar is not formal forensic training but rather is focussed on expanding knowledge of the typical mental health to provide support and therapy for individuals and where appropriate for expanding couple interventions.



PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 6.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Understand possible impacts of attachment development for perpetrators and victims.
  2. Grasp key relationship variables considered in the research.
  3. Identify risks children may face who are exposed to DV and FV.
  4. Differentiate attachment features in DV from more adaptive relationships.
  5. Understand crucial safety requirements when working with DV.
  6. Gain insights from EFT work with couples and individuals.
  7. Support victims and their children via increased assessment capabilities, new avenues for clinical psychoeducation and skills for responding to trauma.

"The seminar provides mental health practitioners who may lack current  knowledge in working with DV with current evidence-based attachment considerations for working with couples, families, and children. Kevin Keith


How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Gain an updated view on Attachment Theory including research evidence relevant for working with Domestic Violence, and enhance ability to support people impacted by DV.
  • Be able to identifying diverse developmental pathways that may lead to risks for perpetration, victimisation and as well the impacts of childhood exposure to domestic violence.
  • Understand newer approaches to treatment based in part on insights provided Attachment Theory research into Domestic Violence



Morning Session (includes a short morning tea break)

  • Two overlapping strands of research: Domestic / Family Violence and Attachment Theory (including discussions of ‘traumatic bonding’).
  • Application of a Developmental Pathways Approach for Understanding Risk: Implications for Abused, Abuser, Romantic Relationships, Children and Family Systems

Afternoon Session (includes a short afternoon tea break)

  • Attachment based family and couple interventions along with safety recommendations.
  • Working with individuals as alternative or compliment to couple work.

Evaluation and post-test - your payment includes a free post-test which when completed with a minimum of 80% correct answers, will enable you to download your Attendance Certificate.

To complete the test, please log into your account at and click the orange "Certificate" button under the program's title. 

For live webcasts, post-tests must be completed within one week of viewing the program. (There is no deadline to complete the post-test for digital downloads)

Target Audience

This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists.

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