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Digital Seminar

Enhancing Your Therapeutic Presence

Dafna Lender, LCSW
3 Hours 52 Minutes
Mar 23, 2019
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


While we all know that success in therapy depends on the therapist–client relationship, building that positive rapport hinges on behaviours many therapists aren’t even aware of.

Imagine bolstering your therapeutic presence by consciously amplifying behaviours that make clients feel safe, connected, and cared for.

In this playful, experiential recording, you’ll master the often nonverbal qualities of the powerful, collaborative brain state which is delineated in Polyvagal Theory as the “social engagement system,” which underlies relational experiences.


- 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 online program is worth 3.75 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Dafna Lender, LCSW's Profile

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The Theraplay Institute

Dafna Lender, LCSW, is an international trainer and supervisor for practitioners who work with children and families. She is a certified trainer and supervisor/consultant in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and an EMDR therapist. Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families with attachment in many settings: at-risk after school programs, therapeutic foster care, in-home crisis stabilization, residential care and private practice. Dafna’s style, whether as a therapist or teacher, is combining the light-hearted with the profound by bringing a playful, intense and passionate presence to every encounter. Dafna is the author of Integrative Attachment Family Therapy (2023) and co-author of Theraplay® - The Practitioner’s Guide (2020).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dafna Lender maintains a private practice. She is a published author and receives royalties. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dafna Lender is an author for Psychotherapy Networker.


  1. Implement voice, rhythm, facial expressions and touch to elicit openness and a sense of calm in clients.
  2. Apply three methods for sending safety messages to the brains of deeply mistrusting clients and improving their therapeutic engagement.
  3. Utilize techniques to surprise the brain of a guarded client with novel responses that will interrupt their automatic defensiveness and generate curiosity.
  4. Articulate exercises and activities to help angry clients feel more relaxed, open and ready to connect in a clinical setting.
  5. Determine what the social engagement system is, its basis in polyvagal theory, and its treatment implications.


Therapeutic presence-What is it?

  • Underlying biology
  • The social engagement system
  • How interacting with others can help

Developing and communicating safety and connection

  • Voice Prosidy
  • Resonance
  • Facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Touch

Play as a neural exercise in create safety and connection

  • Interventions to help client decrease defensiveness/increase sense of connection 
  • Interventions for reducing anger and producing feelings of calm

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Behavioral Health Professionals

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