Working with Complex Developmental Trauma

Working with Complex Developmental Trauma: Insights and applications from attachment theory, emotion regulation and interpersonal neurobiology.

Trauma usually occurs in the context of relationships. Developmental stuckness can be the outcome of severe early trauma. With recent research in the field of neuroscience we have come to understand the hopefulness of neuroplasticity to heal early wounding in the brain. Our understanding of how trauma disrupts the neural pathways connecting the limbic brain with the neo-cortex, has meant that the client’s attachment to an emotionally safe therapist can act as the integrating factor, allowing for co-regulation of overwhelming emotions to enable the client’s ultimate healing process of self-regulation.  Attachment theory, which was originally construed as a trauma theory, has now come to be understood as an emotion-regulation theory. In this workshop I will be drawing on the work of Bessel Van der Kolk in terms of the body’s role in healing trauma; the work of interpersonal neurobiologists, Allan Schore’s notion of right-brain to right-brain co-regulation of emotion; Daniel Siegel’s concept of integration (differentiation and linkage) as well as an attachment model developed by the Canadian Developmental psychologist, Gordon Neufeld to highlight how I have work with clients who have suffered complex developmental trauma.

Ruth is going to be presenting this 60 minute workshop at PACFAs 2019 conference in Sydney- Feb 24th from 1:40-2:40 pm

at Aerial UTS Function Center University of Technology, Sydney

Feb 22-24th 2019

to register go to


Trinity as FOO retreat

Dr Ruth Lawson-McConnell (PhD Counselling Psychology) is a counsellor, trainer and clinical supervisor, who has trained and worked in the UK, Canada and New Zealand. She was born and grew up in the Amazon region of Brazil where her Scottish parents were missionaries for 36 years. Her areas of specialism include attachment-based counselling, neuro psychotherapy, working with partners of sex addicts and betrayal trauma. Ruth is a Professional Associate of the Neufeld Institute, having trained with Gordon Neufeld in Vancouver in the Developmental Attachment paradigm. She is a Parent Consultant on emotional and behavioural issues related to attachment dynamics in children/teens. She has published articles and book chapters, and has lectured in England, New Zealand and Australia; she is a popular conference speaker and workshop presenter. She lives in Auckland with her two adult daughters, a labradoodle and two cats.

 Email Ruth to be put on the mailing list when details become available:



22 - 24 Feb 2019


08:00 - 18:00


Ruth Lawson-McConnell
Ruth Lawson-McConnell
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