Please note that there are two different conference venues:
June 14/15 - Century City Conference Centre
June 16 - Kirstenbosch Conference Centre (transportation available)
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Wednesday, June 14 • 13:00 - 14:30
The Role of Secure Attachment Relationships in Fostering Development of Resilience - Cory Saunders, Dusko Miljevic, Lydia Glibota

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Symposium Summary
The Role of Secure Attachment Relationships in Fostering Development of Resilience

 Cory Saunders, Dusko Miljevic, Lydia Glibota
Childhood experiences of interpersonal trauma can have a negative impact on the developing child’s social, emotional, and psychological well-being and overall quality of life. This symposium will highlight the benefits of attachment and trauma informed therapies that support secure attachment relationships fundamental to resilience, ultimately changing a child’s life trajectory. 

Symposium Abstracts
Resilience after trauma: A neurodevelopmental perspective on the impact of abuse and neglect
Cory Saunders (Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canada)
Introduction: More than a decade of research has indicated that early developmental trauma has considerable impact on the development of the brain and adaptive behaviors necessary for functional resilience. Children who have experienced abuse and neglect exhibit difficulties that span multiple service provision sectors, including education, child protection, and mental health.
Methods: To determine the impact of early developmental trauma, the neuropsychological profiles of children seeking mental health services were examined. Children were placed into two groups matched for age, gender, and time of assessment; differentiated only by the presence or absence of a history of abuse and neglect. Both groups of children shared similar neurobiological developmental risk and cross-sector intervention needs, but the children with developmental trauma had significantly increased adverse parent-related influences on their development and exhibited more significant impairments in neuropsychological functions. Furthermore, early alterations to adverse environmental conditions led to more positive outcomes in cognitive and adaptive functioning.
Findings: Given the interplay between brain development and the environment, early intervention is necessary to promote positive growth and adaptive resilience for children with a history of abuse or neglect. To achieve this end, a collaborative effort between children’s service sectors for children with early developmental trauma is required. 

Nurturing social-emotional resiliency of children living in foster care through the use of attachment and trauma-informed therapy.
Presenter:  Dusko Miljevic (Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canada)
Co-Authors: Lydia Glibota, Cory Saunders 
Introduction: Research indicates that the majority of children living in foster care have experiences of interpersonal trauma. These experiences compromise the child’s psychological, social, and emotional development, thus negatively impacting the child’s adaptive resilience. Providing children with experiences of safe and nurturing environments promotes the development of healthy social-emotional well-being.
Methods: Children aged 4 to 6 years who were living in foster care, participated in a three week program focused on strengthening relationships, improving emotional regulation skills, and decreasing maladaptive coping strategies. The program represented a collaboration between the school board, child protective services, and children’s mental health agencies. Intervention comprised of group Theraplay® and Sunshine Circles® incorporated throughout the day. Pre- and post-intervention data was collected on social-emotional functioning and parental relationships. Following the completion of the program, a subset of participants were engaged in an intensive three-day follow-up intervention for further enhancement and consolidation of skills.
Findings: Intervention created an environment of emotionally attuned, supportive, and nurturing caregivers that resulted in children’s increased feelings of safety and social engagement.  This process resulted in increased expression of behavior, increases in parental relationship, and trust in adult relationships as a healthy mechanism to cope with environmental stressors.

Creating relationship safety using attachment based treatment to foster resiliency in parent-child dyad. 
Presenters: Lydia Glibota (Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canada)
Introduction: Children can adapt in many ways, as illustrated by a review of an 8-year old female with a history of early relational trauma involving inconsistent parental caregiving, multiple foster placements, and eventual adoption.  Internalized maladaptive coping strategies impacted her sense of safety and security, leading to an insecure attachment style.
Methods: Intervention involved the implementation of attachment focused therapies, including Theraplay®, as the primary treatment modality. Treatment focused on establishing a sense of safety within the context of the therapeutic alliance setting the foundation for security within the child and parental attachment dyad.  The use of attachment therapies afforded a supportive and safe environment encompassing, up and down regulating arousal, voice prosody, empathetic attunement and resonance, synchronization of rhythmic patterns of affect, social inclusion, grounding and positive relational interactions.   Thus, promoting safety triggered the activation of the social engagement system allowing further exploration and integration of early relational trauma. 
Findings: Overall, the formation of a secure attachment to the primary caregiver facilitated an observable decrease in maladaptive coping strategies. Improvements included an increase in eye contact, support-seeking, and the ability to discuss emotionally elevated content pertaining to interpersonal dynamics; thereby strengthening resilience and nurturing a healthy emotional development. 


Lydia Glibota

avatar for Dusko Miljevic

Dusko Miljevic

Hi there, My name is Dusko Miljevic. I am a registered Social Worker in the province of Ontario, Canada. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Masters’ degree in Social Work from the University of Windsor. I have been working in children's mental health field for... Read More →

Cory Saunders

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare-Regional Children's Centre

Wednesday June 14, 2017 13:00 - 14:30 SAST
Room 09 Century City Conference Centre