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Attachment Ruptures and Repair in Children & Adolescents

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David Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S |  Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S
1 Hour 32 Minutes
May 06, 2021
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Digital Recording
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Attachments are not easily made by those who experience disrupted early attachments, and typically only develop after significant struggle, ambivalence, and taking tentative steps towards connection - as not to alienate.   

Of course, the other side of the coin is that once making such hard-earned connections, giving them up at termination is another significant therapeutic challenge (Gil & Crenshaw, 2017). 

Join David Crenshaw, PhD, RPT-S, as he teaches you how to… 

  • Use an invitational approach to attachment trauma in youth
  • The Concept of Relational Trauma (Allan Schore, 2012) and its contribution to potential cumulative deprivation throughout life
  • Adopt Stealth Therapy in work with these reluctant youth
  • Plan for and work through the Crisis of Connection 
  • Utilize the analogy of Fawns in Gorilla Suits in therapeutic work with youth and caregivers, teachers, and families
  • Prepare for and work through grief and loss issues at termination 



This online program is worth 1.75 hours CPD.



David Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S's Profile

David Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S Related seminars and products

David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, is Clinical Director of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. He is Past-President of the New York Association for Play Therapy, a Board-Certified Clinical Psychologist; a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychology, and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor. Dr. Crenshaw has taught graduate courses in play therapy at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University. He was honored with the Excellence in Psychology Award in 2009, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 by the Hudson Valley Psychological Association. In 2018, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the NY Association for Play and in 2021 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the NY Association for Play Therapy. The author/editor/co-editor of 17 books, numerous book chapters, and journal articles on child aggression, play therapy and child trauma, his latest book co-edited with Cathy Malchiodi is What to Do When Children Clam-Up in Psychotherapy and a book co-written with Eliana Gil titled Termination Challenges in Child Psychotherapy.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: David Crenshaw is the founder and director of Rhinebeck Child and Family Center LLC and the clinical director of Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. He receives royalties as a published author. David Crenshaw receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: David Crenshaw is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Play Therapy, and the New York Association for Play Therapy.

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S's Profile

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S Related seminars and products

Clair Mellenthin, LLC

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S, is an international speaker, author, psychologist, and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. Throughout her career, she has specialized in providing play therapy to children, teens, and their families. She is currently the Director of Child & Adolescents at Wasatch Family Therapy. Ms. Mellenthin frequently presents professional play therapy and family therapy trainings on Attachment-Centered Play Therapy, Family, and Trauma issues both nationally and internationally.

Ms. Mellenthin is a sought-after supervisor, training graduate students and interns in play therapy, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California MSW program. She is the past-president of the Utah Association for Play Therapy and remains an active member on the Board of Directors. She is the author of the books Attachment Centered Play Therapy; Play Therapy: Engaging & Powerful Techniques for the Treatment of Childhood Disorders; My Many Colors of Me Workbook and has authored several chapters and articles. In addition to being an experienced play therapist and professor, Ms. Mellenthin also appears on local and national TV and radio as an expert on children and family issues. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Clair Mellenthin has an employment relationship with Wasatch Family Therapy. She is a published author and receives royalties. Clair Mellenthin receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Clair Mellenthin is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Play Therapy.


  1. Analyze the concept of relational trauma.
  2. Distinguish the link between interpersonal trauma and attachment wounds.
  3. Determine 3 ways the "Crisis of Connection" can manifest in the course of therapy.
  4. Utilize the analogy of “fawns in gorilla suits” and three ways it can be used in therapy with youth and family.
  5. Determine three unique challenges of termination with youth experiencing attachment trauma.


  • Interpersonal Trauma and its Impact on Attachments
  • Intrusion – if needed, distance is not required
  • Stealth Therapy – therapy without calling it therapy
  • Crisis of connection – therapeutic relationship threatens closeness
  • Fawns in Gorilla Suits – vulnerability and protection
  • Termination challenges
  • Grief – longing for the missed attachment
  • Case Study: 2 sisters, ages 5 and 11 confronting attachment trauma in early life

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage & family therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists


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