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Digital Recordings

Creating Secure Attachment in Teens: Balancing Interdependence & Autonomy

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Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC
1 Hour 30 Minutes
May 06, 2021
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Digital Recordings - Also available: DVD


Attachment in the teen years can be challenging to navigate. As a child transitions to adolescence, their primary attachment with caregivers now shifts to peers.

They reach for autonomy and freedom, some of which they are not ready for.

Parents must balance giving just enough but not too much freedom, modelling interdependence and relationship health…setting the child up for success instead of hard life lessons. If there’s been an attachment trauma, or other trauma, this will impact the parent-child relationship in ways that can exacerbate mental health challenges. The transition of the teenage years can then become complicated.

You’ll learn to:

  • Discover ways that parents can encourage appropriate autonomy seeking
  • Heal attachment trauma if it is present
  • Help children to understand the shift in attachment taking place during the teen years
  • Explain interdependence versus independence
  • Implement interventions to use with teens and families to promote healthy attachment and avoid attachment ruptures!



This online program is worth 1.5 hours CPD.


Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC's Profile

Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC Related seminars and products

Dr. Christina Reese, LCPC, has been working with children and their families for over 20 years and uses play therapy, art therapy and cognitive behavior therapies to help families solve problems. She has been the director of an outpatient mental health clinic and has worked in private practice, as a court ordered therapist and in residential treatment centers. She works with a variety of diagnoses from ADHD to Oppositional Defiant Behavior, Bipolar and Mood Disorders, and Attachment Disorders. She has her PhD in Counselor Education from George Washington University and is a licensed clinical supervisor. Dr. Reese has authored 5 books about attachment and trauma.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Christina Reese has an employment relationship with Mosaic Community Services.  She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Christina Reese has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

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Program Information


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  1. Recognize how maladaptive attachment impacts clients’ connections and exacerbates mental health symptoms including anxiety, depression, opposition, defiance and mood stability.
  2. Determine the risk factors of developing insecure attachment: parental substance misuse or abuse, a mental health diagnosis in the parent or child, a child with a history of abuse or neglect, and more.
  3. Distinguish attachment patterns that are healthy versus those that are rooted in trauma.
  4. Demonstrate strategies to meet physical, emotional and mental needs to build attunement.


The Art of Compromise

  • Parents Promoting Interdependence – Being the Safe Place and Secure Base
    • Recognizing when Attachment with Parents has been Impacted by Trauma
    • Relationship between Attachment and Mental Health
  • Avoiding Attachment Ruptures
    • Encouraging interdependence and autonomy
    • Understanding needs
  • Exploring and Expanding Peer Relationships
    • Healthy and positive attachments
    • Compromise and other social skills

Power Sharing, not Power Struggling

  • Timeline for Success
    • Parents moving into the consultant role
    • Teens earning freedom by being responsible and earning trust
    • Teaching recovery and problem solving

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Educators
  • Other Mental Health Professionals
  • Occupational Therapists


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