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Digital Recording

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 Recording
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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

Christina Reese, LCPC, PhD, has been working with children impacted by trauma and their families for the last 20 years. She is a licensed clinical counselor in Maine, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and is a licensed clinical supervisor. Dr. Reese is an internationally recognized trainer for mental health professionals in creating trauma-informed schools, working with mental health in the classroom and attachment and trauma in children. She is a TBRI practitioner and owns Felicity Counseling Services. Dr. Reese authored the books Attachment, Puzzle Pieces, The Attachment Connection, Trauma and Attachment, The Socially Confident Teen, and Leveling Up.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Christina Reese maintains a private practice and has an employment relationship with Sheppard Pratt Health System. She receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Reese receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Christina Reese has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  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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