Digital Recordings

Creating Secure Attachment in Teens: Balancing Interdependence & Autonomy

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Christina Reese, Ph.D., 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, Ph.D., LCPC's Profile

Christina Reese, Ph.D., LCPC Related seminars and products

Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC, has been working with children impacted by trauma for over 15 years, and has recently completed training as a TBRI Practitioner. She helps children and their families impacted by a variety of traumas, providing both in home and in school therapy to these children. Over this time, Dr. Reese has partnered with schools in Baltimore County and Baltimore City to help teachers find interventions that get results in the classroom. A passionate advocate for children and their families, she has worked with children in court ordered drug treatment at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, as week as in residential treatment centers and in the community.

Dr. Reese, a recognized attachment and trauma professional, has created a comprehensive guide that explains attachment over a lifetime. her book, Attachment: 60 Trauma-Informed Assessment and Treatment Interventions Across the Lifespan (PESI, 2018), offers trauma-informed strategies to facilitate connection, rebuild trust and restore positive emotions.

Dr. Reese is a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland and Pennsylvania as well as a licensed clinical supervisor. She received her Master's Degree in community counseling from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD and her PhD in counselor education from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Past work experiences include being director of a mental health clinic and the case manager of the Howard County Cold Weather Shelter, working with homeless individuals and families. additionally, Dr. Reese is very passionate about her work focusing on attachment and has extensive experience with adoptive families and children in foster care.


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.

Additional Info

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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