Improving Treatment Effectiveness with Attachment Theory

Overcome Treatment Resistance, Improve Affect Regulation, and Build Compassionate Self-Awareness

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD Clinical psychologist and author

About This Course

Therapy rooms are filled with clients who are in emotional pain, yet also resistant to therapists’ efforts to help them. They may suffer with depression, anxiety, PTSD, personality disorders, relationship problems, or other issues. These clients usually have an insecure attachment style that underlies their difficulties. They frequently relate to themselves and others in ways that leave them feeling essentially flawed or inadequate, often leading them to be self-critical, self-loathing, and to be sensitive to rejection. Or, they maintain emotional distance in even their closest relationships. They often perceive others as not emotionally available to them; and so they may relate in a guarded or hostile manner. These issues interfere with their ability to regulate their emotions, and they negatively impact all aspects of their lives. In their vigilant attempts to protect themselves from potential harm, they block even positive outside influence – including therapy.

The key to working effectively with these clients is to help them feel safe enough to be willing to lower their defenses. They can then take the risk of opening up to their own experience and to outside influence. An attachment-based compassion therapy approach offers a way to understand their struggles and to help them feel safer. As a theory, not a therapy, the attachment framework can also provide guidance for integrating various therapeutic approaches.

Clients are taught to increase compassionate self-awareness through building awareness in five domains (STEAM: Sensations, Thoughts, Emotions, Actions, and Mentalizing) and nurturing self-compassion. Interventions can be chosen with the goal of engaging the whole brain, creating congruence between the right and left hemispheres (bringing conflicted thoughts and feelings into alignment). Special attention is paid to helping clients regulate their emotions, and to relate positively to themselves and others. The therapeutic relationship is used to improve clients’ models of self and others, which are fundamental to secure attachment. As clients build compassionate self-awareness and develop greater security, they will become more open to interventions for other emotional and behavioral change, making this attachment-based compassion therapy approach highly effective.

This training is worth 8 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present – i.e. logged in – for live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to six months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Prior to registering, please review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.


Session 1 | October 27, 2021, 4 PM—6 PM EDT
Hour 1: Attachment Theory: An overview and important concepts for therapy
Hour 2: Attachment Styles
Session 2 | November 3, 2021, 4 PM—6 PM EDT
Hour 1: Insecure Attachment & Psychopathology; Compassionate Self-Awareness Overview
Hour 2: Attachment-Based Compassion Therapy Approach; Know Your Attachment Style & Its Affect on You as a Therapist
Session 3 | November 10, 2021, 4 PM—6 PM EST
Hour 1: The Therapeutic Relationship
Hour 2: Building Awareness in Treatment through STEAM (Sensations, Thoughts, Emotions, Actions, and Mentalizing)
Session 4 | November 17, 2021, 4 PM—6 PM EST
Hour 1: Insecure Attachment: Common themes; Building Self-Compassion
Hour 2: Nurturing Compassionate Self-Awareness; Relating Positively with Others and Developing Secure Relationships

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Describe how insecure attachment undermines healthy relationships with self and others, impairs affect regulation, and keeps people stuck in unhealthy patterns.
  2. Assess the importance of targeting insecure attachment in therapy.
  3. Explain the ways in which developing self-compassion and compassionate self-awareness can increase well-being.
  4. Choose and apply interventions that will engage the left and right hemispheres of the brain to improve hemispheric congruence and facilitate secure attachment.
  5. Discuss how to guide treatment interactions with an attachment framework.
  6. Demonstrate techniques to increase five fundamental domains of self-awareness.
  7. Apply techniques to increase the elements of self-compassion.

Continuing Education

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is jointly sponsored by Praxis CET and Institute for Better Health (IBH) and is approved for 8 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. All the planners/presenters have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselors:Indicated courses have been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 8 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.
  • National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • NY Social Workers:Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467
  • NY Counselors:Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.
  • NY Psychologists:Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.
Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
  • Physicians:This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Institute for Better Health and Praxis Continuing Education and Training. The Institute for Better Health is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Institute for Better Health designates this live internet activity for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • Psychologists:Institute for Better Health is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education to psychologists. Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.
  • Nurses:Institute for Better Health, Inc is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Institute for Better Health is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, BRN (Provider CEP#2672).
  • Educators:Institute for Better Health has been approved by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (WESPSB), a member of NASDTEC, as a Clock Hour Provider for Educators. Learners may claim one Clock Hour for each activity hour attended. Please contact your individual state boards for information regarding reciprocity and any additional requirements.
  • Social Workers please note:In many states, you may be able to self-submit this course to your board. Many states have reciprocity with other approvals offered for this course such as APA, NBCC, or NY State Social Work. Please check with your individual board for further information on what is acceptable.




Mental health professionals, beginners to intermediate.

Recommended Reading



Becker-Phelps, L. (2019). Bouncing Back from Rejection: Build the Resilience You Need to Get Back Up When Life Knocks You Down. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Bateman, A. & Fonagy, P. (2016). Mentalization-Based Treatment for Personality Disorders: A practical guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cassidy, J., & Shaver, P.R. (Eds.). Handbook of attachment, Third Edition: Theory, research, and clinical applications. The Guilford Press, 2016.

Warren, R., Smeets, E., & Neff, K. (2016). Risk and resilience: Being compassionate to oneself is associated with emotional resilience and psychological well-being. Current Psychiatry, 15, 19-33.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please email us at to cancel a registration.