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EMDR and Practical Strategies for Problems of Attachment and Dissociation in Children and Adolescents – Central Time – Debra Wesselmann

October 18 - October 19


Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP 

Co-founder of The Attachment and Trauma Center of Nebraska and has specialized in treating attachment trauma for 33 years. Ms. Wesselmann is an EMDR trainer with the EMDR Institute and is on the editorial board for The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. 


October 18
October 19
$300.00 – $425.00
Event Category:

14 CEU Credits

Course Description:

Severe attachment trauma during pivotal moments of development has profound impact on social and emotional development for children and adolescents. Tragic histories of abandonment, abuse, and neglect leave children operating in an automatic self-protective mode, designed by nature for purposes of survival. The associated symptoms including dysregulation, regression, and dissociation are triggering for caregivers and are obstacles in therapy.

This presentation provides practical methods for recognizing non-secure and disorganized attachment patterns in the therapy office and therapeutic approaches that are secure-based and reflective for moving children and parents towards healthier functioning. Family therapy and EMDR resource strategies will be presented for strengthening children’s and adolescents’ most mature state and deepening a sense of trust and closeness with their caregivers. EMDR resource methods for creating internal safety and nurturing for children’s younger hurt parts will be explored. Participants will gain skill in writing an EMDR therapeutic story based on the Lovett method. This will help children make sense of heart-breaking events, and they will discover advanced therapeutic approaches for helping children and guiding parents in the case of more extreme dissociative symptoms, such as frequent and severe regressed behaviors. They will gain strategies for EMDR reprocessing phases with children who are easily triggered or overwhelmed to bring them relief regarding their most difficult traumas and present-day triggers.

Objectives Day One:

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify signs of problematic attachment patterns between child and caregivers/parents in the therapy office.
  • Name at least two obstacles to the therapy process frequently encountered in treating children affected by attachment trauma.
  • Name at least two rationale for integrating EMDR therapy with family therapy in the treatment of children with a history of attachment trauma.
  • Name at least three characteristics of a mentalizing state.
  • Implement at least three family therapy activities for assisting children with the development of mindfulness and emotion regulation.
  • Describe steps for EMDR resource development and installation to enhance a mature state for children affected by attachment trauma.
  • Utilize language that normalizes the concept of “a younger part of self on the inside” for children and parents as part of psycho-education in treating children with early attachment trauma.
  • Name at least four Messages of Love questions for parents that help create positive feelings of closeness for the child during an EMDR Attachment Resource Development activity.
  • Utilize language that creates Magical Cord of Love imagery for secure connection during an EMDR Attachment Resource Development activity.

Objectives Day Two:

Participants will be able to:

  • Name two rationale for implementing the domino activity within a parent and child family therapy session.
  • Describe rationale for initiating the Jobs of Moms and Dads activity.
  • Describe the steps of the Communication Game for increasing understanding of one another.
  • Describe rationale for the Past-Present-Future activity.
  • Identify at least two rationale for writing a therapeutic story for a child with a history of attachment trauma.
  • Name two ways in which children may benefit from the presence of parents during EMDR trauma reprocessing.
  • Name a rationale for EMDR reprocessing of present triggers prior to reprocessing a child’s past.
  • Describe a method for implementing future templates that enhances learning and improves engagement with children.
  • Name three types of interweaves that can assist children through stuck points during reprocessing phases.
  • Describe EMDR resource development steps with inspirational or supportive figures for enhancing the grounded, present, mature state in highly dissociative.

Agenda Day One:

8:00-8:30 Check in

  • Diving into problematic attachment patterns between parents and children
  • Making sense of behavior and symptoms through attachment and trauma lens
  • Initial engagement of parents and caregivers
  • Q & A

10:15-10:30 BREAK

  • The basics of the integrative family therapy and EMDR therapy approach
  • Use of therapist self/therapist mentalization
  • History-taking and treatment planning
  • Q & A

12:00-1:00 LUNCH

  • Family work
    • Parent/caregiver psycho-education
    • Brain and body work
    • Talking to parents about dissociation
    • Reassurance for “smaller self on the inside”
  • Q & A

2:30-2:45 BREAK


  • Foundational EMDR resourcing activities
  • Attachment Resource Development Activities
    • Messages of love
    • Cord of love/circle of caring
    •   PRACTICUM circle of caring
    • Safety for the smaller one on the inside
    • Reinforcing state shift (Self-regulation Development and Installation)


  • Summary and discussion

Agenda Day Two:

8:00-8:30 Check in

  • More family therapy work
    • Dominos
    • Jobs of moms and dads
    • Communication activity
    • Past-present-future
  • EMDR therapeutic story
    • The timeline
    • The outline
  • Q & A

10:15-10:30 BREAK

  • Stories continued
    • Sample stories for heartbreaking situations
    • PRACTICUM: Writing exercise
    • Share stories/Q & A
  • EMDR reprocessing phases
    • EMDR present trigger work

12:00-1:00 lunch

  • Trauma work
    • Piecework
    • Keeping parents present
    • Prepare parents
    • Beginning EMDR phases 3-8 with support and safety

2:30-2:45 BREAK

  • When child is stuck/looping
    •  Empowerment, time orientation, and interactive interweaves
  • Signs of severe dissociation
    • Parent homework with dissociative children
    • Additional work with highly dissociative children


  •     Summary and discussion  


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Licensed - Early Bird
Early Bird Pricing available until 9/27/2024 Regularly $425
$ 350.00
$ 425.00
Non Profit/Intern - Early Bird
Early Bird Pricing available until 9/27/2024 Regularly $375
$ 300.00
Non Profit/Intern
$ 375.00

Completion of an EMDRIA Approved Basic Training. If you did not receive your EMDR Basic Training form the EMDR Institute, please submit proof of completion (certificate of completion) of an EMDRIA Approved Basic Training to registration@emdr.com.

Terms and Conditions

21+ days prior - transfer or full refund

1-20 days prior - transfer or refund; $50 fee

Day of / no show - transfer only; $75 fee