Parent-Child Attachment from Infancy through Adolescence

This event has been cancelled. If you have any questions, please contact the event planner directly.

A Relational Lens for Prevention and Treatment in  Pediatric and Mental Health Settings 

A day of interdisciplinary learning and dialogue for pediatric, mental health and public health professionals interested in the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.




MIP Transparent 




UMass Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship 



Conference Faculty: Monica Bassette; Renee Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD; Julie Dollinger, MD, FAAP; Shani Dowd, LCSW; Claudia M. Gold, MD; Kathryn Litwin, MD; Norka T. Malberg, PsyD; Jacquie Olds, MD; Susan Phillips, PhD; Arietta Slade, PhD; & Charlie Slaughter, MPH

Children of all ages need to feel understood, cherished and supported by their caretakers in order to develop a sense of security essential to lifelong mental health. An abundance of evidence now points to the foundational significance of secure parent-child attachment for the development of mentally healthy, resilient and compassionate adults. Conversely, problems with attachment are linked to a myriad of poor outcomes in mental and even physical health starting in childhood and lasting all the way into old age.

Despite this, much of the scientific knowledge about parent-child attachment still exists in silos. Ongoing parent-child relational factors are often overlooked in models of direct care, even though these very factors may be contributing to increasingly entrenched and distressed patterns. Crucial opportunities for repairing and strengthening attachment while both parent and child are still deeply affecting one another are thereby lost.

This conference will address this gap between knowledge and practice by bringing together leaders in contemporary attachment theory and practice, and those on the front lines from pediatric, mental and public health fields to teach and learn about parent-child attachment from infancy through adolescence. We will learn about ways to bolster or repair the security of that attachment in pediatric and mental health treatment settings. We strongly believe this awareness gives us our best chance to intervene effectively together to prevent the development of mental health disorders, both across childhood and into adulthood.

Specific learning objectives:

1. Summarize the core principles of attachment theory.
2. Explain the connection between fear/threat/dysregulation and insecure modes of attachment, along with its impact on a child’s development over time. 
3. Explain the concepts of reflective function and mentalization and how they can play a role in treatment of behavioral, attentional and emotional regulation problems from infancy through adolescence.
4. Explain how research from the Still-Face experiment has implications for understanding the development of trust in the parent-child relationship.
5. Provide some examples of how derailments in secure attachment can be transmitted across generations, and how this knowledge can be incorporated into work with parents and their children.
6. Explain how Circle of Security-Parenting (COS-P) is being used to create an attachment lens in one Connecticut pediatric practice, and more broadly at a statewide level in Connecticut.
7. Describe some of the challenges of bringing an attachment lens to pediatric and mental health care for teens and their parents, and ways to address these in pediatric and mental health settings.  

Program Code: PCA6
Credits: 6
Fees: $175 for standard registration. See Fees tab for more details about early registration and students/fellows/interns/retirees/unemployed registration pricing.
Lunch will be available for purchase in the NWH cafeteria


  • When

  • Saturday, March 14, 2020
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital
    Shipley Auditorium
    2014 Washington St.
    Newton, Massachusetts 02462

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