Dyadic Developmental Practice and Psychotherapy (DDP)

Dafna Lender

Program Goals

This is an introductory 4-day course on Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, the intervention model developed by Dr. Daniel Hughes. The goal is for therapists and other professionals to understand and effectively support children, young people and their families. In this model, theory and research in the areas of developmental trauma, attachment theory, intersubjectivity and child development are integrated to produce a therapeutic approach used for relationship development and trauma resolution. DDP recognizes the vital role which adoptive parents, foster carers and residential workers play as primary attachment figures in the recovery of traumatized, attachment-resistant childrenThe principles and interventions are presented through formal presentations, discussion, videotape of sessions, role-play, and handouts.

Program Schedule

Day One: 7 Hours

9:00-12:00 (Break from 10:15-10:30):

Formal presentation of theory and research around attachment and trauma: secure attachment is a protective factor and disorganized attachment is a risk factor for psychopathology developmental and complex trauma. The polyvagal theory: open & engaged vs. defensive Intersubjectivity; primary & secondary.  The three components of intersubjectivity

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-5:00 (Break from 2:45-3:00):

Principles of treatment and parenting that derive from the theories & research related to attachment, intersubjectivity, and trauma: PACE (playful, accepting, curious, empathic) Complications associated with the treatment of shame and terror. DVDs of treatment sessions, case examples and role-play are utilized.

Day Two: 7 Hours

9:00-12:00 (Break from 10:15-10:30):

  • Affective-Reflective Dialogue
  • Nonverbal-Verbal communication
  • Follow-Lead-Follow
  • Connection-Break-Repair
  • Experiential to Reflective
  • Maintaining the Momentum and Depth of Dialogue
  • Talking With, Talking For, Talking About
  • Place for Problem-Solving/Suggestions
  • Role-Play Demonstration:  Parent and child.

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:30 Role-Plays in Groups of 3-4, Parent and child.

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-5:00 Principles and Interventions of working with parents

  • The working alliance: Trust and Safety
  • The parenting history
  • The attachment history
  • DVDs of treatment sessions, case examples, and role-play are utilized.

Day Three: 7 Hours

9:00-12:00 (Break from 10:15-10:30):

  • Blocked Care
  • Monologue Venting
  • Role-Play Demonstration:  Parent Alone

10:30-12:00 Role-Plays in Groups of 3-4, Parent alone.

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-5:00 (Break from 2:45-3:00):

  • Principles and interventions of parenting children & youthwith trauma-attachment problems
  • PACE
  • The Two Hands of Discipline
  • The 28/28 Ss  (Alternate)
  • Repair
  • DVDs of treatment sessions, case examples, and role-play are utilized.

Day Four: 7 Hours

9:00-12:00 (Break from 10:15-10:30):

  • Various foundations for an evidence-base to interventions
  • Similarities and Differences with other treatments
  • Assessment and diagnostic questions
  • Education

10:30-12:00 Role-Plays in groups of 3-4 (Parent-Child, one session/switching roles)

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-5:00 (Break from 2:30-2:45):

  • Relationships with other professionals
  • Final Summary and discussion
  • DVDs of treatment sessions, case examples, and role-play are utilized.

Course Objectives


  1.  Participants will list 5 areas of attachment security that are

protective factor in situations of childhood trauma

  1.  Participants will list 3 basic attachment principles of attachment and intersubjectivity as they apply to individual and family treatment focused on trauma and attachment problems
  1.  Participants will develop plan for specific therapy client that are based on attachment and trauma theory and research
  1.  Participants will name 4 aspects of the role of the caregiver in the treatment of children with trauma and attachment problems
  1.  Participants will develop 3 specific parenting  interventions to facilitate attachment security and trauma resolution within the home.

General Course Information

The principles and interventions are presented through formal presentations, discussion, videotape of sessions, role-play, and hand outs.

Clinical case discussions will adhere to HIPPA regulations regarding client confidentiality.

This course is suitable for mental health professionals, child and youth workers, caregivers or teachers working with children with attachment issues. This training is also relevant for therapists and clinicians who want to increase their skill set of attachment focused treatment. The model is relevant for those working with children aged four through to adult years. This is phase one of certification in DDP Training and is limited to 24 participants.

The program is [Examples: Beginning Level of DDP training meant for beginning to advanced clinicians.

This event is co-sponsored by Starbright Training Institute and the Institute for Continuing Education.  Starbright Training Institute is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Provider No. 96-029).

Additional CE units, not specific to play therapy, will be provided through the Commonwealth Educational Seminars (commonwealthseminars.com).  There is an additional $30 fee for social work, counseling, MFT, and psychology CEs and checks are made out to Starbright Training Institute (or cash paid at training, no credit cards).

For information about continuing education credit, fees, and deadlines for cancellations/refunds, please see https://starbrighttraininginstitute.com/. It is the participant's responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.

Myriam Goldin, LCSW, RPT-S is Director of Starbright Training Institute.  Phone:  703-980-2886.  Email: mgoldin@gilinstitute.com

Grievance Policy

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) seeks to ensure equitable treatment of every person and to make every attempt to resolve grievances in a fair manner. Please submit a written grievance to: your name, email, and phone. Grievances would receive, to the best of our ability, corrective action in order to prevent further problems.

Accommodations for the Differently Abled

Starbright Training Institute’s training facilities are handicap accessible. Individuals needing special accommodations please contact the Director of Starbright Training Institute. See contact information above.

Course Instructor Contact Information

Name: Dafna Lender, MSW, LCSW

Bio: Dafna Lender is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field of child welfare and child mental health for 20+ years. Dafna serves as the program director at The Theraplay® Institute in Evanston, IL and is certified as a practitioner, supervisor and trainer in both Theraplay® and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Dafna trains psychotherapists internationally in these methods and trains in three languages.

Dafna’s focus is children’s development of a secure attachment with their caregivers while resolving issues in their traumatic history. Early in her career, Dafna worked in treatment foster care and witnessed child after child “fail” out of foster placements due to difficult behavior. Children were disruptive, unsettled and unhappy, and their caregivers felt defeated. Dafna’s sense of discouragement went away after taking the Theraplay training and learning direct, concrete ideas and interactions that she could apply in home with her treatment families to promote healthier, stable relationships. Dafna has successfully treated children with a variety of backgrounds, including children raised in orphanages, with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, exposed to domestic violence and community violence and children of parents with chronic mental illness.

Website:  http://www.theraplay.org

Email:  dlender@theraplay.org

Phone: 847-256-7334