Attachment Narrative Therapy (ANT)

Working therapeutically with children and families with a variety of presentations including, autism, eating disorders and conduct problems. September 3rd to October 15th, 2020


The course will offer an overview of how ideas from attachment theory, systemic family therapy and narrative therapy can be integrated into work with families, couples and individuals.Contemporary developments in attachment theory, especially the Dynamic Maturational Model (DMM) will be outlined, along with illustrations of how the ANT approach offers new integrations between these three orientations.A central point of focus will be on considering attachment as a familial as opposed to a dyadic process. The approach will be illustrated with clinical examples, including work with eating disorders, couples difficulties, self-harm and autism, including a focus on complex attachment and systemic processes including the role of danger and traumatic states for families. The presentation will include video illustrations of clinical work, descriptions of case studies and group activities. There will be opportunity for participants to consider their own cases and this will be facilitated by the use of formats for exploration which offer templates for the application of the approach to participants own clinical contexts.

The ANT approach has been developed into a manualised format (SAFE) oriented for families with a child with a diagnosis of autism. It has also been developed into SAFE with Schools which applies the framework to facilitate parent-teacher communications-collaborative problem solving in relation to autism. Both approaches will be outlined along with a discussion of how they can also be applied to other clinical presentation.


  1. Gain an understanding of contemporary developments in attachment, narrative and systemic therapies
  2. Appreciate the relevance of the models for clinical formulation and intervention
  3. Understand how these are integrated in the ANT approach
  4. Be able to utilise the ANT framework to consider a range of clinical problems
  5. Gain knowledge of the application of a range of ANT approaches - formats for working with clinical problems
  6. Gain an appreciation of the interaction between danger, trauma and family attachment dynamics
  7. Gain confidence in developing aspects of the model in your own clinical practice

The Presenters

Prof Rudi Dallos is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Plymouth and has conducted research and engaged in clinical practice with families for over 30 years. He has specialised in work with children and conditions such as anorexia, autism, offending behaviours and conduct related problems. He has written several books and a variety of publications including: An Introduction to Family Therapy, Attachment Narrative Therapy, Formulation in Psychotherapy and Counselling , Working Systemically with Attachment Narratives and Don't Blame the Parents: Positive Intentions, Scripts and Change in Family Therapy. Currently he is engaged in a research trial with Becky McKenzie to develop and evaluate SAFE, an ANT based intervention for families with a child with a diagnosis of autism

Dr. Becky McKenzie is a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Plymouth and has trained in psychology and anthropology. She is trained in family therapy and has extensive research experience exploring cross- cultural processes in relation to autism. She has developed SAFE-a family-based intervention for families with a child diagnosed with autism.

The Program

The course will be presented over 6 days from 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Each day will deliver as two Zoom sessions, from 4.30-6.00pm and 6.30-8.00pm

  • Sep 3rd    Overview of ANT - Creating a Secure Base
    • Introductions - our personal and professional contexts
    • Self-reflection regarding our own attachment processes
    • Overview of the ANT model - development from Attachment Theory (DMM), narrative theory, therapy and systemic therapy
    • Applications of ANT: children and families, range of clinical contexts in which it has been employed; eating disorders, self-harm, autism, youth offending, etc.
    • Developments of ANT: manualised version for autism (SAFE) and family-school model
    • Systems theory and attachments - relational cycles
    • Attachment as a relational system - from dyads to triads
    • Format for Exploration: Tracking positive and problematic cycles
  • Sep 10th  Exploration and Formulation
    • Formats for exploration,
    • Attachment theory, dispositional representation, representational systems
    • Co-constructing a secure base
    • Meanings and Representational Systems
    • The stages of the ANT model
    • Attachment Narratives: Using the Adult Attachment Interview and Meaning of the Exploring attachment narratives
    • Format for Exploration: Family Sculpts, mapping attachments and changes
  • Sep 17th   Facilitating Change
    • Representational systems and levels of change
    • Difficulties, attempted solutions and attachments
    • Re-constructing narratives
    • Complex attachment patterns
    • Trauma and Loss
    • Format for Exploration: Corrective and Replicative Scripts
  • Sep 24th   Maintaining Connections
    • Anticipating future challenges
    • Family life cycle and attachment
    • Changes: Trauma and Loss
    • Trans-generational patterns, corrective and replicative scripts
    • Format for Exploration: Reflective Conversations - Structured Reflective Conversations
  • Oct 8th     Developments of ANT :  SAFE and SAFE with Schools
    • Overview of SAFE and SAFE with Schools
    • Research programme
    • Development of a manualised form of ANT
    • Application in the context of autism
    • The SAFE structure
    • Creating a Secure Base : ANT and Multi Family Therapy
    • Format for Exploration: Exploring "meltdowns", externalising autism
  • Oct 15th    SAFE and SAFE with Schools
    • Parents' working model of the child
    • Exploring the autism discourse
    • Trans-generational patterns: trauma and loss
    • Separation : Home-School dynamics
    • SAM: Self-Autism Mapping

Cost A$ 1,100 - Click here to register