PTSD & Attachment Theory. A one day workshop with Dr Felicity de Zulueta



London, 22 November 2014 (Saturday)
10:00AM – 4:00PM
King’s College, Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH

This practical workshop, led by Dr Felicity de Zulueta – one of UK’s leading experts on PTSD and complex PTSD – begins by discussing the latest diagnostic criteria for simple PTSD, and its dissociative manifestations, otherwise known as complex PTSD as they are presented in the new DSM V. She  follows on  by showing how an  understanding of PTSD and complex PTSD from an attachment perspective, allows one to make sense of both the psychological and somatic  symptoms clients/ patients  present with as well as the recent epigenetic findings relating to transmission of PTSD down the generations  and the links with borderline personality disorder and other dissociative  disorders.


By blending her clinical experience with Attachment research, Dr Zulueta outlines the process by which psychotherapeutically trained practitioners can assess and prepare traumatised clients for the ‘journey of therapy‘ whilst bearing in mind their need for emotional regulation and a sense of security. The workshop discusses different therapeutic approaches to stabilisation & treatment of PTSD and the way severe traumatic attachments can lead to resistance to change. Viewing the assessment and treatment of PTSD through the lens of Attachment Theory, the workshop helps practitioners understand how a rupture in the capacity to attune is fundamental to our understanding of traumatised individuals, while also providing practical new approaches to therapy for both complex and developmental PTSD.


Dr Felicity de Zulueta is Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Traumatic Studies at Kings College London.  She is a Group Analyst and Systemic Family Therapist and has published papers on the subjects of PTSD, BPD and dissociative disorders from an attachment perspective. She developed and headed the Traumatic Stress Service in the Maudsley Hospital which specialises in the treatment of people suffering from Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder including borderline personality and dissociative disorders.


Dr Zulueta is the author of the book From Pain to Violence; the traumatic roots of destructiveness (2nd updated edition published by John Wiley and Sons, March 2006). She is a founder member of WAVE, the International Attachment Network and the Mindful Policy Group. She works as a free-lance consultant psychotherapist with training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, systemic family therapy, group analysis, EMDR and Lifespan Integration.

Workshop Schedule


10:00AM: Session 1:

An Attachment approach to PTSD


In this first introductory session of the day, we consider the expressions of PTSD and look at:

  • How attachment theory helps us comprehend PTSD
  • Is there a relationship to Borderline personality disorder and co-morbid depression?
  • The transmission of vulnerability to PTSD down the generations
  • Implications in terms of future generations particularly in relation to violence
  • Recent research in epigenetics and the neurobiology of complex PTSD
  • Understanding PTSD in terms of an attunement disorder and what this implies for potential therapeutic approaches


11:30AM: Coffee Break 


11:45AM: Session 2: New therapeutic approaches for PTSD


This session builds on the theoretical discussions of the previous session and we look at:

  • Contemporary therapeutic approaches such as trauma-focused CBT, EMDR and other new therapies that are being used in treating PTSD
  • Identifying the differences between PTSD, Complex PTSD, borderline disorders and dissociative disorders
  • Recognising complex, undiagnosed attachment disorders that may be impeding therapy


1:15PM: Lunch (a light lunch is provided as part of the workshop)


2:15PM: Session 3: Attachment informed therapeutic approaches for PTSD


In the last session of the day, we look at the therapeutic implications including:

  • The effective assessment of PTSD
  • Current contemporary approaches to working with complex PTSD and dissociative disorders using a phased approach
  • The importance of traumatic attachment and dissociation in making sense of destructive behaviour
  • Attachment informed therapeutic approaches and length of therapy


4:00PM: Close




questions about the workshop? Call us at: + 44 20 3290 5622 or write to:


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