Healing Relational Trauma II: Therapist Metaskills to Guide Treatment with Each Attachment Style

Presented by AEDP Senior Faculty Karen Pando-Mars MFT

Recorded for On Demand Learning

This online seminar is for professionals and students in mental health and the healing arts and sciences including: Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists, Psychoanalysts, Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs, MD’s, Nurses, Creative Arts Therapists, and Masters & Doctoral students as well as soon-to-be licensed Interns & Trainees.

Training Description

Parts I, II and III of this seminar series are each designed to stand alone; they complement each other without duplicating material. This workshop, Part II, will focus on how therapists can better attune and resonate with patients, helping them to be seen and heard, aiming to set the conditions to establish a secure base in which our patient’s self-at-best can arise. Sometimes the patient’s attachment strategy can challenge the therapist’s capacity to be present, responsive, attuned and empathic. Clinicians often ask “Who is better suited to work with whom in terms of matching attachment styles?” I want to propose that it is not actually the patient’s attachment style itself that challenges therapists to feel inadequate or unable to empathize or triggers our self-at-worst attachment strategy. Rather, my reaction to the specific behavior that is manifesting in the moment is what drives me outside of my capacity to respond with the help that is needed. This workshop is about expanding the clinician’s capacity to respond moment-to-moment by deepening understanding about what is going on with whom and how to tailor the therapist’s stance with respect to patient’s distinctive attachment strategies.

This workshop will identify classic blind spots that get elicited by specific aspects of each attachment strategy. We will break down the configuration of each attachment style into its affect regulation strategies and defenses, caregiver hallmarks and the subsequent relational attitudes and patterning, and the seeds of resilience. Video of psychotherapy sessions will also be shown to illustrate the interplay of how these strategies can be further depicted on AEDP’s representational schemas and how we can intervene experientially to engage positive neuroplasticity. I will also describe the way therapists can use specific metaskills to address the impact of relational trauma that drive self-at-worst insecure attachment strategies. Metaskills is a term used by Amy Mindell (1995, 2002) to describe the background feeling attitudes and qualities therapists display that can be used in service of the patient’s therapy. AEDP’s interventions about making the implicit explicit and making the explicit relational can be helpful to apply with specificity to each attachment style. The aim of this workshop is to move towards establishing a base of connection through which our patient’s self-at-best can be engaged to gain traction and momentum for treatment.

By viewing this workshop, participants will learn to:

  • How psychotherapists can draw upon attachment theory and intersubjective connection to set the conditions for building a secure base to bring patient’s self-at-best to the fore.
  • The configuration of each attachment style and how the original caregiver relationship sets up self-at-best (secure) and self-at-worst (insecure) attachment strategies and what this implies for the therapist activities.
  • AEDP’s representational schemas to organize therapist activities and interventions with each attachment style.
  • Identify patient’s affect regulation strategies and how to intervene with patients who are over-regulated and patients who are under-regulated.
  • Use distinct therapist metaskills to address the implicit patterning of different attachment strategies.
  • How therapist self-disclosure and affirmation can be tailored according to each attachment style to help patients know that they matter in the specific way that they need to matter.
  • Using AEDP’s experiential focus and interventions to stimulate neural circuitry and engage the potential of positive neuroplasticity to rewire the patient’s internal working model.

Meet the Presenter

Karen Pando-Mars, MFT

Karen Pando-Mars, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Rafael, California, and Senior Faculty of the AEDP Institute. She was irresistibly drawn to AEDP in 2005 and captivated by the depth and breadth of this transformational model. She immersed herself in training and consultation with Dr. Fosha and three years of core training with Dr. Frederick. Ms. Pando-Mars is one of the founders of AEDP West and chaired the AEDP Institute Education Committee from 2011-2018.  Since 2020, Ms. Pando-Mars is a member of the AEDP DBEI (Diversity, Belonging, Equity and Inclusion Committee). Ms. Pando-Mars’ passionate interest in what cultivates deep connection between Self and Other has been furthered by attachment theory and related neuroscience. She is known for her presence, warmth, and the clarity of her presentations. Videotapes of her clinical work are moving and inspiring examples of how AEDP explicit relational and experiential practices can help patients heal from relational trauma. (Read More…)


AEDP Institute On Demand Trainings are to be viewed on your private computer or smart device. They are intentionally not downloadable; we “stream” them. So, having a high speed Internet connection is important to having a good learning experience.

This training is intended to be viewed only by mental health professionals and students in mental health or related fields. You will be asked to provide evidence of and swear to uphold your professional credentials before completing registration and payment and receiving access to the materials.

Fees & Registration

$149 USD Non-Members
$129 USD AEDP Institute Members – please login to receive the discounted price

Refund Policy, Suggestions & Grievances 


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