The quality of parental attachment has a tremendous influence upon the development of attachment in children. When parents divorce, however, the attachment relationships of both parents and children often suffer greatly. Parents and children often develop psychosomatic symptoms, such as headaches, sleep disorders, and eating disorders. In addition, anxiety, depression, learning disorders and behavioral problems are often expressions of
the stress that children experience in dealing with their parents’ divorce.
The children are torn between the two parents in their attachment loyalties. Confrontations regarding custody, visitation, ongoing contact and new patchwork families represent a profound challenge to the attachment development of all involved.
What types of attachments aid parents and children in overcoming the experiences of separation and divorce? How can traumatic divorce experiences be processed? How can custody, living arrangements, contact and visitation be structured in a way that guarantees attachment security and is age-appropriate for the child? What role do sibling attachments play? How do intergenerational divorce experiences influence attachments in parents’ new partner relationships and in patchwork families? What attachment expectations do children who have experienced divorce have for their own future partner relationships and children? How could secure attachment relationships be formed among all involved?
What forms of counselling, therapy and prevention are useful for persons involved in separation and divorce conflicts in order to avoid or to process traumatic experiences? This conference will examine both healing and destructive aspects in the context of attachment, separation, divorce and new beginnings. Internationally renowned researchers and clinicians will report on their studies and experiences and indicate potential preventative strategies.
The conference is aimed at physicians of all specialties, as well as psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers and youth welfare workers. We welcome anyone who is involved in the counselling, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders in parents, infants, children and adolescents, in the context of attachment, separation, divorce and new beginnings. This includes occupational groups that care for, counsel, or are responsible for persons of all ages who come from divorced families, such as teachers, nurses, special needs teachers, adoptive and foster parents, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, pastors, jurists and politicians.
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Prof. Dr. med. Karl Heinz Brisch
Chair and Research institute in Early Life Care
at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria
Head of the Department of Pediatric Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
at the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital at the University of Munich, Germany.