DDP Certification Program

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Playful | Present | Passionate

Dafna is an international trainer and supervisor for practitioners who work with children and families. She is a certified trainer and supervisor/consultant in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families with attachment in many settings: at-risk after school programs, therapeutic foster care, in-home crisis stabilization, residential care and private practice. Dafna’s style, whether as a therapist or teacher, is combining the light-hearted with the profound by bringing a playful, intense and passionate presence to every encounter. She is as likely to break out into song as engage in serious intellectual discourse.


With the Trauma Research Foundation

Dafna is very excited to collaborate with Trauma Research Foundation to offer this complimentary workshop beginning on Wednesday, March 23. During each monthly session in this 8-part series, Dafna will focus on various challenges that parents face and how to approach parenting from a trauma informed perspective in order to promote secure attachment.

March 23, 2022 – How to regulate a child who is acting silly/chaotic
April 20, 2022 – How to provide a sense of organization and structure for a child
June 8, 2022
– How to regulate your reaction to your child
June 22, 2022
– How to respond to a child’s nonverbal signals
July 20, 2022
– How to deal with aggression and out of control behaviors
August 17, 2022
– How to validate a child’s feelings
September 21, 2022
– How to handle problem behaviors like a sore loser, a child who lies, steal

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Trauma Research Foundation
A Model Developed by Dan Hughes

Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP) Certification Program

Join Dafna Lender for a 5-day course on Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, an approach which assists therapists and other professionals to understand and effectively support children, young people and their families.

- 29, 30 de Septiembre, 1 de Octubre, 6 de Octubre, 7 de Octubre de (Spanish) (Full)
- September 13-15, 19 & 20 (Full)
- December 1-3, 8 & 9 (8 spots left)
- Jan 31, February 1, 2, 6, 7 (2023)

- January 11-13, 16 & 17 (2023) (8 spots left)
- May 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 (2023)

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Dafna DDP 2022 3


Psychotherapy Networker

How Therapists Can Support Parents and Children Impacted by Mass Shootings

To the therapists working with families who witnessed the Highland Park parade shooting on July 4th, or to any family that has witnessed gun violence, my heart goes out to you. I recently went to a Highland Park school to provide emotional first aid to affected families. I was ushered into a teacher break room, where I saw over a dozen anxious therapists looking back at me. There were donuts, coffee, bagels, and fruit. It reminded me of a shiva, the Jewish house of mourning where mourners and guests sit and wait for the initial shock and pain to subside. Every few minutes, a first-grade teacher, who was in charge of triage, would come into the room and announce, “I have a mom who wants help talking to her children about what happened,” or “I have a group of three 12-year-olds who were at the parade who want to talk.”

At each announcement, we therapists looked at each other, as if to ask, “Am I capable of doing this?” When one therapist stood up with her bag of art supplies, she turned over her shoulder, looked at me, and said, “Wish me luck.”

"Good luck," I responded, but I wish I’d responded with the French saying bon courage, which, translated literally, means "good courage."

For therapists who are helping parents process their pain after a school shooting, here are some guidelines I’ve developed after working with these parents myself....

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New Blog Post!

The Trauma Therapist Project Podcast Interview

Check out the latest interview with Guy Macpherson on his podcast The Trauma Therapist Project. They talked about Dafna's work with kids and families, her approach, experience and much more.

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Dafna Podcast Trauma Therapist Project
Online Learning

Expert Discussions

Sit down with Dafna Lender as she shares with you conversations with 3 different experts: Peter Levine, Stephen Porges, and Bessel van der Kolk.

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A conversation with
Essential Read

Theraplay: The Practioner's Guide

Theraplay is an intervention that focuses on enhancing the connection, trust and joy between a child and a parent. It involves interactive, playful activities using simple face-to-face reciprocal interactions, and involves using all of the senses, including rhythm, movement and touch.

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Theraplay book cover

Latest Blog Posts

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#49 – Posted Tuesday July, 5th 2022

How Therapists Can Support Parents and Children Impacted by Mass Shootings

Following the tragic Highland Park Parade shooting, Dafna visited a Highland Park school to provide emotional support. In this article published by Psychotherapy Networker, Dafna talks about that experience and offers therapists some guidance on how to help families heal.

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Dafna Blog US Shooting July 2022
#48 – Posted Tuesday July, 5th 2022

To parents of children who witnessed the shooting in the Highland Park Parade

To parents of children who witnessed the shooting in the Highland Park Parade, or to those who have friends and family who were victims or witnessed the shooting. Here are some things to consider.

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#47 – Posted Tuesday May, 24th 2022

Awakening the Playful Self

Dafna talks about how some therapies are missing out on a fundamental tool for healing when they ignore the power of feeling playful embodiment with others in the current edition Psychotherapy Networker's Magazine.

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