Working with Suppressed Life Energy

With Dr. Peter Levine & Dafna Lender

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Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP) Certification Program

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Integrated Attachment Family Therapy Training



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.



The IAFT Training Course is a twelve-hour training course led by Dafna Lender, using principles from two attachment-based modalities - Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay. It teaches how to enhance regulation, connection, and joy between parents and children and guides parents to do reparative work around family trauma.

This workshop training offers a different lens that focuses on the physiologic, nonverbal connection between parent and child to improve the relationship. Using principles from two attachment-based modalities—Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay—learn how to enhance regulation, connection, and joy between parents and children as well as guide parents to do reparative work around family trauma.

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IAFT sept
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Integrative Attachment Family Therapy

Integrated Attachment Family Therapy (IAFT) was developed by family therapy expert and attachment specialist Dafna Lender. Instead of viewing the child as the problem, IAFT addresses the crux of the issue: a misalignment in the parent-child relationship.

In this treatment guide, Dafna walks readers through the IAFT framework, providing therapeutic insight and concrete strategies to help families achieve meaningful and lasting change.

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This book should be required reading for anyone who works with children. As experienced therapists know, no one clinical model is comprehensive enough to work for everyone. However, Dafna Lender’s integrative attachment family therapy comes darn close. I am hard pressed to think of parents and children who would not be helped by her elegant approach. Through her gift of storytelling, complex ideas come alive in ways that are both poetic and practical. I can’t recommend this illuminating book highly enough!

Karen Doyle Buckwalter, LCSW, RPT-S
Author & Podcaster

Integrative Attachment Family Therapy is a child-focused, multidimensional framework on the vanguard of treatments that heal and strengthen attachment issues in the parent-child relationship. With clear, accessible language and illustrative case examples, Dafna Lender shows how activities based on somatic practices can intervene in problem behaviors in children and in parents. The result is a comprehensive book that will benefit all mental health care professionals who strive to alleviate children’s pain and reconstruct family functioning.

Peter A. Levine, PhD
Best-selling author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma and Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing

Dafna Lender presents an integrated therapeutic approach, IAFT, as an accessible, intuitive, optimistic, and compassionate strategy to strengthen the parent-child relationship. The product of this integration is a transformative therapeutic strategy that leverages the importance of both child and parent feeling safe enough to trust each other. Through clinical examples, we observe how this new felt sense of safety enables both the parent and child to become more accurate and respectful witnesses, a process that evolves into the parent-child co-regulation becoming more symmetrical and imbued with the resilience necessary to process potentially disruptive challenges that may confront either the child or the parent.

Stephen Porges, PhD
Author of The Polyvagal Theory and Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory

Dafna Lender’s framework, integrative attachment family therapy (IAFT), uses the power of neuroplasticity to provide parents and children with new experiences of safety and connection that shift trauma-informed relationships. It offers a powerful mental health intervention that can help families to heal. If parents and therapists follow Dafna’s guidance, they can make significant progress in reducing attachment trauma in future generations.

Bessel van der Kolk, MD.
#1 New York Times best-selling author of The Body Keeps the Score

Dafna is a godsend, I have been to therapy to heal my own trauma to be a better parent and wasted no end of money. What I have learnt with Dafna through TRF is helping me to be the parent I have always wanted to be to my two adopted children who also have their trauma.The way Dafna talks is as though it is to me directly, her experience is visible in the examples she provides which is very relatable, whether talking about the children or how I experience my children as a parent.That saying of heal yourself first before healing your child is so true, I can now stop and think what may be coming up for me and my children through those difficult moments. Thank you TRF for introducing Dafna to my world.

Katie T.

I loved the real life examples of how to implement what Dafna taught. I've learned to be less monotone with my voice, and that part of my child's behavior is normal for their age. I also like that she talked about regulating ourselves as parents before we react to our kids.

Kristen M.

Dafna does an excellent job of explaining the approach she uses with high-needs children and teens. She gives very specific examples which are helpful to get a sense of how to use these strategies in real life. I loved when she demonstrated techniques with participants as the child or client. I like that Dafna says the hard things to parents--as in you need to work on yourself so you can show up better for your child.

Brooke F.

I liked the real life examples, and Dafna's expertise is amazing. I particularly like that she looks beyond the behavior to what is driving the behavior. And the ideas about body placement, eye-contact, touch or no touch in regards to connection and de-escalation are priceless.

Michele T.

I liked Dafna's straightforwardness. She obviously knows the common problems parents are facing and is able to talk directly about the solutions. I like how her approach is compassionate, and she opened up my mind about how a child's nervous system could be affecting their behavior.

Stephanie W.

Dafna is a great presenter, SO knowledgeable, and she shares the information in a thoughtful, gentle way.

Becki W.

Best parenting class I've attended so far, and I've attended many. I like the main philosophy, focusing on the behavior of the parents.

Jessica C.

Training Programs

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.

July 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 2024 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM (Central Time, USA & Canada)

August 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 2024
8:30 AM - 2:00 PM (Central Time, USA & Canada)

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Dafna DDP 2022 3
Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Trauma

Helping Your Clients Heal Attachment Wounds through Parent-Child Relationships

3 hour on-demand training

If you’re interested in learning more about intergenerational trauma, check out my course with Therapy Wisdom, Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Trauma: Helping Your Clients Heal Attachment Wounds Through Parent-Child Relationships. This self-paced, three hour course teaches you:

  • The P.A.C.E. Attitude and how you can apply it

  • Techniques to build a healing and connected relationship with a parent and their child

  • How improving the relationship between parent and child helps adults with their own childhood history

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Therapy wisdom 2


The Trauma Therapist Project Podcast

Working With Kids and Families

Listen to the 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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#72 – Posted Monday April, 29th 2024

A New Family Narrative: Transforming Intergenerational Trauma

One of the most important decisions a therapist makes is how broadly to define the problem that clients bring into treatment. In an individualistic culture such as ours, it’s common to focus narrowly on whoever is exhibiting problem behavior, without understanding the wider family context shaping the issues of immediate concern. Often the key to working effectively with a family is expanding the therapeutic perspective to include the history of intergenerational trauma underlying the present-day issues, even if that’s not the family’s view of the origins of the presenting problem.

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#71 – Posted Friday March, 29th 2024

Avoidant Attachment in Children

How do parent/child relationships affect a person even into their adult years? Dafna takes a look at a case study of a patient with avoidant attachment and examines how therapists can encourage the formation of secure relationships.

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#70 – Posted Friday March, 1st 2024

Fostering Healing Through Connection - Interview

Discover how Integrative Attachment Family Therapy (IAFT) applies to the intricacies of foster care and child welfare advocacy in Dafna's recent interview on the By Their Side podcast.

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