The Deliberate Dialogue: a method for facilitating effective conversation with a parent and child about potentially stressful topics

Course Description

One of the main jobs of a family therapist is to help members of the family to talk to each other in a constructive way about stressful topics. But may clients who have intense feelings, have had traumatic histories, or who have big problems in the family make this goal difficult. Therapists need a structured format, a “road map” for facilitating these tricky conversations. For example:

In these situations, it is very helpful to use the deliberate dialogue to help children and parents talk about their troubles in a safe way. The deliberate dialogue is inspired by techniques from dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP).

In this workshop, you will learn to:

  • Use the Deliberate Dialogue to structure a productive conversation between child and parent

  • Guiding parents to stay accepting and empathic in the Deliberate Dialogue

  • Use the PACE (Playful Accepting Curious and Empathic) Attitude to discover what is truly bothering the child underneath

  • What to do with a child who says “I don’t know” or won’t use words to answer your questions

  • Find ways “talk about” and “talk for” a child to help deepen connection and understanding between parent and child.

Dafna Lender

Dafna is a family therapy expert and attachment specialist. 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), as well as an EMDR therapist. Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families 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.

Dafna is author of Integrative Attachment Family Therapy (2023) and the co-author of Theraplay the Practitioner’s Guide (2020). She teaches and supervises clinicians in 15 countries in 4 languages: English, Hebrew, French and Spanish.



Sign up with your email to receive news and updates.