In this week’s episode, Amrit interviews Dafna Lender, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified trainer and supervisor in both Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay. She specializes in helping children with serious psychological problems caused by histories of abuse, neglect, trauma and/or multiple placements and she focuses on a secure attachment of children with their caregivers while resolving their traumatic history.
She is the training director at The Therapy Institute, the co-author of the book “Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide” and co-author of two chapters in the 3rd Edition of the book “Theraplay, Building Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play”.
For those who work with kids and want to enhance the connection, trust and joy between a child and a parent interactive, using playful activities and simple face-to-face reciprocal interactions operating with all the senses, including rhythm, movement and touch, please go to: https://amz.run/4Gpu
Amrit and Dafna have a deep conversation about the power of play and laughter in parenting. A rich conversation about the power that play has to connect and have a harmonious relationship, to find a moment of hope and heal past trauma, and to live in this world as our own true self.
They talk about Dafna’s journey into the profundity of play and her beautiful definition of play.
They converse about what happens to a baby when their caregiver is not responsive or is abusive and how parents can approach a child that is damaged or has been rejected.
Furthermore they cave into a dialogue around parents expectations and how they can handle them, how just one moment of play and connection can heal an extended period of disconnection, qualities of a parent that can help a disconnected child, what is the symptomatic of a healthy functioning relationship, the importance of repair and reconnecting, and how to deal with discipline.
In this chapter of Inspired Evolution you will discover why we tend to play less as we get older, what attachment means to Dafna, which is the most formative period of a child, whether to embody or not the values of pace in babies, and advice to those who are parents for the first time.
You will learn to play with your child in a way that establishes felt safety, increases social engagement, expands arousal regulation, and supports the development of positive self-esteem for both your child and yourself.
You also will have access to different fun and caring parent/child games and activities that build attunement and understanding of each other, replicating early relationship experiences that are proven to lead to secure attachment.
You will find ways to help your child discover his/her true self and ways to approach, connect and start healing your child’s past trauma.
You will learn how to be responsive and create a safe and secure attachment for your baby, how to repair, reconnect and restore the relationship with your child, and in moments of trouble and disagreements, you will discover the best way to accompany your child in a receptive way.
“It is never too late to restore the relationship with your child”
“To see your parents laughing and enjoying you, is like a lightning ball of energy”
About Dafna Lender:
Dafna Lender is a trainer, supervisor and consultant in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay. She is the training director at The Therapy Institute , the co-author of the book “Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide” and co-author of two chapters in the 3rd Edition of the book “Theraplay, Building Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play”
She earned a Bachelor degree in Political Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Bachelor degree in Social Work from Tel Aviv University in Israel, and a Master in Social Work from Yeshiva University in New York.
Dafna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist. She has served as the program director at The Theraplay® Institute in Evanston, IL for 16 years. She trains psychotherapists all over the world and trains in three languages English, French and Hebrew.
Early in her career, Dafna worked in treatment foster care and witnessed child after child “fail” out of foster placements due to difficult behavior. Children were disruptive, unsettled and unhappy, and their caregivers felt defeated. Dafna’s sense of discouragement went away after taking the DDP training and learning direct, concrete ideas and interactions that she could apply in home with her treatment families to promote healthier, stable relationships.
Dafna’s area of expertise is helping children with serious psychological problems caused by histories of abuse, neglect, trauma and/or multiple placements. By focusing on developing a child’s secure attachment with his/her caregivers, Dafna helps resolve issues in the child’s traumatic history.
She has successfully treated children with a variety of backgrounds, including children raised in orphanages, with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, exposed to domestic violence and community violence and children of parents with chronic mental illness.
Her aim is to help people believe that there is hope in their relationship and that they can experience happiness and connections that they thought weren’t possible.
Welcome Dafna Lender to the Inspired Evolution!: (00:00:00)
Dafna’s journey into the profundity of play:(01:57)
Her journey started as a social worker putting kids from 6 to 12 in pre adoptive homes, matching the family with the child, and then accompanying them on this journey hoping they would be able to live happily ever after. Nobody was prepared for the events that would happen at home when the child actually showed fear of the enemency of the parent-child relationship. Dive in and see what Dafna did to help these damaged kids and the child/parent relationship.
“I went on a search to find the skills to help damaged kids”
About the disruption of children’s intimacy: (04:18)
When a child is born their attachment system is prime and ready to connect with a responsive primary caregiver. If that primary caregiver is not responsive or abusive, then this child is going to grow up completely distrusting and it will be very hard to be their own selves.
“Damaged kids see any adult that wants to take care of them as a menace ”
Approaches that work with damaged kids: (06:40)
Discover the importance of acceptance, being present, and sharing basic experiences. In this chapter you will master fun, simple and sensory games for those basic experiences.
“We need to give kids presence and acceptance to feel safe”
How does a parent not have expectations?: (08:42)
Parents constantly try to put their expectations on their child and make it so that the child bares witness to what the parent’s greatest values are. In this chapter Linda recommends what to do every time you have a conflict with your child.
“Let go of expectations if you want to have a harmonious relationship with your kid”
“Play” according to Dafna: (11:33)
Cave into the episode and hear the most beautiful definition for “Play” and conversation around laughter. You will find out why play is important and everybody must never stop doing it, and you will discover how important it is when trying to connect.
“Play is the energy that gives kids and adults hope”
Sporadic moments of connection that heal extended periods of disconnection: (23:38)
Replicating moments of hope can heal extended periods of disconnection in kids. Follow the episode to hear how it works.
More qualities of a parent that can help a disconnected child: (26:37)
Find out the importance of curiosity and empathy. All about connecting parents and child and making it a harmonious connection.
“Curiosity and empathy can reduce conflicts between everybody”
Positive outcome of applying this pace methodology: (30:37)
Tap in and hear what Dafna has to say about repair and reconnecting, the importance of parents stepping back and figuring out why they want to be in control and the importance in how parents treat themselves.
“Reconnect and show your kids you still want them in your circle”
How to discipline without needing to “repair”: (34:30)
“Separate the consequence from the actual connection with the child”
Why do we tend to play less as we get older: (39:21)
“There is part of society that compresses our energy and creativity to connect, play and dance”
“Attachment” according to Dafna and what it underpins: (41:56)
“Early experiences of security, both the joy and that somebody will take care of me and protect me, is the platform for so much of our human experience ”
The most formative period of a child’s life and when it ends: (44:10)
Cave in and find out which is the most formative period of a child, and why you must be receptive and not reactive.
“It is never too late to restore the relationship with your child”
Embodying values of pace for those ages from the third trimester to the age of two: (48:09)
Embodying values of pace in babies is different. Discover what Dafna means about nervous systems matching and co-regulating
“A body trying to vibrate on the same level as the babies internal pain, makes the babies pain lessen”
About nervous systems co-regulating and intergenerational trauma:(50:10)
Awareness in initial parenting:(52:34)
“There is no manual, you learn as you go”
Last words of inspiration and hope: (55:22)
“Change is completely possible even in the most impossible situations”
Dafna Lender’s books:
- “Theraplay, The Practitioner’s Guide” by Vivien Norris & Dafna Lender: https://amz.run/4Gpu
- “Theraplay, Building Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play”: https://amz.run/4Gpv
- The Theraplay Institute:https://theraplayinc.com/
Connect with Dafna Lender:
- Website: https://www.dafnalender.com/
- Company website: https://theraplay.org/team/dafna-lender/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dafna-Lender-107175947813271/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYvBrxAQEowA57jGC5TQqgg
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dafna-lender-31a09411/
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