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Dr Loyola McLean

The Secrets of Something that gets in the Way: Managing the Disorganised Attachment of Complex Trauma in our Therapeutic Spaces

11 May 2021 | Webinar

Webinar overview

We humans are meant to be connected and in relationship. However those with complex trauma and complicated histories of loss and trauma are, underneath it all, often disorganised and their disorganisation can disorganise us. We see this, hear this and feel this in the therapeutic space, whether our treatment is pharmacological, structured, somatic, creative, procedural or psychodynamic. The traumatic unconscious memory system is awoken and the dragon is in the room, breathing ice or fire or the wind from the desert and we must find a way to survive, hopefully both patient and therapist! This webinar will initially seek to create some relational safety and then outline the powerful experience of disorganised attachment for the child and parent, unresolved loss and trauma in the adult and the therapeutic dyad and team, and low coherence states, where strategies fluctuate and shift in the moment. We will then take a number of sessions to think about what we do and could do to “work it out together” in the moment, creating trust and safety, shifting co-regulation, attending to affect and to the personal, deeply listening to the other and reaching out with feelings, words and images and accepting our limits. Attachment and traumatology and the Conversational Model, now dovetailing bodies of knowledge will be our guides as we think through together how we transform disorganisation and unresolved loss and trauma.

Counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, couple and family therapists, early childhood workers, case managers and other mental health professionals working with traumatised clients.

  • Have an understanding of disorganised attachment, unresolved loss and trauma and low coherence states of mind that will support clinical understanding and practice.
  • Be equipped with a stance and some strategies to work together with the client and the team to understand the disorganisation in the moment and to work towards trust and safety, co-regulation and the creation of felt narrative and story.
  • Have an understanding of the need to attend to the personal, deep listening, embodied affect, forms of language, and metaphor.
  • Understand that we must ourselves reflect and be healed.

A PDF of the the detailed webinar program can be downloaded here.

Loyola McLean is a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and Psychotherapy Educator in public, private and academic practice. She holds appointments as: an Associate Professor with the BMRI, University of Sydney; a Psychotherapy Educator and the Psychotherapy Coordinator for the Sydney West and Greater Southern Psychiatry Training Network (WSLHD); a Faculty member of the Westmead Psychotherapy Program for Complex Traumatic Disorders, Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School; an Honorary Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist with Royal North Shore Hospital. She is a certified Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) Coder. She applies an interdisciplinary biopsychosocial model to her research and clinical work, informed by attachment, neuroscience and the modern conceptions of the Self and Trauma in the Conversational Model. She is researching integrative body-mind medicine, psychotherapy, and spirituality to explore dis/organising responses of self and systems to stress and illness and the emergence of recovery, resilience and post-traumatic growth. She is exploring how attachment can be integrated with other models to open up opportunities for better collaborative research, formulation and multimodal treatments. Her PhD examined the prothrombotic and inflammatory factors in linking depression and cardiovascular disease. Her projects or collaborations include: work in burns recovery and rehabilitation and an RCT of early EMDR post burns injury; the development of and recovery from chronic complex trauma and its various sequelae including psychosomatic disorders and personality disorders; Type D personality in various health presentations; the role of attachment in eating disorders; incorporating the Adult Attachment Interview and its probes into psychosomatic research and mental health assessments; novel applications of the Conversational Model  to psychiatry; process research in psychotherapy; psychotherapy education.

$295 full | $249 concession

The webinar fee includes entrance to the webinar for the one day via Zoom, a certificate of attendance, and a electronic copy of the PowerPoint slides.

All individual registrations are online and payment is by credit card. Please click on the ‘Register now’ button above. A confirmation email will be sent to you automatically.

What you need to get/organise before the webinar:

  • A laptop or tablet. Smartphones are less desirable due to the small screen.
  • For tablets you will need to download the free app.
  • Check that the microphone and speakers working on your laptop/device. Or even better; use a headset.
  • A decent internet connection.
  • A quiet place to participate in the workshop.
  • If you have never used Zoom before then this quick introduction video should help:


At the webinar:

  • Click on the Zoom link sent to you by the person from your organisation who requested the training from STARTTS and follow the prompts. Do this about 5 minutes before the start time in case there are any problems.
  • Mute your sound when you are not speaking.
  • Activate your video function if it hasn’t turned on automatically. You should be able to see yourself. To see everyone in the webinar – click gallery view at the top.
  • If your first name doesn’t appear on your video image then click on participants and add in your name. The trainer can help you with this if you aren’t sure.


You will be able to enter the webinar on Zoom from 8.50am.

A certificate will be emailed after the event to attendees who joined the Zoom call using the same name they registered with.

CPD hours = 7

This webinar adheres to the continuing professional development standards of most professional bodies. Please check the CPD policy of your professional body.

Payment of the registration fee is online by credit card and a receipt/confirmation will be automatically emailed to you. An administration fee of $20 applies to all cancellations made more than one month before the event. Registration once paid cannot be cancelled one month or less before the event, regardless of personal circumstances. Registration can be transferred to another delegate only if STARTTS is informed of the name change. The concession price is for full-time students and pensioners only and a photocopy or pdf of a valid concession card must be forwarded to the STARTTS training team upon registration. The STARTTS Training Team can be contacted at or (02) 9646 6700.

Phone: (02) 9646 6700  Ask for the Training Administration Officer

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