Presentations on Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy range from brief informational, interactive discussions (usually with powerpoint and session video clips) to four-day formal DDP trainings for therapists (28 credit hours).

The longer formal trainings cover the DDP training outline and will count toward DDP certification. The beginning training also qualifies therapists to apply to enter the Practicum toward certification in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. (Certification as a DDP therapist requires 56 hours of group training, plus individual Practicum involving written review/feedback of several video tapes.)

Robert Spottswood and Friends

Robert (left) and friends at an advanced DDP training in Maine, by Dan Hughes (right)

A DDP training outline (not numbered because sequence may be adjusted to meet the group — covers the following):


  • Classifications (aka ‘attachment styles’) for children/adults: Secure/Autonomous, Ambivalent/Preoccupied, Avoidant/Dismissive, Disorganized/Unresolved
  • Attachment disorganization and complex trauma
  • Safety for parent and child (how to establish)
  • A coherent autobiographical narrative (i.e., making sense of their hard life)


  • Shared affect
  • Joint attention
  • Complementary intentions
  • Therapist use of self, including own attachment history and boundaries with family

(the next seven items are child-development tools we borrow from the normal infant-parent interaction toolbox — things children arrive wired to respond to)

  • Affective-reflective dialogue
  • Follow-lead-follow
  • Nonverbal-verbal
  • Co-regulation of affect
  • Co-creation of meaning
  • Interactive repair

Working with the parents, foster parents and other caregivers

  • Adults need to provide attachment security and create a secure base during DDP.
  • Their history, attachment history, and dimensions necessary to provide the necessary parenting.
  • Their parenting history
  • Preparation/Information regarding attachment facilitating parenting
  • Day-to-day parenting
  • Structure/supervision, nurturing, activities, etc.

The sequential, differential use of components, processes and principles in DDP treatment is recognized in the context of:

  1. building safety and exploration of attachment schema for both caregiver and child as the relationship with each deepens and expands.
  2. uncovering the deepening meanings of symptoms and other behaviors within the narratives of each.

DDP with different populations and circumstances

  • Adoptive families
  • Foster families
  • Birth families
  • Children in residential settings
  • Single parent families
  • Parents alone
  • Children alone
  • Within the context of complex networks with varying goals and treatment philosophies

Contact us if you are interested in a brief informational presentation or would like 1, 2 or 4 days (28 credit hours) of staff training, which will also count toward eventual DDP certification.