Registration is now open for the 34th annual ATTACh Conference taking place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Anaheim, Calif. 

Gail Curran, the owner of Optimal Edu Options in Arizona, is a board member of the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children. ATTACh is a nonprofit coalition of parents, professionals, and caregivers from around the world who focus on raising awareness and understanding about attachment disorder and the best treatment practices to help families.

This year’s theme is Catch the Wave of Hope and Healing and will feature the story of Jess Larsen, an adoptee as an infant from Russia. She and her mother, Carolyn, joined Gail at the 2021 conference in Minnesota to share Jess’ journey from defiant, angry teen to poised, confident college student.

Their story touched so many of those attending the 2021 conference that board members decided to expand the annual conference tracks to include programs specific to young people.

“We realized that although we had parents, therapists, and professionals who specialize in attachment, we weren’t hearing from those most affected by childhood trauma – the youth themselves,” Gail said. “Jess’ story led to so many other young people reaching out to her, inspired by her journey of healing. Stories like this give families the hope they need to continue their journeys of recovery.” 

Following the 2021 conference, Fostering Families magazine featured Jess’ story in its March/April 2022 issue. The article generated even more interest as it addresses how the family dealt with volatile meltdowns when Jess was a toddler and child.

At age 10, Jess fell from a second-story window, a paraplegic, further complicating her life and the challenges her family faced. The story continues through dramatic teen years with drug abuse and defiance. Finally, the story culminates with Jess living in a hotel room and her family turning to Gail for help, and the first seeds of hope and healing begin.

Added to this year’s 3-hour seminar are presentations by Terri Roman, LPC, PLLC, Jess’s current therapist, and Patricia Alana Inemer, LPC, discussing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in borderline individuals. Jess is now a college student studying childhood development and trauma and is increasingly a spokesperson for trauma survivors. 

Here are the tracks for this year’s conference:

  • Intermediate Professional Track: These workshops are for those furthering their knowledge of attachment issues. 
  • Advanced Clinical Track: These workshops provide in-depth coverage of specialized topics without reviewing introductory material. Program content is built upon the foundation of a completed doctoral program in psychology. 
  • Prevention and Early Intervention Track: These workshops focus on actions and interventions before developing profound attachment and trauma issues in their earliest stages to prevent long-term effects. 
  • Sensorimotor Track: For parents and professionals to understand the link between sensory integration issues in children. 
  • Child Welfare Track: Presentations use evidence-based practice to enhance understanding and practices in child welfare around trauma-informed care. 
  • Parent Track: These workshops pertain to supporting caregivers in their lived experiences with extra focus and preference for hands-on that is intermediate in knowledge. 
  • New Track – Youth and Young People: This track will focus on teens and young adults who will share their life’s journeys. 

Parents, psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health clinicians, social workers, occupational therapists, residential treatment staff, registered nurses, child welfare professionals, adoption and foster care agency staff and administrators, educators, advocates, juvenile justice personnel, researchers, youth, and young people from around the nation and globally will attend this year’s ATTACh Conference. Register now for this important and life-changing conference.

Optimal Edu Options is an educational and therapeutic placement consulting agency. We work with families across Arizona and throughout the United States. Our experienced team has the expertise necessary to effectively support your family and child in finding the best educational and therapeutic options to meet your family’s needs. Reach out to us today for more information about our services and how they can help. We offer a free 30-minute consultation. Email or call us at (602) 904-1282.