DARe Module 4 – From Wounds to Wellness: Victim-Perpetrator Dynamics and Disorganized Attachment.

NOTE: the acronyms “DARe” (Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning experience) and “SATe” (Somatic Attachment Training experience) define the same course program depending on the country where the workshops are presented. The denomination varies, but the course content is the same.

Creative, practical tips for working with your most challenging clients

Do you know someone who:

  • May disconnect or pick a fight when true intimacy begins to emerge – often without knowing why?
  • Yearns for, but deeply fears, relationships because they expect them to be dangerous? Scary? Full of Conflict? Confusing? Overwhelming?
  • Shifts moods abruptly and acts out uncontrollable cycles of panic and/or rage?
  • May have trouble communicating clearly or expressing realistic needs in an empowered way?

Find out creative, practical ways to assess and address these patterns personally and clinically by learning about the residual interpersonal effects of living in a chronic threat response due to unresolved victim-perpetrator dynamics, dissociation and fragmentation alternating with emotional or physiological flooding, and Disorganized Attachment.

Professionals will learn to:

  • Professionals will be able to describe techniques to repair ruptured boundaries to enhance a sense of personal safety
  • Demonstrate how to uncouple two major psycho-biological instinctive drives − 1) the need to attach and 2) the need to survive threat − that becomes interrupted and interwoven to block the health and functioning in both systems
  • Explain how to revive embodied aliveness as high arousal states causing dissociation or extreme states are cleared and discharged.
  • Create appropriate therapeutic empathy and avoid misuse of empathy when it triggers disintegration
  • Learn to excavate, initiate and complete fight, flight, or freeze responses in a way that creates lasting empowerment by discharging ANS over-activation and healing the power wound
  • Identify and help to resolve relational approach/avoidance stuckness that may remain long after the original scary or confusing family dynamics are over
  • Explain how to differentiate victim-perpetrator fusion and release toxic interjects to allow the experience of the untainted self and restore inherent core intactness
  • Understand the intensity of Savior, Incompetent Protector, and Perpetrator Trauma Transferences as well as Counter-Transferences and how they may affect the therapeutic relationship
  • Identify how to restore the missing resource of a sense of protection and relative safety that contradicts the client’s original fearful experience

The challenge

The complex, wounding relationship that exists between victims and their perpetrators can present unique challenges to therapeutic professionals.

The intensity of an invasive sexual or violent encounter can create strong, disabling relational issues for victims, resulting in a loss of differentiation, the coupling of rage and powerlessness, or a need to re-enact the victim and/or perpetrator identity.

When encountered in early life, terrifying circumstances can create Disorganized Attachment. Children and later on, adults may develop affect regulation problems including social difficulties, attention or learning or developmental deficits, and/or a lack of coherency. In some cases, a person may become aggressive with others or exhibit a controlling style due to the danger experienced with out-of-control, chaotic, scary, or scared parents.

These terrifying and disorienting actions can be:

  1. Parents who engage in interactions that are too often scary, chaotic, disorienting, and inherently disorganizing to the child. Secure Attachment thrives and organizes in safety.
  2. Dysregulated parents acting out sudden and extreme shifts in emotional states. For example, the parent may be calm one moment and by being triggered internally, maybe enraged the next.
  3. Communication from caregivers that contain confusing “paradoxical injunctions or double binds” which present the child with unsolvable problems, i.e., “come here, go away” messages. There is no way to win.
  4. Parents who give conflicting signals that make no sense and have a disturbing lack of clarity. This sets the child up for predictable failure.

In the Disorganized Attachment Style, major biological drives are in constant conflict: the innate drive to attach and the instinctual drive to survive. In this workshop we will approach this Disorganized Attachment by working to uncouple, untangle, complete and heal both strong biological drives:

  1. The Attachment System: Intention is to give the Attachment System a safe place to land and separate it from the survival instinct.
  2. The Survival Instinct: Once the person can attach to a safe relationship, then they can begin to restore their self-protective responses against an earlier threat in the interpersonal field.

An Integrated Approach for Powerful Change

In this interactive workshop, we will explore how body/mind based therapy techniques, Attachment Theory, and a variety of spiritual practices and perspectives can be used in tandem to effectively address abuse dynamics, alleviating unnecessary suffering and reawakening your clients’ joy of living.

When examined separately, trauma healing, traditional psychotherapy, and spiritual development may appear to be conflicting paths. Psychology emphasizes building and strengthening a healthy ego, whereas many spiritual schools focus on dismantling the ego to access more expansive states. Trauma can open us to expansive states that may also be quite terrifying or cause us to disconnect or to dissociate. We need to restore a healthy functioning ego – to make friends with our ego – in order to relax enough into our true identity. Then the remnants of the wounded or defensive ego identity can more readily dissolve and be replaced by our essential aspects and our true nature. As we disidentify with our history, metabolize our story, and gather wisdom as well as maturity we find an authentic presence in ourselves that can stabilize in the NOW.

In the Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning experience, known as the DARe programs, Diane weaves these three paths – psychology, trauma healing, and spirituality into an integrated, comprehensive, and dynamic approach. Victim-perpetrator dynamics resolve toward empowerment, Disorganized Attachment behaviors heal through restoring Secure Attachment, dissociation moves toward an integrated embodiment, and disconnection is replaced by a deepening, contactful connection with self and others.

This creative integration process, which is “body-based, bonding-based and being-based,” lands us in our authentic self, orients us toward our true nature, and returns us to our real home.

We welcome you to join us in exploring this relevant and rich adventure on the human journey.


“It’s now been a week since we entered our journey of DARe 4 together and I am still holding it deeply in my heart. There were so many transforming moments, such a variety of experiences shared, emotions felt – both positive and negative – mild and intense. All leading us toward more awareness of secure attachment and what that means to us individually and as community.  I was very touched by it all.

Thank you for being part of this deepening, and for taking the risk of opening your heart to one another.”       Patti

Continuing education credits are available for Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors (Certified Counselors, Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors), Drug & Alcohol Abuse Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists.

The following Marriage and Family Therapy Boards accept programs offered by DARe: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, ME, MN, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA and WI.

Upcoming DARe 4 Events