Dr. Kate Renshaw: Anchoring Love — Nurturing Secure Attachments| Raising Parents #47

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Dr. Kate Renshaw, a professional in play therapy, mental health in education, and academia

The podcast episode revolves around the topic of teaching children secure attachment and the challenges parents face in building and maintaining secure attachments with their children. Dr. Kate Renshaw also explains how her training in filial therapy has influenced her perspective on working systemically with families and incorporating attachment-focused techniques into everyday interactions and parenting.

Meet Dr. Kate Renshaw

Dr. Kate Renshaw is a professional in the field of play therapy, mental health in education, and academia. She holds a Ph.D in Philosophy and has qualifications in psychology, art therapy, and play therapy. Dr. Kate works as a Play and Filial Therapist, providing therapeutic support to children, families, and teachers. She is also an author, speaker, and mental health in education consultant. 

Additionally, she serves as a University scholar and offers Play Therapy Clinical Supervision to other professionals in the field. Dr. Kate is registered with professional associations such as BAPT (British Association of Play Therapists), APPTA (Asia Pacific Play Therapy Association), and APT (Association for Play Therapy).

About the episode

In this episode, Dr. Kate explains how parents and caregivers can strengthen children’s secure attachments using filial therapy techniques. Filial therapy is all about training parents to conduct play therapy sessions with their own kids under the supervision of professionals. It’s a fantastic way to build those secure bonds between parents and children.

Dr. Kate is super passionate about the idea that attachment begins even before a child is born. Yep, you heard that right! She believes that parents can actively support secure attachment by engaging in activities like talking, reading, and playing music for the unborn baby. It’s never too early to start that connection!

Dr. Kate also explains the signs of insecure attachment in infants. For example, if a child doesn’t greet their parent with enthusiasm after a separation, that could be a red flag. When the parent leaves, an insecurely attached child might show high distress but not really respond to soothing when the parent returns. It’s crucial to be aware of these signs and address them accordingly.

As kids grow older, insecure attachment can manifest in different ways. Think separation anxiety, difficulty forming positive relationships with peers, trouble following teacher instructions, and low self-esteem. It’s tough stuff, but Dr. Kate has some great recommendations to promote the development of secure attachment.

First off, she suggests bonding from conception—talking, reading, and playing music for that little one in the womb. Then, it’s all about being attuned to your child’s attachment behaviors, like greetings, distress signals, and proximity needs. Parents can develop a sense of attunement over time by understanding and responding to these cues. It’s all about being in sync!

When your child is feeling distressed, Dr. Kate stresses the importance of responding in a sensitive and soothing manner. Let them know you’re there for them and that you’re a safe and reliable source of support. Quality one-on-one time is another key recommendation. Spend dedicated, playful, and nurturing time with your child every day, giving them your undivided attention.

And here’s where filial therapy techniques come into play. Dr. Kate highlights the effectiveness of child-centered play sessions in strengthening the bond between parent and child. It’s a powerful way to connect and understand each other better. Consistency is also key—maintain a daily routine and provide predictability to help your little one feel safe and secure.

Parents, remember to validate your child’s emotions and be emotionally available. Active listening and reassurance can make a world of difference. Above all, communicate unconditional love and acceptance through both words and deeds. Let your child know they’re cherished just the way they are.

If disruptions to the attachment pattern occur, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Dr. Kate is a pro in this area and can provide the support needed to re-establish secure attachment patterns. You’re not alone in this journey!

In conclusion

So, if you’re a parent or caregiver looking to enhance your understanding of secure attachment and navigate the challenges of parenting, this episode provides valuable insights and practical strategies to help you on your journey.

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