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Pre & Postnatal attachment in the context of sexual assault and intergenerational trauma

Event number: 19225
4 CPD hours
Study Group Network
Presenter(s): Ms Esen Uygun

This training will focus on pre and postnatal attachment and how sexual assault may further impact on attachment injuries and how to work with these clients. From the beginning, the foetus and mother biologically negotiate the allocation of the mother’s bodily resources, as the mother’s body becomes a key source of nourishment for the foetus. 

It is a known that trauma changes the chemical distribution in the body. Traumatic stress is associated with increased cortisol, norepinephrine and decreased oxytocin. (Costello, 2013) During pregnancy traumatised mother’s physiology i.e too much secretion of cortisol, will be shared with a foetus, which will have implications for a growing baby. Before the birth the foetus begins to gain knowledge about his/her mother’s emotional state and social environment  


Newborn babies are attuned to their mothers; consequently they can differentiate their mother’s emotional state through the mother’s voice, and movements, which is mastered during the prenatal period. Keeping in mind that traumatised mothers may not be fully present to the foetus and/or newborn babies, which will influence their child’s attachment style.  Perry, Pollard, Blakley, Baker & Vigilante (1995) affirmed that life experiences in early childhood organizes the brain system.  

Children who have been exposed trauma may be more vulnerable to sexual assault and trauma.  When a person is exposed to sexual assault trauma early in life this may impact further and add more layers i.e. dissociation disorders and complexities to their attachment style, which usually makes therapeutic work more challenging and long term. 


Learning Outcomes

• Increased understanding of complex pre & post natal attachment

• Increased understanding of sexual assault trauma

• Increased understanding of therapeutic work with this client group

About the presenter(s)

Esen Uygun is a Social Worker and Clinical Family Therapist and has been working in the trauma field for the last 19 years. She has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of complex clients. She currently works at her private practice at the S-N Counselling Services and the Western Region Centre Against Sexual Assault.

Esen has facilitated training sessions and groups in the areas of childhood sexual assault, and trauma. She has presented papers in different forums. These presentations included :EMDR, Complex Trauma, and dissociation.

Esen has an eclectic approach to providing counselling and support as she recognises that “one-size does not fit all”. However, she has a strong interest in EMDR, Attachment, Trauma, Feminism, Ego State, Structural Dissociation of the Personality and psychodynamic frameworks. Her Masters of Family Therapy supports Esen in her systemic thinking and approach to client groups.


Please make sure you read the group description and details carefully before registering for a study group. CANCELLATION POLICY: As we keep study group fees to a minimum and presenters are paid according to the numbers who attend, we prefer not to provide refunds other than for 'exceptional, unforeseeable circumstances'. We are happy for you to nominate an alternative attendee or you may transfer to another study group, but only within 2 months as this adds extra admin costs. Cancellations up to 14 days prior to the study group you are registered for will receive a full refund. Cancellations within 1-13 days of the study group will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations within 24 hours of a study group will not be refunded. All cancellations must be given in writing.

Online registration


Lighthouse Foundation
13 Adolph Street
Richmond, VIC 3121
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 12/5/2018
End date: 12/5/2018
Time: 1.00pm - 5.00pm


APS member: $110
APS student member: $110
Non APS member: $220


APS - Melbourne Branch
The Study Group Network (SGN) is an initiative of the APS Melbourne Branch designed to improve psychologists’ clinical and research skills and to keep them current with new developments.
Contact Karen Holst
03 8662 3300