Fostering Healing Through Connection with Dafna Lender, LCSW

The By Their Side podcast is dedicated to advocating for children living in foster care. In this episode, the host, Micaela Tracy, will delve into the transformative insights of Dafna Lender, a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience specializing in therapy and developmental psychotherapy.

As we navigate through Dafna’s journey, you’ll discover the profound impact of Integrative Attachment Family Therapy, her model born out of early struggles as a social worker in therapeutic foster care. Dafna’s approach focuses on bridging therapy with family dynamics, providing essential tools for those working with children who have experienced trauma. 

Join us in exploring Dafna’s powerful message of hope, applicable not only to foster care professionals but to anyone navigating parent-child relationships. Dafna’s expertise shines through as she shares practical strategies for therapists, CASA volunteers, and frontline workers to make a meaningful impact in the lives of families and children. We unravel the significance of dyadic developmental psychotherapy, where simple, primary activities become crucial attachment moments. Dafna illustrates how these interactions, like play, fostering trust, and connection, pave the way for healing even in the face of resistance.

We also discuss the importance of curiosity in understanding a child’s perspective and how it acts as a powerful tool in fostering a sense of agency and safety. Dafna shares valuable insights into navigating challenging moments, such as transitions to new foster homes or visits, providing listeners with actionable advice for co-regulation. She emphasizes the crucial role that advocates such as caseworkers and caregivers play in understanding and respecting a child’s needs, even during challenging situations. 

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Join Micaela in this enlightening conversation with Dafna, where her wealth of experience and wisdom shines a light on the transformative potential of Integrative Attachment Family Therapy. You can learn more about Dafna’s work, access videos, articles, and stories on her website. Be inspired to incorporate playfulness, positive regard, and therapeutic strategies into your interactions with the children you work with!