13 Jun 2024


9:30 am - 4:30 pm



Workshop Date: 13th & 14th June and 20th & 21st June 2024. (LIMITED AVAILABILITY) – ONLINE ONLY

The 4-day workshop will offer training in the SAFE approach which combines concepts and techniques from systemic therapy, attachment theory and narrative therapies (ANT) to assist families where difficulties are seen as related to autism. The approach is a manualised approach with a flexible structure that allows it to be adapted to the needs of each family. It combines a multi-family approach along with individual family therapy sessions. SAFE is an action-oriented approach which utilises a range of established systemic techniques, such as tracking circularities button sculpts, genograms and externalising, framed within an attachment orientation and informed by the known preferences and strengths of autistic people.  The training will offer an overview of the conceptual basis of SAFE in ANT (Attachment Narrative Therapy) along with description and illustrations using videos of the core techniques. There will be opportunities for participants to discuss their own clinical contexts and cases and also for how to apply the approach to their services.  

SAFE has been subject to an NHS funded clinical trial and a qualitative process study and the research findings will be described.  

DAY1:   Overview of the structure of the SAFE programme. Conceptual base of SAFE in systemic, attachment, narrative and neuro-psychological approaches.   Exploring the parents’ trans-generational stories and attachment histories and working models of parenting using the Parent Development Interview.  Exploring and validating parents’ intentions – corrective and replicative scripts. 

DAY 2:  Developing a secure base with families, multi-family session, perspectives on autism, parents sharing of experiences, parents co-consulting to each other, describing systemic formulation,  exploring multiple systems – the home – school relationships, analysis of video sequences, sharing challenges and successes. 

DAY3: Individual family sessions, tracking successes and problematic sequences, especially relating to ‘meltdowns’ and other problematic cycles to build solutions and alternatives. Use of genograms and button sculpts to explore changes and family transitions in terms of attachment needs. Exploring corrective and replicative scripts.  

DAY 4: Individual family sessions and final multi-parent session. Developing tracking of problematic sequences to enact role-playing alternatives, elaborating narratives of autism through externalising, exploring autism discourses and elaborating possibilities for change. Considering the future – parents reflecting on a personal video account of change and growth, contemplating positive change and growth in the future. Considering future needs and developing networks of support. 


IFT Zoom
Zoom - details are issued separately by email.


  • Rudi Dallos
    Rudi Dallos

    Rudi Dallos is Emeritus Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Plymouth. He has worked as a family therapist for forty years in a variety of settings, including with children, adolescents, eating disorders and most recently families where a child has a diagnosis of autism. He has been engaged in research and practice using concepts from attachment, narrative and systemic therapies which led to the development of the ANT model. This has been developed further as a part manualised treatment – SAFE for families where autism has been diagnosed and also SAFE for Schools an intervention facilitating relationships between parents and teachers. He has published a range of papers and books including, An Introduction to Family Therapy, Working Systemically with Attachment Narratives, Formulation in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Attachment Narrative Therapy and most recently, Don’t Blame the Parents.

  • Rebecca Stancer
    Rebecca Stancer

    Rebecca Stancer is a Developmental Psychologist and Family Therapist. She is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood at the University of Plymouth. Rebecca was the lead researcher on two large research projects funded by The National Institute of Health Research and Autistica exploring a new systemic intervention called SAFE (Systemic Autism-related Family Enabling) for families where a child has an autism diagnosis. Rebecca worked with Professor Rudi Dallos, The Brandon Trust and The Plymouth Autism Network to develop the intervention.

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