Adoption & Attachment Treatment Center of Iowa

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Denise L. Best, LMHC              PH: (319) 430-4383       email:
P.O. Box 1457
Iowa City, IA  52244

Minneapolis, MN
I am sorry to report that Part Two [November 1 + 2, 2013]
of this training has been
cancelled due to low registrations.

Denise L. Best, M.A. L.M.H.C.
Denise is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Iowa who has worked with foster and adopted children and families for over 15 years.  She has 500 hours of training in attachment, trauma and adoption-related issues.   After attending extensive training and researching many different treatment modalities, as well as learning from the best teachers available – the hurting children, she developed a unique treatment protocol for treating adoptive families titled A.T.T.A.C.H.E.D. Family Treatment Model. ™   Denise has also authored the most intervention-packed parenting manual titled Therapeutic Parenting for Traumatized Children © which has now been sold in five countries.  Denise provides training programs for adoptive parents and professionals internationally, and is on the Board of Directors for the Attachment & Trauma Network. 


Denise provides treatment to adoptive families at the Adoption & Attachment Treatment Center of Iowa in Iowa City.  Families from across the U.S. come to participate in a life-changing 2 Week Intensive.  Click here for Intensive Info   Denise is also available for Adoption Coaching in-home and Therapeutic Parenting via Phone Consultations  Click here for Phone Consultation Info


Therapeutic Parenting Manual
Over the past 8 years Denise has created a therapeutic parenting model that is both trauma-informed and developmentally-targeted.  Children with an early history of maltreatment require a very different parenting model than how most of us were raised.  In fact, "old-fashioned" parenting techniques often result in an increase in behaviors.  Children who have symptoms of, or have been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder have extremely complex behavioral sets.  Parents spend about as much time trying to figure out the "why" of a behavior as they spend on "what to do" in response to the behavior.  Punitive, coercive and fear-based techniques typically trigger additional behaviors and interfere with the necessary attachment basics - developing a sense of trust and safety.  Denise's "Therapeutic Parenting for Adopted Children"© Manual guides adoptive parents through reader-friendly answers to the "why do they do that?" questions, and provides responses designed to increase a child's sense of safety and responsibility.  Denise's manual is more than 75% interventions and techniques.  Parents utilizing this model find that they not only understand what causes behaviors, but that behaviors previously perceived as oppositional/defiant are actually trauma-triggers, sensory overload, or relational trauma triggers.  Once a parent is able to "see" what is really going on behind (driving) the behavior, and has trauma-informed responses readily available, healing can begin.    Please visit "Parent Training" page for more information or to order this manual.

Therapeutic Parenting Training
Upon request Denise has extended her Therapeutic Parenting training to 2 days!  This training is also frequently attended by professionals to gain therapeutic interaction skills with developmentally traumatized children.  Visit the "Parent Training" page to learn where the nearest city is to you or to register.  Please feel free to contact Denise to request a city here.


In 2012 Denise will begin providing introductory to advanced training for professionals who would like to gain more knowledge about children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (more commonly referred to as Developmental Trauma Disorder) and more effective treatment techniques.  In addition, adoptive families have very unique dynamics and needs; adoptive parents can develop secondary trauma from parenting traumatized children, struggle with receiving the appropriate support, and finding balance in meeting the needs of their children and themselves.  Educational staff and extended family also play a significant role in how well and how quickly a traumatized child can heal. 

Treating adoptive families whose children have experienced developmental and relational trauma is an extremely complex specialty and requires advanced training.  The appropriate assessment tools need to be utilized to be able to create trauma-informed and developmentally-targeted treatment plans.  Treatment and parenting techniques that are coercive or punitive at the minimum increase behaviors, and are considered harmful - if not abusive in some cases.  Clinicians need to not only utilize, but be able to train adoptive parents on appropriate responses to behaviors for children to even begin healing.  Denise provides training on effective assessment, family and child therapy interventions for trauma, attachment, grief/loss, identity, social skills, therapeutic parenting, and interventions for educational and treatment facility staff. 

Visit "Professional Training" page for more information and the Calendar of Events for upcoming training opportunities and registration. 

If you would like to schedule an on-site training designed specifically for your staff's needs, please contact Denise at and let her know what topics you are interested in, your location and the number of staff.  Denise will personally tailor the training program to your needs. 

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