January 25, 2016

Meet the Speaker: Dan Hughes

In the leadup to the 2016 International Childhood Trauma Conference, we asked Dan Hughes the following four questions, hoping to gain some insight into the people, places and experiences that helped shape him and his professional journey.


1. What was a pivotal experience (the “spark”) that started you off in your research and/or practice?

The ‘spark’ that led me into psychology and greatly influenced the direction of my gaze as I began my clinical practice was the book by Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person. It led me to become convinced that all transforming therapeutic interventions had to be embedded in Acceptance and Empathy.


2. Who from your childhood would have known that you would do the sort of work you are doing? And why?

When I was 17 I developed a relationship with a priest, Father Edward Murray, who, at the time was studying to become a psychologist. Over the next 4 years, during our many talks, he came to know my interest, as a psychologist, in making a difference in the troubled lives of working class families similar to those I knew while growing up.


3. What has been the most important insight that you have derived from your work that you hope others would find interesting?

I have become convinced that in offering aid to maltreated children our greatest gift is our self, being active in discovering and communicating our experience of the strengths and possibilties available for these children including our experience that they are truly worth having us care for them.


4. What is one new idea that you are hoping to share with delegates at the conference in 2016?

Children who have been maltreated by those who they were born trusting, often enter a state of Blocked Trust which makes it very difficult to accept the care provided by their care-givers. This often leads to Blocked Care in the care-giver. I hope to share ideas about creating the joint development of Renewed Trust and Renewed Care.

Dan Hughes is a clinical psychologist who resides in Lebanon, PA, with an office in nearby Annville. After receiving his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Ohio University he fairly quickly began specializing in the treatment of children and youth who had experienced abuse and neglect and for the most part now manifested serious psychological problems secondary to childhood trauma and attachment disorganization. Not having much success helping these children with traditional treatments, he developed an attachment-focused treatment that relied heavily on the theories and research of attachment and intersubjectivity to guide his model of treatment and parenting.

If you would like to hear more from Dan Hughes, make sure you register for the conference here.