trauma relational stress and child development


Course for parents and professional who work with children

Course dates:

Ljubljana, Slovenia, New dates will come. 5 pm – 8.30 pm.

The seminar will be held in English without translation.

Please visit the organizer’s website for more information about venue, price and signing up.


Webinar in English, 16th, and 17th of October at 8 pm – 9.45 pm.


This course can be ordered on request by groups, companies, schools, kindergartens etc. It is the same as our very popular course in Norwegian.

Teacher of this course is Hans Holter Solhjell. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you (in relation to either children or adults)?

  • Frequent strong reactions that last for a long time.
  • It takes very little to trigger strong and prolonged reactions.
  • Often frustrated, bored, or angry.
  • Getting involved in conflict with others easily.
  • Overly passive or submissive during play.
  • Lack of motivation, excessive sensitivity, or too self-controlled.

If you are experiencing some or most of these things, you know it is usually exhausting, demanding, and frustrating for children, siblings, parents, and others. This can make adults feel unsure about how to handle the situation.

In this course, you will get a basic understanding of trauma and relational stress and how both positive and negative stress help to influence and shape a child’s development. We focus especially on the effects that stress and trauma have on the development of a child’s brain, self-regulation, emotional regulation, self-expression, play, and exploration.

We also look at the important role of adults (parents, family members, school and kindergarten employees) in a child’s development of self-regulation, and how adults can work together to create a safe and relational environment that is supportive of children’s development.

The course is appropriate for parents, people who work with children, and people who want to better understand themselves and their own reactions to relational stress and trauma.

This basic course will provide you with a basic understanding of trauma and relational stress. First and foremost, if you are interested in practical advice on how to handle everyday difficult situations, we then recommend our course on communication and conflict management in relationships with children.


  • Basic understanding of what trauma is.
  • Relational stress, trauma, and complex trauma.
  • How trauma and severe stress affect the brain and nervous system.
  • Why younger people are more vulnerable to stress and trauma.
  • Psychoneurobiological attachment theory, self-regulation,  and co-regulation.
  • Triune brain theory, the autonomic nervous system, polyvagal theory and the social engagement system, and the fight-flight-freeze response.
  • What we can do if we are involved with children who have experienced trauma or who are particularly challenging to relate to for other reasons.

This course is taught by Hans Holter Solhjell.

Hans wrote his thesis in pedagogy on topics related to self-regulation, the development of the brain and nervous system, psychoneurobiological developmental theory, trauma, etc. He is educated in two different body-oriented trauma therapies: Somatic Experiencing (SE) and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE).

Hans provides general courses and guidance to parents, kindergartens, and schools, as well as training focused on the effects trauma has on both children and adults. Hans also developed the PLS Co-regulation Model over the past 12 years. You can read more about Hans here.

The PLS Co-regulation Model.

In the course, you will also get an introduction to the PLS Co-regulation Model (PLS is short for Positive Learning Spirals). The PLS Co-regulation Model is a new practically-oriented model that Hans developed to better support and teach adults to support children in their development of capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation and to help children cope with different types of trauma.

If you want to learn more about the PLS Co-regulation Model and how to put it into practice in your daily life, we have three options: Our course in communication and conflict resolution in relationships with children, private sessions, and our instructor training (a 12-day program that takes place over a year).

More about the course.

Psychoneurobiological attachment theory describes how relational interpersonal experiences affect the development and function of the brain and nervous system. And especially the features and parts of the brain that are related to affect regulation, self-regulation, and executive functions. Affect regulation and self-regulation are skills that we continue to develop throughout our lives, including throughout our adulthood.

A child’s development of self-regulation capacity is largely influenced by the quality of co-regulation and regulatory support they get from their caregivers in everyday situations over time. And the biological maturation of the child’s brain and nervous system are in many ways dependent on this co-regulation and on relational experiences that support development over the long term – throughout their entire lifetime, really.

Our capacity for self-regulation is largely responsible for our capacity to deal with stress and the demands of life and preserve or restore our own experience of security, inner freedom, and vitality in the situations we are in. And by our ability to handle gradually more complex challenges throughout our lives. Especially in relation to both positive and negative relational stress.

Relational stress, whether positive or negative, is an inherent part of all relationships and all social interaction. A child’s ability to self-regulate is important not only for regulating negative emotions but also for maintaining and modulating positive emotions. For a child, this is important in relation to (for example) taking initiative and participating in play and curiosity while they explore their social and physical environments and their own capabilities.

Gradually increasing self-regulation capacity and the maturation of the associated biological structures are important factors in a child’s development of good mental health, ability to cope with major stresses, resilience, and optimal further development in life.

The course is also relevant for adults who have experienced trauma, or who want to understand more about themselves and their own experiences with trauma and relational stress. When we can better understand and process our own emotional, cognitive, and behavioural response patterns, we are better able to self-regulate. Obviously, this is an advantage when we are supporting children through our co-regulation, and this course will provide you with some insights about how to achieve this.

“A child’s development of self-regulation capacity is largely influenced by the quality of co-regulation and regulatory support they get from their caregivers in everyday situations over time.”
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