Media Release: Proactive Needs Provision Vital for Recovery From Child Abuse

Castleblayney Presentation ArticleWhat follows is a media release for the event at which I spoke on Thursday the 22nd of October in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. The clip to the right is the article in The Northern Standard that appeared on 31/10/15.


Preventing the abuse and neglect of children is one of the great imperatives of our time. Helping children who are victims of abuse and neglect to recover and lead happy and productive lives is just as important.

‘Few acts committed in anger or ignorance have such far-reaching negative consequences than the abuse and neglect of children’ says Australian Clinical Psychologist, Colby Pearce.

Also referred to as ‘Complex Developmental Trauma’, child abuse and neglect negatively affects children’s developmental trajectory. Too often the result is lifelong difficulties and deficient care of their own children.

‘A key aspect of preventing the abuse and neglect of future generations of children is helping their parents recover from their own abuse now, while they are still children themselves’, says Pearce. ‘In doing so we change the path of their lives and, potentially, those of their children’.

Pearce is the author of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, an approach to the care and management of children affected by abuse and neglect. Triple-A, for short, extends what we know and is widely practised in the care of children in out-of-home care.

‘Across twenty-years as a clinician working with children who have experienced abuse and neglect I have observed them to remain intensely preoccupied with controlling and managing their environment, including adults with whom they come into contact, even after they are placed in stable and loving homes. A recent survey we conducted of carers of children in out-of-home care supports this’, says Pearce.

‘Children recovering from abuse and neglect are often incredibly demanding and preoccupied with their needs. Too often, the result is the breakdown of both home and education placements, thus compounding the effects of their early trauma’.

Triple-A extends current thinking and practice to include consideration of what children learn about how to get their needs met while in an abusive and neglectful environment, and how to combat this through conventional approaches to the care of children.

‘Responding to the child’s efforts to achieve satisfaction of their needs teaches the child very little that is useful about the caregiver’s sensitivity and responsiveness. Too often, caregivers feel overwhelmed by the child’s enduring preoccupation with their needs and placements break down. Children achieve new learning that their needs are understood, important and will be responded to without them having to go to great lengths to make it so when their needs are addressed proactively; that is, before they ask’ says Pearce.

In Triple-A, there is an emphasis on conventional approaches to caregiving that are particularly useful in promoting recovery from abuse and neglect.

‘It is important that carers of children who have experienced abuse and neglect are offered advice that draws on their existing skills and practices. Only then will they feel like they have already been making a positive contribution to the recovery of the child or children in their care and continue to implement such practices in a way that further promotes recovery’, says Pearce.

Pearce will be sharing his ideas about promoting children’s recovery from abuse and neglect at the Castleblayney Wellbeing Centre on Thursday the 22nd of October 2015.

The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care is approved for implementation in Co. Donegal with the support of TUSLA (Child and Family Agency).

Colby Pearce is an Australian Clinical Psychologist and author of two books, including the bestseller A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder. For more information about Colby or to contact him visit:


About colbypearce

I am a practising Clinical Psychologist with twenty-seven years’ experience working with children and young people recovering from abuse and neglect. I am also an author and educator in trauma-informed, therapeutic caregiving. My programs are implemented in Australia and Ireland, and I am well-known for my practical and accessible guidance for caregivers and professionals alike.
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