A practical resource supporting trauma-informed practice at school

NB – It is here – see below – along with a further resource supporting trauma informed, therapeutic parenting in the home!

I am very pleased to announce that in association with the successful implementation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic CARE in TUSLA’s alternate care service in Donegal, Ireland, and the CARE Therapeutic Framework in the Kinship Care Program in South Australia, I have developed a complementary resource for trauma-informed practice in schools.

Trauma-Informed Care
Trauma-Informed Practice
Therapeutic Models of Care

The resource incorporates both the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care and the CARE Therapeutic Framework in to an accessible and readily implemented approach to the care and management of children who have experienced trauma at home.

It is my intention that the resource will facilitate common knowledge, common language and a common approach between school, home and support services in relation to hurt and troubled children.

Children need consistency
Why consistency is important

By supporting consistency of approach, the impact of endeavours to promote recovery from trauma at home is enhanced, and the undermining effect of inconsistency of approach between home and school safeguarded against.

After reading this resource teachers and other professionals in schools can expect to have a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of trauma at home on the developing child and be able to develop and implement a plan to support their recovery based on familiar aspects of caregiving and relating. They will also be able to problem-solve in relation to ongoing challenging behaviour the child who has experienced trauma at home may be exhibiting and implement practical steps to address it. Further they will be able develop and implement and practical self-care plan that supports their best efforts on behalf of children who have experienced trauma at home, and positive outcomes for the children.

The resource will be available to purchase and download via this site and securestart.com.au very soon. I recommend that you check back regularly to ensure that you do not miss out on the special introductory price.

Please also subscribe to this blog to receive an email notification when the resource is available and other practical ideas and guidance.

Join 3,115 other followers

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

You can access more information about my therapeutic parenting programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

If you have any questions, or to register your interest, you can contact me using the form below:

Training
Project Implementation
Consultation
Trauma-Informed

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Tackling Childhood Neglect

I first met the author, Lynne Peyton, in Perth, Australia, in February 2016. Lynne initiated contact with me in follow-up to a speaking engagement I delivered at the Child Wellbeing Centre in Castleblayney, Ireland, the previous October. Since the connection was made Lynne has been a reliable source of support and encouragement as I have laboured to bring my therapeutic programmes to a broader audience. Lynne is well known and widely respected consultant and leadership coach in social care, child protection and social welfare. I was happy to review her book, and my review appears on Amazon.com.au. This is what I wrote:

Tackling Childhood NeglectThis instructive call to action is presented in a highly readable and accessible style. It is worthwhile as an orientation to this major aspect of child protection and social care practice for beginning professionals and as an accompaniment to strong reflective practice among those more experienced in this important social endeavour. The book offers clear and unequivocal guidance, based on the author’s extensive professional experience. Educators and other professionals who interact with children are also likely to find this to be a useful resource.

For more information about this resource, or to purchase, click on the link below for your closest Amazon store*.

US                                                                                                      

Tackling Childhood Neglect   

UK

Tackling Childhood Neglect   

AU

Tackling Childhood Neglect

*Please note that I may receive a small commission for sales made, which helps fund this site and access to articles and resources found here.

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A Gentle Method for Getting Children to Sleep Part Two

This is a follow-up to the very popular article A Gentle Method for Getting Children to Sleep in their Own Beds. In that article I referenced reading books, singing lullabies and playing relaxing classical music in the child’s sleeping environment. In this article I will expand on what books I read, what lullabies I sang, and what music I used.

Before we get too far in to the article, I want to mention that although I commonly see results from this method within a short period of time (e.g. days), I would recommend maintaining the method for at-least several months, or even years, depending on the age and needs of the child. Bedtime rituals are an opportunity to spend one-to-one, special time with the child and, implemented consistently, promote the child’s psychological readiness to accept separation and slide peacefully to sleep. I maintained bedtime rituals for each of my children for varying lengths of time. In the case of my youngest son, I used the above methodology until he was seven years of age, transitioning to more and more sophisticated books over time, and gradually phasing out lullabies and songs. Thereafter, I maintained some form of bedtime ritual until he reached his early teens. I might add that the rituals I followed were implemented every night, so I made sure that I only started what I could keep up over time. Consistency is calming, and inconsistency (such as starting and stopping something) is irritating, and hence, interferes with a child’s readiness to fall asleep.

As I mentioned in my earlier article, I tended to use a small number of lullabies and books across a given period, for consistency sake and because an association is built between the lullabies and books and feelings of readiness to fall sleep (i.e. sleepiness). Psychologists refer to this association as classical conditioning, and its effect is that the child can become sleepy when the same songs are sung or books are read, whatever time of the day. Over time, one or more new lullabies/songs would be introduced at a time, and one dropped off the ‘list’. I used to sing all the widely-familiar lullabies (I used a book of lullabies and we went through the book while I sang) and I also sang other songs, such as the Postman Pat theme (sometimes substituting in the name of my child for ‘Postman Pat”). I particularly liked to sing The Ants go Marching last and observed that my son would either fall asleep or be very close by the time I finished.

In terms of the books I read, over time there was a wide range, from simple nursery stories to, when my son was seven, children’s novels. I want to mention three here, that were particularly popular with us.

The first was a book called Just Like You, by Jan Fearnley, which is a story that follows Mumma Mouse and Little Mouse as they travel home and Little Mouse’s observation of the interactions of other animal parents and their young. It is a lovely book that reinforces knowledge of the care and protection parents afford their young, and associated bonds of love. This was my personal favorite and I cannot recommend it highly enough

The second book we used was the very popular Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney. This book tells the story of the interaction between Big Nutbrown Hare and his son, Little Nutbrown Hare, about how big is their love of each other. This is also a lovely book for preschool-aged children.

The third book we used was The Staircase Cat, by Colin Thompson. It tells the story of a cat that becomes separated from its caretakers during a war, and of their eventual reunion. Warning, it is an emotional read, but the theme of separations and reunions is particularly poignant at bedtime. This one is better-used with older, school-aged child.

Finally, I recommend playing relaxing classical music in the child’s sleeping environment, all night, every night. The reason being is that, apart from also introducing an element of consistency into the bedtime and sleeping routine, it is known, as the word suggests, that relaxing classical music induces relaxation and deepens sleep – even when the child is asleep already. The latter is supported by a study of patients undergoing surgery, where soothing music was played during some procedures and not others. The study showed that during those procedures where soothing music was played in the operating theatre the patients required less anaesthetic than those where soothing music was not played. That is, the soothing music helped to deepen sedation.

I recommend that the music is played very quietly, so that it is only just audible in a quiet room. I also recommend leaving it on all night, so the child sleeps restfully all night and wakens refreshed. Start the music playing while singing and reading (beware, you might also fall asleep!), and leave it on when you leave. If the child complains that the music keeps them awake, start it after they have gone to sleep and/or put it on in an adjacent room or hallway. The latter is also recommended if the device on which the music is being played is likely to be a distraction and temptation to the child.

I recommend using the Dream Children compilation, by Ron Spigelman and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. It is available for purchase on both the iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Please follow the links below to purchase the items referred to in this article. I may receive a small commission for your purchases. Such commissions help to fund the production of articles and resources on this site.

Via Amazon US (Click Image):

lullabiesjust like youGuess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Art dream children

Via Amazon in the UK:

lullabiesjust like youGuess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Artdream children

Via Amazon Australia:

lullabiesGuess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Art

If you wish to access a PDF of this article, please click here.

If you found the information in this article useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please also subscribe to this blog to receive further ideas and guidance when it becomes available.

Join 3,115 other followers

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

For more information about my work visit securestart.com.au.

You can access more information about my therapeutic parenting programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

If you have any questions about this method, you can contact me using the form below:

Posted in AAA Caregiving, Adoption, Attachment, Fostering, kinship care, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Punishment is Problematic

People do not act for no reason.

They may act in response to an idea.

They may act in response to an emotion.

They may act in response to a need that requires satisfaction.

They may act because the way their brain developed impairs their capacity to think before they act in the presence of a trigger (stimulus).

If we accept the truth that people do not act for no reason, then we must similarly accept that when we punish a child for their actions without any effort to try to understand why they did what they did, we are essentially communicating to them that their thoughts, feelings, needs and biological characteristics are unimportant or invalid. Repeated often enough, the child develops the belief that they are unimportant and invalid.

The consequences of invalidation include behavioural problems, emotional problems, preoccupations with needs and a lack of regard for the impact of one’s behaviour on others and one’s relationships.

We can avoid perpetuating maladaptive behaviour in children by responding with understanding to the reason for their behaviour and, in doing so, nourish connections that support their self-regulation and adherence to behaviour conventions.

Pinocchio tells the truth, lest his nose grow and he experience disapproval

For more information about what therapeutic (re)parenting looks like, I recommend my books about attachment and resilience.

Colby Pearce Resilience

To access a PDF of this article, click here.

If you found the information in this article useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please also subscribe to this blog to receive further ideas and guidance when it becomes available.

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

For more information about my work visit securestart.com.au.

You can access more information about my therapeutic parenting programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

You can contact me using this form:

Posted in AAA Caregiving, Attachment, Fostering, kinship care, Parenting, Training Programs, trauma informed practice, Trauma Informed Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trauma-Informed: Adopting a Balanced View

I was born in January, which is the height of summer in Adelaide, South Australia. As such, I have always thought of myself as a “summer baby” and considered that this is why I enjoy the warmer months as opposed to the cooler months. I have a lifelong aversion to feeling cold and for many, many years I felt below my best during winter. I have questioned many people about this and have discovered that most people prefer either the warmer months or the cooler months. Many of them are just not happy until their preferred season returns.

A number of years ago, and with the emergence of joint aches and pains during the colder months, I had the thought that it was a bit of nonsense really to consider myself a “summer baby” and defer happiness until it was warm again. I have always been a keen gardener and have a large hills garden. Looking after my garden is an act of self-care. Water is an issue as it is scarce and expensive, my garden is large, and summer is hot (As I write this it is the fifth consecutive day of over 40C). So, I bought some rainwater tanks and now I ‘pray’ for as much ‘bad’ weather as possible during the cooler months. I check the weather radar each day and feel let down if forecast wet and wintry weather blows south or north. I still have my aches and pains and look forward to the warmer months when they trouble me less, but I also look forward to cooler, wetter months now as it is a boon for my efforts to maintain a magnificent garden. And the garden? Well, with the additional water supply it has never looked better.

What has all this got to do with looking after children and young people; particularly those who experienced significant adversity in the first days, weeks, months and years of their precious lives? Well, it has to do with how we perceive them and the effects of this; both in terms of our own experience of caring for them and their experience of being cared for by us.

I am particularly interested in the idea of “self-fulfilling-prophecies”. In Psychology, these take the following form. I have a thought. My thought induces an emotion. My emotion activates a behavioural response. My behavioural response precipitates a reaction in others. The reaction of others often confirms my original thought.

Let’s try one. Thought: nobody loves me. A common feeling associated with this thought: sadness. A common behavioural response to feeling sad: withdrawal. An all-to-common reaction from others to my withdrawal: admonishment. An (almost) inevitable result: confirmation of the original – thought nobody loves me.

Lets try another. He is damaged by his early experiences. I feel badly for him. I try to heal him. He keeps pushing me away*. He is obviously damaged.

And, another: He is such a good artist. I am so proud of him. I support and encourage his interest in art. His skills develop and he is often affirmed for his artistic achievements. He is such a good artist!

Children and young people who have experienced significant adversity at the beginning of their life are commonly referred to as “traumatised”. There is much literature about how early trauma impacts the developing child, including their acquisition of skills and abilities, their emotions, their relationships with others and even their brain. This literature focuses on the damage early trauma does and there is a risk that we, their caregivers, see these children as damaged.

One of my favourite allegories is the one that the author Paulo Coelho tells in his book, The Zahir. Coelho tells the story of two fire-fighters who take a break from fire fighting. One has a clean face and the other has a dirty, sooty face. As they are resting beside a stream, one of the fire-fighters washes his face. The question is posed as to which of the fire-fighters washes his face. The answer is the one whose face was clean, because he looked at the other and thought he was dirty.

The idea of the looking-glass-self (Cooley, 1902), whereby a person’s self-concept is tied to their experience of how others view them, has pervaded my life and my practice since I stumbled across the concept as a university student. Empirical studies have shown that the self-concept of children and young people, in particular, is shaped by their experience of how others view them. In my work, this has created a tension between acknowledging the ill-effects of early trauma and encouraging a more helpful focus among those who interact with so-called ‘traumatised children’ in a caregiving role.

I am just as fallible as the next person, and I do not have all the answers. But as a professional who interacts with these children and their caregivers on a daily basis I strive to find a balance between acknowledging and addressing the ill-effects of early trauma and promoting a more helpful perception of these children. I strive to present opportunities to these children for them to experience themselves as good, lovable and capable; to experience me and other adults in their lives as interested in them, as caring towards them and as delighting in their company; as well as experiences that the world is a safe place where their needs are satisfied. I strive to enhance their experience of living and relating, rather than dwelling on repairing the damage that was done to them. Most of all, I see precious little humans whose potential is still yet to be discovered.

Eyes are mirrors for a child’s soul. What do children see in your eyes?

*Children who have had a tough start to life are often defensive about a fuss being made about them. Conversely, they can soak up such a fuss and present as so ‘needy’ that they never seem to get better; notwithstanding our best efforts.

For more information about what therapeutic (re)parenting looks like, I recommend my books about attachment and resilience.

Colby Pearce Resilience

To access a PDF of this article, click here.

If you found the information in this article useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please also subscribe to this blog to receive further ideas and guidance when it becomes available.

Join 3,115 other followers

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

For more information about my work visit securestart.com.au.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

References

Coelho, P (2005), The Zahir. London. Harper Collins

Cooley, C.H. (1902). Human Nature and the Social Order. New York. NY: Scribner Publishers                                                       

Posted in Adoption, Attachment, Fostering, kinship care, Parenting, Training Programs, trauma informed, trauma informed care, Trauma Informed Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Therapeutic Parenting : What it Looks Like

Recently, I posted about what I consider to be therapeutic (re)parenting for children who are recovering from a tough start to life. You can read that post by clicking here. In this post I will provide a description of what therapeutic parenting might look like when viewed as enrichment of conventional aspects of parenting that support recovery from inconsistent and inadequate care and early attachment trauma.

It is not an exhaustive list, but may provide some useful ideas about where to start. I would encourage you to subscribe or otherwise connect with me (see below for options) as I will be releasing more specific guidance shortly.

  1. Provide routines and boundaries: These support experience of order and consistency, where once there was chaos and inconsistency. Simple things like a consistent mealtimes, bedtimes and one-to-one activities (including bedtime rituals).
  2. Check in: Initiating interaction with the child without them having to do anything to gain your attention offers experiences that you are thinking of them and that you are there for them without them having to control and regulate your proximity to reassure themselves of your availability and responsiveness. Simple things like greeting them when you return to the house before they seek you out, or checking in with them to let them know where you are, what you will be doing, and when you will be back. A simple note in their lunch box can also reassure the child that they are in your thoughts, even when you are parted.
  3. Tune in: Observing their emotions and allowing yourself to show your own echo of their emotions (also called instinctive empathy) before self-regulating back to calm supports connection on an emotional level. Emotional connection and regulation back to calm supports many aspects of children’s socio-emotional development, including emotional awareness, emotional expression, empathy and socio-emotional reciprocity (regulating our own behaviours and expressed emotion to positively influence the experience of others). One of the most common ways to facilitate shared emotional experiences is to do activities with a child (eg art and craft, play, watching/playing sport, card/board games). Other ways are to show pride in their achievements and concern when they are distressed.
  4. Address their needs proactively: Addressing needs before the child has a chance to express them supports their experience that their needs are understood and important and that they do not have to control and regulate their environment (including you) to reassure themselves that their needs will be met. You already ensure that they have shelter, clothing, physical sustenance, and access to education. You might also offer that snack they regularly ask for at school pick-up before they ask, or offer to help them with their homework, or take them to the playground. If you can anticipate the request or gesture made by the child to secure a response to a need or reasonable wish, get in first.
  5. Speak their mind: If you have a pre-verbal child or a pet you know what I mean. Most people will say they do this with their pets and small children. Say what you think is in their head (thoughts) and in their heart (feelings). If you know the answer (even if the child will not give it) to the question, don’t ask it: say the answer. Speaking their mind assists children who have a tough start to life to feel understood and that their experience matters; that they matter. It also assists them to develop language to use to articulate their experience. If you can see what sort of a day the child has had as they approach you at school pick-up, don’t ask them how their day was. Say what you see. Make it a statement that communicates understanding of their experience of the day. You can do the same at mealtimes (you really like that) and when you are doing activities together (this is fun).

For more information about what therapeutic (re)parenting looks like, I recommend my books about attachment and resilience.

Colby Pearce Resilience

To access a PDF of this article, click here.

If you found the information in this article useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please also subscribe to this blog to receive further ideas and guidance when it becomes available.

Join 3,115 other followers

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

For more information about my work visit securestart.com.au.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

Posted in Adoption, Attachment, Fostering, kinship care, Parenting, trauma informed, trauma informed care | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Party Hats On Monsters

I find this to be a very useful activity for assisting younger children to manage their fears and nightmares. It should be a fun activity, so if the child is showing distress or resistance at participating, then it is not the time or place or activity for them. It is not a substitute for formal professional assistance and if fears or nightmares persist I would encourage parents and caregivers to consult their Doctor or a mental health professional.

Party Hats on Monsters is a technique that assists children with their fears in an enjoyable and non-threatening way. It can also be used to assist children who experience distressing nightmares. A lot of children often don’t feel comfortable expressing their feelings verbally so this strategy uses drawing to help children to still be able manage their feelings and work though things that might be troubling them.

Step 1.        

Ask your child to draw a picture of something that makes them feel happy and safe.

Step 2.        

Talk with your child about the picture they drew in a relaxed manner.

Step 3.        

Encourage your child to draw a picture of the nightmare/feared object that has been troubling them.

Step 4.        

Now encourage your child to change the picture in funny ways to make it seem less scary. For example, they can draw it wearing a party hat, they could draw a super hero or magic fairy to change the scary characters from mean to nice. The more changes, and the sillier the picture is, the better.

Step 5.        

While the child is changing their picture you can tell them that changing the picture makes the nightmare or feared object less scary. Let them know that they can also change the picture they have in their head to help them feel less frightened.

Practice this task with your child when they have nightmares or until they get the hang of it and are able to change the pictures in their head.

To access a PDF of this activity click here.

Source: Hall, T.M., Kaduson, H.G., & Schaefer, C.E. (2001), Fifteen Effective Play Therapy Techniques. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(6), 515-522

Important:

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Join 3,115 other followers

For more information about the thinking behind these enrichment activities visit securestart.com.au or email me at colby@securestart.com.au.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

Join 3,115 other followers

Posted in Parenting, Therapy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

How to train : Some reflections

The training of carers of children in out-of-home-care (OOHC) and the social care professionals who support them is closely aligned. There is an emphasis on imparting what carers and professionals need to know (theory/ideas), and relatively less emphasis on what they need to do (that is, how to put theory in to practice). This might be seen as the logical outcome of how trainers, themselves, were trained, in that formal education of those who train is likely to have itself emphasised the acquisition of knowledge of the subject(s) about which they train.

In my opinion, training ideally pays equal attention to what participants need to know and what they need to do to put this knowledge in to practice. Theoretical content must enable problem-solving (what is going on here?) and the ability to identify what strategies are most likely to address problems (what do I do to address this?). That is, in a context of finite access to additional supports, training ideally supports independent thinking, problem-solving, and self-reliance.

Whether I am writing a book or training package or conducting an implementation project, these ideas are at the forefront of my endeavours. The aim is to not only support an understanding of the subject that promotes effective individual problem-solving and self-reliance, but also to impart knowledge of strategies that address difficulties that are likely to be encountered and how to put these strategies in to practice.

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A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition) represents a practical resources written to facilitate both an understanding of the impact of parenting and adverse relational experiences on the developing child, as well as providing a toolkit of practical strategies to facilitate children’s recovery and growth.

My two programs – The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care and the CARE Therapeutic Framework – also target the promotion of knowledge of the issues affecting children in out-of-home-care and their caregivers and emphasise training in practical strategies for addressing these issues and the knowledge of when and how to employ them (and anticipated outcomes).

For more information about A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition), including how to access a copy, visit here.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place way to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

If you found the content of this article interesting and/or useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

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Posted in Training Programs, trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trauma-informed in South Australia: the Kinship CARE Project

As at September 2018 there were 1717 children in kinship care placements in South Australia, representing 46% of all children in out-of-home care with an authority for placement (Department for Child Protection Reporting and Statistics). Year-by-year statistics for the period 30 June 2014 to 30 September 2018 show that, across a four-year period, the number of children in kinship care placements grew by 523. By comparison, the number of children in foster care placements as at September 2018 was 1,442, which represents 39% of children in out-of-home care with an authority for placement. Across the period June 2014 to September 2018 the number of children in foster care grew by 338.

These statistics show that kinship care is the largest form of family-based care for children in out-of-home care with an authority for placement in South Australia. They also show that the number of children entering kinship care placements over the last four years has grown almost fifty percent faster than the number entering foster care.

The Kinship CARE Project

The Kinship CARE Project is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional implementation program that supports common language, common knowledge and a common approach to the therapeutic re-parenting of children in out-of-home-care who have experienced early trauma.  Participants include kinship carers, kinship care support staff and psychology professionals. The Kinship CARE Project draws on the CARE Therapeutic Framework, which is both a model of therapeutic care and a practice framework for the promotion of trauma-informed care and trauma-informed practice. Additional information about the CARE Therapeutic Framework and the Kinship CARE Project can be found here.

The Kinship CARE Project incorporates continuous quality assurance and evaluation measures in support of fidelity to the ‘model’ and classification of the CARE Therapeutic Framework as ‘evidence based practice’ for:

  • Establishing a common knowledge, language and approach among kinship carers, kinship care support workers, and psychologists who support both;
  • Developing competencies related to trauma-informed, therapeutic re-parenting of children in kinship care, and competencies in the implementation of a practice framework that supports fidelity to the therapeutic re-parenting approach;
  • Developing competencies in self-care;
  • Supporting empowerment and self-efficacy in the respective roles of participants of the program; and
  • Improving connections between kinship children and their carers (reduce placement breakdowns and support attachment security), and connections between kinship carers and Agency staff who work in the kinship care space.

The opportunity exists to further support trauma-informed care and practice in your organisation by undertaking an implementation project for the CARE Therapeutic Framework. If you represent an organisation that might be interested, do get in touch with me via my email at colby@securestart.com.au.

Important:

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Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place way to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

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Reactive Attachment Disorder and the Looking-Glass-Self

Epilogue

In his 1902 publication, Human Nature and the Social Order, Charles Horton Cooley introduced the concept of the Looking Glass Self to portray his idea that an individual’s perception of themselves develops in association with how they experience others to see them. Using naturalistic observation as his primary research methodology, including observation of his own children, Cooley proposed that ideas of self  incorporate (1) our thoughts about how we must appear to others; (2) our thoughts about the judgement of others of this appearance; and (3) our feelings associated with the imagined judgements of others. Empirical research has shown that how adolescents and young adults think of themselves is correlated with how they think they are perceived by their parents (Cook and Douglas, 1998). Though there is an emerging acknowledgement that, as they get older, individuals actively seek to influence the judgements of others, contemporary sociological research (Yeung and Martin, 2003) lends support to the idea that “ . . . self-conceptions are instilled through interaction with high-status alters” (p.843). It follows that an individual’s thoughts of how they must appear to others, their thoughts about the judgements of others of this appearance and the resultant feelings associated with the imagined judgements of others are likely to stem from the individual’s experience of relatedness to others. Though not the sole determinant of self-concept, it is conceivable that if a child predominantly experiences significant others to be friendly and interested in them, understanding of them and accepting of who they are from an early age, the child will think of themself as interesting, competent and approved of. In contrast, if a child predominantly experiences significant others to be inaccessible, frightening, rejecting or disinterested, they will think of themselves as bad, undeserving and unsafe. When one considers the historical experiences of children who have an attachment disorder, their maladjusted behaviour and the associated rejecting and punitive responses of adults in a caregiving role, it should be of no surprise that negative attachment representations are maintained and strengthened (Pearce, 2010).

Children who have an attachment disorder perceive themselves to be bad. As long as they perceive themselves to be bad, they will act bad. Acting bad produces a predictable response in others and confirms their belief system, which in an unhealthy sense is reassuring to the child who has an attachment disorder. It provides an element of stability and predictability to counter-balance their perception that their world is unpredictable and chaotic, this latter being anxiety-evoking. Negative conduct also draws more attention than positive conduct. Consider the fact that newborn babies draw attention to their needs through affective displays that would later be considered to be antisocial. This behaviour, along with a gregarious smile, has emerged through evolution as an effective means by which the young child communicates with others and secures needs provision. It follows that children who are preoccupied with accessibility to needs provision are likely to use these infant strategies (i.e., charming smiles and screaming tantrums). We should not be surprised that these strategies are consistent with the two types of disorder of attachment referred to in this book.

In caring for children who have an attachment disorder it is important to maintain a positive attitude and disposition towards the child as a person and to not be drawn into a perception of them as fundamentally bad because their behaviour is bad. Spending special time together and exclaiming over their positive qualities and abilities are useful starting points in this process, as is holding and maintaining positive thoughts about the child. Nevertheless, it is important to be mindful that in doing so you are acting unpredictably from the child’s point of view. This will take some getting used to at first for the child and they may even actively resist (e.g. “So you think I am good; well I’ll show you just how bad I can be”). Nevertheless, in the longer term they will come to accept that you see them in a positive light and this will be the beginning of them seeing themselves the same way.

Eyes are mirrors for a child’s soul. What do children see in your eyes?

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Source: Pearce, C (2016). A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

To learn more, access a copy of the book.

If you found the content of this article interesting and/or useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please subscribe to this blog to receive further articles when they become available.

Join 3,115 other followers

Follow the links below to my two new resources supporting consistency of care and effective communication between home and school for children recovering from a tough start to life:

Click here for more information and to access our resource for carers who are supporting children who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here for more information and to access our new resource for teachers who are managing children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

You can access more information about my programs by clicking the links below:

CARE embedded in AAA

Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care

The CARE Therapeutic Framework

Helping Children and Young People Realise their Potential

Another place way to connect with my work is to follow one or more of my pages on Facebook:

Secure Start Therapeutic Care

Secure Start

To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

LinkedIn

Twitter

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References

Cooley, CH (1902). Human Nature and The Social Order. USA: Charles Scribner’s Sons

Cook, W.C., & Douglas, E.M. (1998), The looking glass self in family context: A social relations analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 12(3), 299-309

Yeung, K.T. & Martin, J.L. (2003). The looking glass self: An empirical test and elaboration. Social Forces, 81(3), 843-879

Pearce, C.M. (2010). An Integration of Theory, Science and Reflective Clinical Practice in the Care and Management of Attachment-Disordered Children – A Triple A Approach. Educational and Child Psychology (Special Issue on Attachment), 27 (3): 73-86

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