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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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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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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A Tale of Four Mice: An Attachment Story

Consistency

Following the popularity of the allegory, A Tale of Three Mice, which formed the prologue to the first edition of A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder, when I was asked by my publisher to prepare a Second Edition I extended the story to a fourth mouse.

Let me know what you think.

Once upon a time there were four mice.

The first mouse lived in a house that contained, along with furniture and other household goods and possessions, a button and a hole in the wall from which food was delivered. Each time the mouse pressed the button he would receive a tasty morsel of his favourite food. The mouse understood that, when he was hungry, all he had to do was press the button and food would arrive via the hole. The mouse took great comfort in the predictability of his access to food and only pressed the button when he was hungry.

The second mouse lived in a similar house, also containing a button and a hole in the wall from which food was delivered. Unfortunately, the button in his house was faulty and delivered food on an inconsistent basis when he pressed it, such that he might receive food via the hole on the first, fifth, seventh, or even the eleventh time he pressed the button. This mouse learnt that he could not always rely on the button and that he had to press the button many times, even when he was not actually hungry, in order to ensure that he would have food. Even after his button was fixed he found it difficult to stop pressing it frequently and displayed a habit of storing up food.

The third mouse also lived in a similar house, containing a button and a hole in the wall from which food was to be delivered. However, the button in his house did not work at all. He soon learnt that he could not rely on the button and would have to develop other ways of gaining access to food. This belief, and his associated lack of trust in the button, persisted when he moved to a new home with a fully functioning button. He developed unconventional strategies to access food, such as stealing from his neighbour’s house.

A fourth mouse was most unfortunate of all. In addition to presses of his button failing to result in the delivery of food, there was a malfunction with his underfloor heating, such that suddenly and without warning the floor would become electrified and he would receive a painful electric shock. In a further twist, the button that was supposed to result in the delivery of food when pressed became the means by which the electrification of the floor could be switched off. This mouse never strayed far from the button and focused intently on it, even when moved to another home where presses of the button consistently resulted in the delivery of food and the floor never became electrified.

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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 about the meaning of this allegory, 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.

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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Posted in Adoption, Attachment, Fostering, kinship care, Parenting, trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice, Trauma Informed Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Therapeutic Parenting : What is it?

Across a career spanning almost 25 years I have spent much of my time engaging with caregivers of deeply hurt and troubled children.

Caregivers of these children often ask: What can I do to help this child?

This is an interesting question.

Which of the following statements best reflects the first answer caregivers would like to receive to this question?

  1. This is what you are doing wrong.
  2. This is what you should be doing.
  3. This is what you are doing right!

Which are caregivers more likely to keep doing over time:

  1. What they already know and do that is helpful for the child in their care?
  2. A completely new regime of care and management strategies?

I believe that therapeutic parenting must start with conventional care and relational strategies; that is, what caregivers already know and already do that supports recovery from a tough start to life.

Why? Two reasons, really:

  1. Because change is stressful, and children who have had a tough start to life are particularly sensitive to change (consistency and predictability, on the other hand, are reassuring and actually reduce stress).
  2. Because it is difficult to make significant changes to how we approach caregiving and sustain them over time (we all are susceptible to falling back in to old habits and ways in which we have always done things. This is a big problem for children who have had a tough start to life as to change the way one approaches caregiving, only to revert to old ways, is experienced by the child as inconsistency, which is stressful and can have the effect of further unsettling the child’s emotions and behaviours).

My recommended approach to therapeutic (re) parenting is to identify particular aspects of conventional caregiving and relating (that is, we all do them, at least some of the time) that we know from science provide strong foundations for children’s development and the achievement of their potential.  I then ask that they be implemented intentionally and in an organised and ordered (that is predictable) way.

Neglectful CARE

Why? Because children who have had a tough start to life have generally missed out on important experiences of caregiving and relating that support optimal development and wellbeing.

Good CARE

So, from my perspective, therapeutic parenting is an enrichment process, at least to begin with. It enriches conventional aspects of caregiving and relating that support what we know about how to raise healthy and happy children who achieve their developmental potential. For those children who are recovering from a tough start to life, it fills in the gaps in their experience of caregiving.

Though it is trauma informed, therapeutic parenting need not necessarily focus too much on the impact of trauma. Rather, therapeutic parenting must be strengths based. Children see themselves as they experience others to see them, so they need their caregivers to see their strengths and evidence of recovery. Similarly, there is nothing more demoralizing than being sensitized to see the impacts of abuse and neglect and associated challenges to the caregiving role, as opposed to evidence that the hurt child is recovering and growing in your care. A strengths focus, both in terms of what caregivers are doing right and signs of recovery and growth, is supportive of self-care. Good self-care enriches caregivers’ capacity to provide the sensitive and responsive care needed by children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

The CARE Therapeutic Framework and the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care are strengths-based, trauma informed approaches to supporting the recovery of children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. I would love to hear from you about conducting an implementation project in your organisation, or in the organisation that supports you in the caregiving role.

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.

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

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To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

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School Holidays : A brief survival guide

Dear subscribers and visitors. It is Christmas holiday time here in Australia, and I thought that I would update this older post, which was very much buried in this site. Again, it contains some practical advice that many parents, grandparents, foster parents, kinship carers and adoptive parents might appreciate receiving at this time. The information is drawn from what is known about how people respond in, and react to, change and inconsistency. I hope you find it useful personally or, if you know of others who would appreciate having this information, do share it via the share buttons at the bottom of the post.

Do leave a comment if you feel inclined to. I appreciate receiving constructive feedback.

For a PDF of this article and other resources, click here.

Best Wishes. Colby

SStress arises when there is change and inconsistency.  Change is frequently described as being stressful. Humans function better, psychologically, in consistent environments, where we know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, how it is going to happen, and why.  Inconsistency and uncertainty are irritants to our nervous system, resulting in higher-than-usual arousal levels, intense emotions, and unsettled behaviours.

U

Under stress, the brains of children are hard-wired to set off behaviours associated with the fight-flight-freeze response:

  • Fight:     Controlling, aggressive, destructive and demanding behaviour, hyperactivity
  • Flight:    Running off, hiding, hyperactivity
  • Freeze:  Reduced responsiveness to the environment (e.g. not listening, daydreaming)

R

Routines provide structure and order to people’s lives, which relieves stress and helps to maintain lower arousal levels. The absence of routines is stressful.

 

 

VVariety is the spice of life. But too much variety and too many choices can be overwhelming for children. Limit the number of choices of activity a child is given at any one time.

 

 

IIf your child is consistently misbehaving day after day, it is probably because they are used to following routines and being occupied throughout the day, as occurs during school term. Planning activities for your children across each day and the week ahead and making these plans known and visible to the child via a calendar or other visual assists with structuring their day and week and will help with avoiding boredom and unsettled behaviour.

V 2

Vigorous physical activity is a useful way to reduce stress and alleviate boredom. Incorporate at-least 30 minutes of physical activity into your child’s daily routine (e.g. visiting a playground; riding a bike; walking the dog; trampoline time).

 

EEndeavour to maintain routines, just as occurs during school times (e.g. bedtime, wake-time, mealtimes, activity time).

A Final Word

Parents also need consistency. Maintain some routines of your own.

For a PDF of this article and other resources, click here.

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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 AAATriple-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

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To Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter click below:

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Trauma Informed Care: The CARE Therapeutic Framework

The CARE Therapeutic Framework:

A Whole-Of-Service Kinship Care Training and Implementation Programme

Author/Developer: Colby Pearce, Clinical Psychologist

The CARE Therapeutic Framework Generic LogoThe CARE Therapeutic Framework[1] is an evidence-informed, strengths-based approach. It draws attention to conventional aspects of caregiving and relating that support optimal developmental outcomes for children. The CARE Therapeutic Framework is trauma-informed. It supports recovery for children whose first care environment was inadequate, such that placement in out-of-home care was necessary.  The CARE Therapeutic Framework is also a practice framework. It supports the delivery of accountable social care services that promote carer fidelity to the Framework and optimal outcomes for children.

The CARE Therapeutic Framework does not seek to replace other approaches to trauma-informed, therapeutic re-parenting of children, and support for their carers. Rather, the Framework offers a back-to-basics approach that forms a solid foundation to build on. As a strengths-based approach, the CARE Therapeutic Framework complements other strengths-based approaches.

Central to the CARE Therapeutic Framework is the development of knowledge and understanding of the reasons why people behave in the manner that they do, and competencies that support these reasons being addressed. This is central to addressing one of the main casualties of adverse care – namely, the experience of having one’s needs met reliably and predictably that is the foundation for secure dependency and optimal developmental and interpersonal outcomes. The CARE Therapeutic Framework endeavours to promote addressing needs as a fundamental caregiving priority, as opposed to simply addressing behaviour(s) of concern in isolation of needs.

CARE embedded in AAA

The CARE Therapeutic Framework utilises the Triple-A Model[2] to support understanding of the reasons why people, including children who have experienced adverse care, behave in the manner that they do. The CARE Therapeutic Framework is drawn from the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care[3], a comprehensive approach to trauma-informed re-parenting of children recovering from adverse care that is entering its fourth year as the preferred model of care for TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) foster- and relative-carers in Donegal, Ireland.

AAA Irish Logo Revised

The CARE Therapeutic Framework promotes human Connection as a primary task[4], where the primary task is defined as the one task that we need to get right and upon which the success of all endeavour rests. There is a robust and ever-growing evidence base for the role of connection in supporting optimal emotional and behavioural outcomes for young people and adults alike[5], [6], [7].

The Kinship CARE Project

In March 2018 agreement was reached to implement the CARE Therapeutic Framework in the Department for Child Protection (DCP) Kinship Care Program in South Australia; inclusive of implementation training among kinship carers, Program staff and DCP psychology staff. The Kinship CARE Project was born. The project aims included:

  • Implement the CARE Therapeutic Framework in the Kinship Care Program in South Australia;
  • Establish a common knowledge, language and approach among kinship carers, kinship care support workers, and psychologists who support both;
  • Develop 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;
  • Develop competencies in self-care;
  • Support empowerment and self-efficacy in the respective roles of participants of the program; and
  • Improve 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 Kinship CARE Project

Kinship CARE Project Implementation Methodology

Training for kinship carers incorporates four half-day workshops, scheduled two-weeks apart, followed by a call-back session three months after the initial four sessions. The format of the implementation sessions is as follows:

Session 1:

  • What is therapeutic care and what does it require of you?
  • The importance of achieving connection as a primary task.

Session 2:

  • Enriching children’s experience of caregiver consistency and accessibility.
  • Self-Care (Part 1)

Session 3:

  • Enriching children’s experience of caregiver responsiveness.

Session 4:

  • Enriching children’s experience of caregiver emotional connectedness.
  • Self-Care (Part 2)

 Call-Back:

  • Addressing behaviours of concern using the CARE Therapeutic Framework

Training for kinship carers recognises that, though it shares many similarities with foster care, kinship care has its own unique characteristics. The language used when delivering the CARE Therapeutic Framework is tailored to the unique characteristics of kinship care. Though the program is trauma-informed, reference to concepts such as trauma, abuse and neglect is de-emphasised, in favour of more generic concepts, such as adversity and children having had a tough start to life. This is extremely important in the kinship care space, where shame is a real consideration. There is an imperative to attract and retain kinship carers in such initiatives, rather than alienate them by invoking experiences of family shame.

In addition, there is a focus on supporting carers to develop an understanding of how to implement a therapeutic re-parenting approach in their own individual circumstances. That is, there is a focus on assisting carers to know what to do, and to develop a tailored therapeutic re-parenting Plan. Psychological theory is presented sparingly and only in support of the rationale (and evidential basis) for recommended approaches. Accessibility of the content is supported through a multi-modal approach to delivery that includes practical activities, demonstrations and audio-visual content in support of verbal content. Regular individual and group reflective activities also support understanding of the program content. Kinship care support workers regularly attend sessions with carers on their caseload, further supporting caregiver accessibility to the content and shared experience of the program.

Training for kinship care support workers and psychology staff is scheduled across two full days initially, with call-back sessions scheduled to support fidelity to the Care Therapeutic Framework and extend delivered content to addressing behaviours of concern using the Framework. The content and delivery is similar to that which is delivered to kinship carers, except that there is a focus on the implementation of the Framework in kinship care support workers’ practice with kinship carers, and psychologists’ practice with kinship care support workers. That is, there is a layered approach to implementation, whereby kinship carers experience CARE from their support workers, and support workers experience CARE from psychologists trained in the Framework. Participant psychologists and the leadership of the Kinship Care Program have regular opportunity to meet with the trainer/developer, thereby experiencing CARE in practice. Implementation is layered in this way to support fidelity to the framework and embeddedness across the Kinship Care Program.

 Quality Assurance and Evaluation

Three types of outcome data is collected from participants:

  • Session Ratings of Satisfaction (Value)
  • Pre and Post Competency Questionnaire (Impact)
  • Post-implementation Survey (Value and Impact).

Outcomes (What to expect)

Quality assurance and evaluation data support the following expected outcomes where the CARE Therapeutic Framework is implemented:

  • Strong uptake of the implementation training among kinship carers;
  • High retention of carers across the implementation process;
  • High levels of satisfaction with the CARE Therapeutic Framework, including in terms of how informative, practical and useful kinship carers have found each training session, whether they would recommend the training to other kinship carers, and their overall satisfaction with the training;
  • Improved understanding of kinship children, including the reasons for their behaviours of concern, and knowledge of care and management strategies that address behaviours of concern therapeutically;
  • Carer-reported improvements in their relationship with kinship children; and
  • Carers feeling more confident in their role.

What to do next

Please contact me if you are interested in discussing a potential implementation project in your service. I currently implement in Australia and Ireland, and am fielding interest in the United Kingdom. My contact details are:

Phone: +61403350411

Email:  colby@securestart.com.au.

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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:

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References

[1] Pearce, C. (2016). A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder – Second Edition. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

[2] 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

[3] Pearce, C & Gibson, J (2016), A Preliminary Evaluation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, Foster, 2, 95-104

[4] Kahn, W. A. (2005). Holding Fast: The Struggle to Create Resilient Caregiving Organisations. Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge

[5] Dooley, B & Fitzgerald, A (2015). My World Survey: National Study of Youth Mental Health in Ireland. UCD School of Psychology, Headstrong

[6] Ottman, G, Dickson, J, & Wright, P. (2006). Social Connectedness and Health: A Literature Review. Cornell University GLADNET Collection

[7] O’Rourke, H. M., & Sidani, Souraya. (2017). Definition, Determinants, and Outcomes of Social Connectedness for Older Adults: A Scoping Review. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 439(7), pp 43-52.

Posted in trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trauma Informed Classrooms : Four Essential Activities

school-clip-art-1

Hi everyone. I hope you don’t mind, but I have decided to update and re-post this blog from a little while ago. It was a bit buried in all of the other posts on this site, and the information is really important, particularly when one considers that children and young people who have had tough start to life often struggle in the classroom*. The information is drawn from attachment theory and what we know about trauma informed care. In isolation, it is no substitute for other interventions to address Reactive Attachment Disorder and related adverse outcomes of developmental trauma. Nevertheless, what happens in the classroom is an essential part of holistic therapeutic endeavours with deeply hurt and troubled children and young people**.

Do leave a comment if you feel inclined to. I appreciate receiving constructive feedback.

To access a PDF of this article an other resources, click here.

Best Wishes. Colby

  1. Greet the child before they do anything to initiate engagement with you.

Greeting children in this way offers them the experience that they are in your thoughts, that they are worthy and that you are accessible. This is necessary as children who have experienced interpersonal trauma have learnt that they cannot rely on others to attend to them and their needs. They also have a low opinion of their worth. Promoting their sense of self-worth and the worth of relationships with others underpins all endeavours to promote recovery from interpersonal trauma. Check in with them proactively throughout the day.

  1. Tune into the child’s emotions and restore calm.

When the child is happy, allow yourself to feel and project happiness in your interactions with them. When the child is sad or frustrated, show a little of those emotions as well. In doing so you and the child will be connected at an emotional level. Then restore calm. They will remain connected and return to calm themselves. These experiences of emotional connection offer the child experiences that their feelings matter; that they matter; that they are worthy. It also promotes tolerance of, and a return to calm from, a range of emotions. That is, when doing this activity you are making a real contribution to the child or young person’s developing capacity to regulate their own emotions (self regulation), to be aware of the emotional experience of others (essential for the development of empathy and socio-emotional reciprocity), and you are providing a safe interpersonal space for experience and exploration of a range emotions and a full and satisfying experience of life.

  1. Say what is in their head and in their heart.

Observe the child and the situation/activity. Say what you think is their experience of the situation/activity.  Make it a statement. If you find yourself wanting to ask the child a question about their experience and you can see what the answer would be (whether they would answer your question or not), don’t ask the question; say the answer. Say what you see.  Say it with congruent feeling. Speak their mind. Communicating in this way offers the child an enriched experience that they are understood, that their experience matters, and that they matter. Avoid asking questions, as questions communicate that you do not know them. Providing experiences of being understood in this way supports children who have had a tough start to life to develop a vocabulary for expressing themselves, as opposed to expressing themselves through (often problematic) actions. It provides experiences of understanding that are one of the foundations for the development of secure dependency on adults in a caregiving role, which usually occurs in infancy but is likely to have been inadequate during their own early years. Start with the easy stuff, such as what they like, what they feel good at, or what they are having difficulty with. Get them used to the closeness that is a by-product of experiences of being understood before you tackle more difficult experiences, such as feelings of anger. When they are angry, and after a period of getting the child used to you communicating with understanding, you might observe that they just want to be left alone right now. Verbalising understanding generally reduces arousal levels. Used correctly, it is can help defuse anger levels in children who are prone to emotional dysregulation as a result of inadequate parental CARE (Consistency, Accessibility, Responsiveness, Emotional Connectedness)*** during infancy.

  1. Develop a ritual involving one-to-one time.

Plan to spend five minutes per day of one-to-one time with the child. Do it in a routine and predictable way, such as at a certain time of the day. This satisfies a number of important needs the child has, including their needs for attention and order. Help them with a task or play a simple card game with them. Tune into their emotions and say what is in their head and in their heart (enrichment activities 2 and 3). If you play a game of Uno, for example, play their hand. Match your emotions and your words to their experience of the game.

A Final Word

As with all of the strategies I suggest, only set out to do what you can maintain to a reasonably consistent regime over time. Consistency is vital, especially with respect to children and young people who are recovering from adverse childhood experiences. Inconsistency is an irritant, and children who have experienced developmental trauma are more sensitive to irritants than others. So choose consistency over frequency. Good luck!

To access a PDF of this article and other resources, click here.

Important:

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.

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

References:

*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

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

***ibid.

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Dear Subscribers and Visitors to this Blog

Colby with attachment bookHello. You have not really heard from me for a while. I have neglected this blog site while working on other endeavours, including the further development of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care in Donegal, Ireland, and the development and implementation of the CARE Therapeutic Framework in the Kinship Care Program in South Australia. Thinking back, I probably have not turned my mind to writing blog posts regularly since I began writing the Second Edition of A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder, in early 2016. This ended up being almost a complete re-write of the first edition.

The past 3 years have been extremely busy, challenging at times, and fulfilling. The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care has been rolled-out to foster carers, relative foster carers, and professional staff of TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) who support carers and children in care, as part of an initial three-year implementation project. It has been very successful and positively mentioned by both the carers (in a Training Needs Analysis conducted by TUSLA Staff in Donegal earlier this year) and HIQA – the independent inspection authority for health and social care services in Ireland. It has also been embraced as a model of practice by TUSLA staff, and when I was in Ireland in September this year I had the privilege of training 6 TUSLA staff and 6 local Foster Carers to be parent trainers in the Model.

This year I was engaged to implement the CARE Therapeutic Framework in the Kinship Care Program in South Australia. This has been a multi-layered implementation, with the CARE Therapeutic Framework being rolled out to kinship carers, kinship care support staff, and psychology staff of the Department for Child Protection (DCP) – the local statutory authority within which the Kinship Care Program sits. Like Triple-A, the CARE Therapeutic Framework is both a model of care and a model of practice. As with Triple-A, program evaluation data collected as part of the implementation in South Australia has been extremely positive. Both implementations have supported shared knowledge and language between carers and professionals in each jurisdiction. I am working on being able to share further information about outcomes of both implementation projects more formally in the near future.

During my most recent time in Ireland I also rolled out a shorter training curriculum to carers and professionals in a number of organisations in social care and disability. With a working title of Helping Children and Young People to Realise Their Potential, this was also very favourably received and I look forward to sharing some positive developments in relation to this endeavour very soon!

I appreciate your patience and hope that you will check back in with this blog throughout 2019 as I plan to be more active again in developing and sharing helpful materials for parents and professionals, in the pursuits of better outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Best wishes. Colby

AAA Irish Logo Revised The Kinship CARE Project

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