Child development: The importance of emotional connection

Emotional connection, initiated by an adult caretaker, is important because it supports several extremely important aspects of a child’s emotional development.

Connecting with the emotional experience of an infant supports a reciprocal emotional connection from the infant.

Within this emotional connection the infant is supported to be self-aware of their emotions as a result of their caretaker mirroring and reflecting back the child’s emotional experience; including with words that ultimately become the vocabulary with which children can describe their emotional experience.

Within this emotional connection the infant is supported to be aware of the emotions of others, which ultimately manifests as a capacity to feel and express empathy and to regulate their behaviour out of a concern for the experience of others (also known as socio-emotional reciprocity). This is vital for getting along with others and experiencing mutually-satisfying relationships.

By connecting with the infant and returning to calm themselves, adult caretakers assist the infant to regulate their emotions (co-regulation) until the infant can do so themselves (self-regulation).

Through adult caretakers tuning in to the emotions of the infant and helping them to return to calm, the adult caretaker supports the infant’s safe exploration of emotions and a broad emotional repertoire.

Further, within this emotional connection the adult caretaker offers experiences of being heard and understood on an emotional level, thereby supporting positive representations of self and other, reassurance (and, thereby, lower arousal levels), and trust that the caretaker can be relied upon, including for needs provision.

In the CARE Therapeutic Framework and the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, I support parents and caregivers to be more aware of the vital role of emotional connection and how to enrich a child’s experience of it, in support of positive developmental outcomes for children.

I would also direct the reader to my resources supporting trauma informed care and practice in the home and school settings.

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

A Short Introduction to the Kinship CARE Project

Access a PDF of the full article here.

In South Australia, forty-six percent of children in out-of-home care with an authority to place are in a kinship care placement. Kinship care is the largest form of out-of-home care in South Australia and is growing almost 50% faster than foster care (DCP Reporting and Statistics).

Given the circumstances in which children enter their care, regardless of jurisdiction, kinship carers typically receive less preparatory training than foster carers. In South Australia, Kinship carers have also been recognised to have received less ongoing training support than foster carers (Nyland, 2016). Proportionately, kinship carers are recognised internationally as being less advantaged, and experiencing greater family complexity, than foster carers. Notwithstanding these factors, children placed with kinship carers enter care for the same reasons as children placed in other forms of out-of-home, and with similar issues (Delfabbro, 2017).

The Kinship CARE Project commenced in March 2018 to provide trauma-informed training about the characteristics and therapeutic care requirements of children in kinship care placements.

As part of the Kinship CARE Project, kinship carers, kinship care support staff and selected DCP Psychology Staff receive training in the CARE Therapeutic Framework (Consistency, Accessibility, Responsiveness, Emotional-Connectedness) (Pearce, 2016).

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 considered to be extremely important in the kinship care space, where a sense of family shame is a salient factor. There is an imperative to attract and retain kinship carers in such initiatives, rather than alienating them by invoking experiences of shame.

In addition, there is a focus on supporting carers to develop an understanding of how to implement therapeutic re-parenting 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 reflection 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 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. This approach is followed to support embeddedness of the Framework in the kinship care program, and fidelity to the Framework.

The CARE Therapeutic Framework promotes human Connection as a primary task (Kahn, 2005), 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 *Dooley and Fitzgerald, 2015; Ottman et al, 2006; O’Rourke and Sidani, 2017),[iv].

The Kinship CARE Project aims include:

  • 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, and connections between kinship carers and Agency staff who work in the kinship care space.

To access a PDF of the full article, which includes further information about Project content, please click here.

If you are an employee of the Department for Child Protection (DCP) in South Australia it would be great if you could share information about the Kinship CARE Project with carers of children on your caseload who are kinship carers.

If you are reading this and are not in South Australia, please email me to discuss a potential implementation project. My email is colby@securestart.com.au.

References:

Delfabbro, P. (2017). Relative/kinship and foster care: A comparison of carer and child characteristics. Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study: Outcomes of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care. Research Report Number 7. Sydney. NSW Department of Family and Community Services

Department for Child Protection, Reporting and Statistics

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

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

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.

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

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

The Life They Deserve, Hon. Justice Nyland, 2016

Posted in kinship care, training, Training Programs, trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday

Attachment Colby Pearce National Psychology Exam

A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder turns ten years old this year!

It was significantly revised for the second edition (2016), but it remains a favorite for many.

At the time it was ‘written’ (2008 – though it evolved from lecture notes first prepared in 1999), it was representative of much that I had learnt across seventeen years practise as an applied researcher and Psychologist practising in child and adolescent mental health and child protection.

In the book, I challenged thinking of the time concerning the use of ADHD medication among children with a trauma history and I addressed the central importance of making and maintaining deep and lasting connections.

Organised around the concepts of Attachment, Arousal and Accessibility (to needs provision), the book was a pre-cursor to what would become known as the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care.

By including a reformulation of the operant conditioning paradigm, the book and I broke with common representations in the area of attachment and trauma and ‘spoke’ about the importance of what children learn about adults in a caregiving role (Accessibility, to needs provision). Without seeking to to do so, ‘we’ emulated the cross-disciplinary approach John Bowlby took when he first conceived of ‘Attachment Theory’.

Happy birthday first edition!

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Complex Trauma: Three things you need to know about how it impacts the developing child

Complex Trauma occurs when children experience prolonged and debilitating fear and distress as a result of adverse experiences that occur recurrently and/or in combination, and where the person or person’s who are responsible for keeping the child safe from harm and alleviate their distress is/are:

  • unable to alleviate the child’s distress, or . . .
  • are responsible for the child’s fear and distress.

The type of trauma being referred to here is also known as:

  • Complex Developmental Trauma – because it occurs during a period of formative development and shapes all aspects of the child’s development;
  • Attachment Trauma – because it usually occurs in the context of the child’s first attachment relationships, where one or other or both of the child’s first attachment figure(s) is responsible for the trauma experience;
  • Abuse – an act of commission that results in physical and/or emotional and/or psychological harm; or
  • Neglect – an act of omission that results in physical and/or emotional and/or psychological harm.

Complex trauma adversely impacts three key factors that play an important role in the developing child’s approach to life, learning/development, and relationships:

  • Attachment (or, how the child thinks about, and interacts with, themselves, others and their world);
  • Arousal (or, the psycho-physiology of performance, emotion and behaviour activation systems);
  • Accessibility to needs provision (or, what the child has learnt about the accessibility and responsiveness of adults in a caregiving or caretaking role).

Attachment refers to the dependency relationship an infant develops to his or her primary caregivers during the first years of life. Our knowledge of attachment derives from Attachment Theory. Attachment Theory was initially developed in the 1940’s, in part to account for observations that were being made of institutionalised children and those who experienced prolonged separation from their primary caregivers; including by reason of lengthy hospital admissions and those children displaced from their families during World War II (Bretherton, 1992) .

Since its early development, Attachment Theory has been the focus of an enormous amount of research and has become widely used in child protection as it offers an explanatory framework for differential outcomes for children based on caregiving practices. In addition, Attachment Theory informs us about a child’s relationship with themselves, others and their world.

Arousal refers to the level of activation of the nervous system. From a psychological point of view, arousal is significant for (at-least) three reasons. Firstly, arousal affects how well we perform tasks, and activities more generally. Secondly, arousal is implicated in how we feel. Thirdly, arousal is implicated in how we behave, including our approach to life and relationships. In particular, arousal is implicated in the behaviour activation system that is activated when individuals perceive a threat to themselves or someone close to or close by them and their associated feeling of anxiety (known as the fight-flight-freeze response).

Accessibility to needs provision refers to what children have learnt about the reliability and predictability with which their needs will be addressed by adults in a caregiving role, and learnt behaviours that serve to reassure the child that their needs will be satisfied.  Accessibility to needs provision is based on Learning Theory and the Operant Conditioning paradigm (Ferster & Skinner, 1957; Skinner, 1938).

In combination, I refer to these three factors as the “Triple-A Model”; or “Triple-A” for short (Pearce, 2010).

In the resources below I provide additional detail about how complex trauma impacts attachment, arousal and what the child learns (and learns to do) about accessibility to needs provision. Thereafter, I a set-out a series of practical, user-friendly strategies for addressing these aspects of the child who has experienced complex trauma following the CARE Model (Pearce, 2016):

  • Consistency
  • Accessibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Emotional Connectedness

I do hope that you decide to access these complementary resources or supporting consistency o therapeutic care and management across home and school for children who have had a tough start to life.

Get a free introduction to the resources here!

For individual purchasers – Carer Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For more information, or for organisational purchasers, click here.

For individual purchasers – School Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For more information, or for schools/organisational purchasers, click here.

References

Bretherton, I. (1992). The Origins of Attachment Theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28: 759-775.

Ferster, C.B. and Skinner, B.F. (1957) Schedules of Reinforcement. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts

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

[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

[Skinner, B. F. (1938) The Behaviour of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis. New York: Appleton-Century


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

Trauma Informed Resources

One of the most common types of feedback I hear from people who have attended training in the field of developmental trauma and trauma informed practice is that the training focuses heavily on what participants need to know and not so much on what they need to do to support the recovery of a child who has experienced trauma at home.

Hearing the frustration of many has affirmed my commitment to developing training programs that not only answer why children present in the way they do but also offer practical strategies and guidance about how to address behaviours of concern and support recovery from adversity. The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care and the CARE Therapeutic Framework are two such programs and are currently implemented as the preferred Models of Care among TUSLA general and relative foster carers in Donegal, Ireland (Triple-A), and the Kinship Care Program in South Australia (CARE Therapeutic Framework).

From these two programs I have developed complementary resources for home and school with the intention of supporting consistency in care and management (a common approach) for children who have experienced a tough start to life. Consistency supports a sense of stability and predictability, where once there was instability and chaos. Consistency supports reduced stress levels and more optimal conditions for a child’s new learning that they are safe, that they are capable, and that adults are reliable.

Complementary resources also supports a common knowledge and common language, such that the key adults in the child’s life are better able to communicate with each other and work together as part of an effective care team.

Incorporating Three Things You Need to Know, these resources present a conceptual framework for understanding the impacts of developmental trauma on attachment, arousal, and the child’s learning about accessibility to needs provision (the Triple-A Model); or what the child has learnt about the accessibility and responsiveness of adults in a caregiving role. Including practical guidance regarding What to Do About It, the resources offer practical guidance regarding how to implement a CARE Plan (Consistency, Accessibility, Responsiveness, Emotional Connectedness) that supports:

  • Secure Attachment (for optimal relationships and development)
  • Optimal Arousal (for wellbeing and performance/learning)
  • New learning that adults can be relied upon to be Accessible and responsive to needs provision

To access your copy of these resources, please see purchase options below.

Get a free introduction to the resources here!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is three-things-for-carers-title-page-3.png

For individual purchasers – Carer Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For more information, or for organisational purchasers, click here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is common-knowledge-language-approach-vi-1.png

For individual purchasers – School Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For more information, or for schools/organisational purchasers, click here.

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

Trauma Informed Care Resource

Get a free introduction to the resource here!

I am pleased to announce the release of my new resource for implementing a therapeutic CARE environment in the home for children who are recovering from a tough start to life.

I developed this resource to complement a very similar one for supporting trauma informed practice in the school/classroom. You can access the page about that resource by clicking here. My intent in releasing this resource is to support consistency in care and management between the home and education setting for children and young people who have experienced trauma in their first home(s). This is extremely important as inconsistency perpetuates the uncertainty experienced by these children and young people about themselves, others and their world. In turn, this uncertainty impacts negatively on their approach to life, learning, and relationships. It also impacts negatively on how they feel and how they behave; particularly towards you.

After reading this resource you will

  • have a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of trauma at home on the developing child;
  • be able to develop and implement a plan to support their recovery based on familiar aspects of caregiving and relating;
  • be able to problem-solve in relation to ongoing behaviours of concern and implement practical steps to address them; and
  • be able develop and implement a practical self-care plan that supports your best efforts on behalf of children and young people who have experienced trauma at home, and positive outcomes for them.

Most importantly, it is my sincere hope that this resource will support effective communication between home and school based on shared knowledge and language, and enrich children’s experience of consistency via a shared approach. Speaking the ‘same language’ supports communication and relationships, and relationships are the key to addressing the effects of trauma at home.

I wish you well in your endeavours and hope that this resource:

  • confirms and validates what you already know and already do; and
  • enriches, in some way, your knowledge and approach to the care and management of children who have experienced trauma at home.

About me:

I am a Clinical Psychologist with almost thirty-years-experience as an applied researcher, clinician, writer and trainer in child and adolescent mental health and child welfare. For almost all my working life I have offered professional services to children and young people who have experienced trauma at home, and adults who interact with them in various roles (including parents, foster carers, kinship carers, residential carers, adoptive parents, teachers, social workers, youth workers, and judicial officers).  I am the author of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, which is entering its fourth year as the primary therapeutic model of care among TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) general and relative foster carers in County Donegal, Ireland. I am also the author of the CARE Therapeutic Framework, which is currently being implemented in the Department for Child Protection (DCP) Kinship Care Program in South Australia.

In my working life I have observed adults in various roles struggle to consistently meet the significant needs of children who have experienced trauma at home. Notwithstanding the best intentions and efforts of those adults, relationship breakdowns and changes in care and/or education placements are all-to-familiar experiences for the children. Frequently, these children are denied basic fundamentals, such as a stable home and education placement.

Though there is no shortage of information that describes the impact of trauma at home on the developing child, this knowledge either does not translate well into practical and feasible care and management practices or there is an apparent reluctance to deviate from widely-implemented, conventional care and management practices. This led me to develop practical, user-friendly and back-to-basics approaches for the care and management of these deeply hurt and, often, troubled children that are confined to conventional aspects of caregiving and relating and address the impacts of, and support recovery from, trauma at home.

Details:

Authored By: Colby Pearce

Pages: 45 (A4 – 13,600 words)

Contents:

  • Prologue: Punishment is Problematic
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Three things you need to know about the impact of trauma at home
  • Part 2 – Addressing the impact of trauma at home
  • Part 3 Addressing Behaviours of Concern Using the CARE Model
  • Part 4: Adopting a balanced view
  • Part 5: Take care of yourself too!
  • Further Reading

For individual purchasers – Carer Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For group/organisational purchasers (up to 10 persons) – Carer esource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$55.00

For group/organisational purchasers (11-20 persons) – Carer Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$110.00

For group/organisational purchasers (21-50 persons) – Carer Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$220.00

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

Trauma Informed Practice Resource for Schools


Three things you need to know about the child in your class who has experienced trauma at home, and what to do about it!
A Resource for Trauma Informed Practice in Schools
By Colby Pearce

Get a free introduction to the resource here!

Welcome! If you have landed here you probably share my interest in developing and supporting trauma informed practice in schools.

I developed this resource because all children need consistency, but some need it more than others. Children who have experienced trauma at home need consistent approaches to their care and management between home and school. Inconsistency extends the uncertainty experienced by these children about what to expect of adults in caregiving roles, which developed in conditions of inconsistent and inadequate care. Inconsistency is a central nervous system irritant that impairs (new) learning and behaviour.

This resource extends my endeavours to support trauma informed, therapeutic care environments to the school environment. My two programs, the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care and the CARE Therapeutic Framework, are already being implemented in support of therapeutic care in Ireland and Australia. My book, A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition), is used in teaching and training professionals and lay persons alike, and is seen as an ideal starting point for those who care for children recovering from a tough start to life and professionals who interact with them and their carers.

After reading this resource you will

  • have a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of trauma at home on the developing child;
  • be able to develop and implement a plan to support their recovery based on familiar aspects of caregiving and relating;
  • be able to problem-solve in relation to ongoing behaviours of concern and implement practical steps to address them; and
  • be able develop and implement a practical self-care plan that supports your best efforts on behalf of children and young people who have experienced trauma at home, and positive outcomes for them.

Most importantly, it is my sincere hope that this resource will support effective communication between home and school based on shared knowledge and language, and enrich children’s experience of consistency via a shared approach. Speaking the ‘same language’ supports communication and relationships, and relationships are the key to addressing the effects of trauma at home.

I wish you well in your endeavours and hope that this resource:

  • confirms and validates what you already know and already do; and
  • enriches, in some way, your knowledge and approach to the care and management of children who have experienced trauma at home.

About me:

I am a Clinical Psychologist with almost thirty-years-experience as an applied researcher, clinician, writer and trainer in child and adolescent mental health and child welfare. For almost all my working life I have offered professional services to children and young people who have experienced trauma at home, and adults who interact with them in various roles (including parents, foster carers, kinship carers, residential carers, adoptive parents, teachers, social workers, youth workers, and judicial officers).  I am the author of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, which is entering its fourth year as the primary therapeutic model of care among TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) general and relative foster carers in County Donegal, Ireland. I am also the author of the CARE Therapeutic Framework, which is currently being implemented in the Department for Child Protection (DCP) Kinship Care Program in South Australia.

In my working life I have observed statutory child protection, alternative care and education institutions struggle to consistently meet the significant needs of children who have experienced trauma at home. Notwithstanding the best intentions and efforts of those who interact with these children in care and management roles, relationship breakdowns and changes in care and/or education placements are all-to-familiar experiences for them. Frequently, these children are denied basic fundamentals, such as a stable home and education placement.

Though there is no shortage of information that describes the impact of trauma at home on the developing child, this knowledge either does not translate well into practical and feasible care and management practices or there is an apparent reluctance to deviate from widely-implemented, conventional care and management practices. This led me to develop practical, user-friendly and back-to-basics approaches for the care and management of these deeply hurt and, often, troubled children that are confined to conventional aspects of caregiving and relating and address the impacts of, and support recovery from, trauma at home.

Details:

Authored By: Colby Pearce

Pages: 45 (A4 – 13,600 words)

Contents:

  • Prologue: Punishment is Problematic
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Three things you need to know about the impact of trauma at home
  • Part 2 – Addressing the impact of trauma at home on functioning and performance at school
  • Part 3 Addressing Behaviours of Concern Using the CARE Model
  • Part 4: Adopting a balanced view
  • Part 5: Take care of yourself too!
  • Further Reading

© All rights reserved: Not to be reprinted, shared or disseminated in any form without the prior permission of Colby Pearce

For individual purchasers – School Resource

Buy now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$16.50

For Group/Organisational Purchasers (up to 10 employees) – School Resource

Buy it now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$55.00

For Group/Organisational Purchasers (11-20 Employees) – School Resource

Buy it now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$110.00

For Group/Organisational Purchasers (21-30 employees) – School Resource

Buy it now and we will email your personalised copy of the resource (Please allow up to 2 business days for us to respond to your payment).

A$220.00

Posted in Schools, trauma informed practice, Trauma Informed Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to achieve real progress in addressing childhood trauma

In the next few days I will be releasing a resource for supporting trauma-informed practice in schools. The resource complements the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care and the CARE Therapeutic Framework, which are currently being implemented in Australia and Ireland in the out-of-home care sector.

There are a number of motivations for releasing such a resource. Top of the list is that a resource for schools that complements endeavours in out-of-home care promotes:

  • Common knowledge
  • Common language
  • Common approach

These three outcomes support a child’s experience of consistency of care and management across settings. For children who have experienced the chaos and unpredictability of trauma at home, this is the very least we can do to support their recovery.

Just as important, these three outcomes facilitate effective cross-setting communication. When the adults involved with children who are recovering from trauma at home are able to better communicate with each other, effective relationships are fostered. There is much written about the importance of the relationship between caring adults and the child who is recovering from trauma at home. Equally important in any endeavours on behalf of the child is the relationship between the adults who are involved in the child’s life.

We all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet!

In addition, practice frameworks, such as Triple-A and CARE, offer a basis for assessing performance and accountability in roles being performed with and on behalf of children who have experienced trauma at home.

I look forward to releasing this resource, and a follow-up resource for out-of-home care shortly thereafter.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me to discuss your interest in my work and potential collaboration.

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.




Posted in Training Programs, trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice, Trauma Informed Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We All Need CARE to Thrive

Something different – a short video about the CARE Therapeutic Framework. Let me know what you think!

If you like this post, please subscribe to this blog to receive an email notification when other practical ideas and guidance is published.

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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 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

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Posted in Training Programs, trauma informed, trauma informed care, trauma informed practice, Wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why clinicians use play in therapy with children

This is based on my first blog article, written eight years ago. Though the content of that article is still relevant, it could do with a little updating. I hope you like it.

In response to the statement that he or she (the clinician) ‘just plays with the children’ I give you the following reasons why play is important.

Engagement

Therapy is more likely to be beneficial when children are willing participants. Many children are reluctant, at-least initially, to attend and be involved in therapy. Either they don’t know what to expect, which causes anxiety, or they think that they have to attend because they have been “bad”. However, almost all children enjoy playing and engaging in fun activities with a lively adult. So, incorporating fun activities into therapy is a good way to help children feel relaxed about attending therapy and, indeed, increases their motivation to attend.

connection

Making and maintaining a connection

Research has shown that the heart rates of mothers and infants parallel each other during play[1]. Heart rate is a sign of the level of activity of the nervous system, which is commonly referred to as arousal. Arousal is the physiological component of emotion. When we experience emotion, arousal changes. So, when the heart rates of mothers and infants mirror each other during play, it is possible to conclude that the adult and child are emotionally-connected to each other.

connection

Emotional-connection, as occurs during play, offers a safe environment for the exploration and expression of a range of emotions and, ultimately, a broad and rich emotional repertoire.

Perhaps, most important of all, emotional connection offers experiences of being heard and acknowledged at an emotional level. Feeling heard and acknowledged in this way offers a powerful form of validation that serves as a ‘psychological innoculation’ against mood disorders and other adverse psychological consequences of invalidation (i.e. the experience of not being heard and understood by others) in adulthood.

Emotional connection and, by extension, play, supports emotional health.

Encouraging self-regulation

Most children who are referred for therapy have trouble controlling their emotions, their behaviour, or both. Emotional-connection, as occurs during play, supports the development of emotional awareness (self and other), which is a precursor for empathy and socio-emotional reciprocity (that is, regulating ones own emotions and behaviours in order to achieve mutually desirable outcomes when interacting with another person). Further, emotional-connectedness, as occurs during play, supports opportunities for co-regulation, whereby the adult assists the child to regulate their emotions. Co-regulation is influential in the development of self-regulation.

In sum, play offers opportunities for supporting emotional awareness, emotional self-regulation, and empathy.

Affirmative Experiences

Children who are referred for therapy hold beliefs about themselves, about others and about the world in which they live. Often, one or more of these areas of belief is negative. That is, they might see themselves as bad and helpless, others as mean and uncaring, and/or the world as a harsh place. Simply telling children that they are good, that others are caring and understanding, and that the world is a safe place is rarely effective in changing children’s beliefs. Rather, they need to experience themselves, others and their social world differently. During therapeutic play, children experience themselves as likeable and capable, experience others as fun and “nice”, and their world as safe and a source of happy experiences. This facilitates trust in others and the perception that therapy is a safe place for conversation about the reasons for their emotional distress and/or behaviours of concern.                                                                                                

mum and child playing
connection
love

Play is an important and natural approach for promoting the emotional wellbeing and positive adjustment of children and young people.

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[1] Reite, M., & Field, T (1985). The psychobiology of attachment and separation. Orlando: Academic Press

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