Attachment focused parenting training focuses on the parent child attachment relationship. As the child depends on their parents for safety and comfort, the importance of this relationship is crucial to the child’s development and emotional wellbeing. Using the PACCE model (Playfulness, Acceptance, Compassion, Curiosity & Empathy) developed from ‘Attachment Focused Family Therapy’ by Daniel A. Hughes, parents will learn an attitude of ‘being’, to become more attuned and emotionally available for their children. The parent’s acceptance and understanding of the child’s inner experience, validates the child and what they are feeling. This way of parenting develops deeper connection and reduces fear and shame. It also reduces inconsistency in differing parenting styles and improves the quality of all relationships within the family. This training is delivered over 15 – 20, weekly, 1-hour sessions. Sessions can be held face to face within Marvell House Children’s Centre, Cranbourne Street, Hull, HU3 1PP or held remotely if required. The sessions are for individuals or couples, birth or adoptive parents, foster carers, or guardians. This training does not involve the child or children.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is an Attachment Focused Family Therapy, developed by Daniel A. Hughes. DDP can be a long or short piece of work depending on the family need. DDP focuses on the importance of the relationships within the family unit. The parent child attachment relationship is the relationship where the child relies on the parent/caregiver to get their physical and emotional needs met, including the need to feel safe. Developing a reciprocal relationship between parent and child through verbal and nonverbal connection is at the core of DDP. Also considered is the importance of the support of the systems around the child and family, such as school and other networks. Working with a therapist, parents/caregivers learn the importance of the attachment relationship with regards to the development and emotional wellbeing of the child. They will learn how the quality of the attachment relationship is essential for the developing brain, template for all relationships and the developing sense of the child’s self. Learning and using the PACCE model (Playfulness, Acceptance, Compassion, Curiosity & Empathy) as an attitude of being, parents/caregivers will seek to understand the inner experience of their child. They will learn to look for the meaning beneath the behaviour, to find out what is being communicated through the behaviour, rather than focus on the behaviour itself. The aim for parents/caregivers is to stay emotionally regulated, connected, and engaged to their child when the child is dysregulated, through soothing and calming the child with acceptance and warmth, before correcting the child’s behaviour. Children who have experienced developmental trauma and attachment difficulties, can recover, and heal through an emotionally attuned available attachment figure. DDP supports the family to develop healthy patterns of relating to each other, improve communication and understanding, and create a sense of belonging.
The child is brought into the sessions with parents/caregivers when parents/caregivers understand the DDP model and are actively using PACCE at home as well as during the sessions. However, in some cases it is not always necessary for the child to join, and the work is completed with the parents/caregivers.
Developing a secure attachment to a primary caregiver is extremely important for a child's ability to trust and for the development of intimate relationships in adulthood. It is also associated with emotional regulation and the development of the individual’s identity. What is often overlooked is the power of the attachment that forms between mother and child before birth, in-utero. It is this bonding, that if severed, either at birth or later, can cause what is often referred to as the ‘Primal Wound’, a lesion so deep that it may never heal and the cause of so much pain and trauma.
So for children who have been removed from their parents, for whatever reason, they may be carrying this ‘wound’ in addition to being separated from their family and their genetic heritage. This separation and loss can impact on their sense of identity, self-esteem and confidence, ability to trust and form close loving relationships. It is normal for the child to question who they are, who their parents are, why they could not or would not parent them and what this means for themselves. However the search for these answers can be traumatic and debilitating, causing friction and distress within their adopted family.
The focus of this therapy is to help the adoptive parents, or long-term foster carers, assist the child in the process of healing. The emphasis is on encouraging the bonding between the child and the ‘new’ parents in order to build trust, reliability, respect, enjoyment and fun. It involves the parents being open to explore, discuss and if necessary resolve any of their own issues alongside the issues brought by the child.
Adoption is an arrangement for the upbringing of children whose parents by birth are no longer able to care for them. It is an arrangement which is socially recognised and regulated and, as such, reflects the current values of society. Adoption evokes strong emotions, touching as it does ideas and feelings about the family, belonging, parenting, separation, attachment, loss, heredity and environment. These emotions are not only experienced by the adoptee but also family and friends of both the birth and adoptive family.
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 requires that counselling for anyone whose life has been affected by adoption i.e. adoptees, adopters, adoptive family members, or birth family members, must be carried out by a registered adoptions counsellor. At Time to Listen we have counsellors trained and registered to provide adoption counselling.
Funding grants successfully awarded from the following have enabled Time to Listen to thrive and grow as an essential therapeutic service despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has enabled Time to Listen to continue being responsive to the needs of our local communities.