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We specialise in working with children, young people and families, but also provide counselling for adults

Some of our therapies in detail...

Attachment Focus Parenting Training

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 (DDP)

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.

Person-Centred Counselling

Our service is founded on the principles of Carl Rogers and the Person-Centred Approach and all our psychotherapists/counsellors embrace and work within these values. Person-centred therapy focuses upon the power of the relationship between the therapist and the client to affect change. Given the right relationship the individual has within themselves the capacity for growth, change and development. Counselling is a collaborative effort, offering confidentiality in a warm, safe environment. By providing compassion, understanding and acceptance it enables the client to express their true feelings without fear of judgement. “The desire to be understood – truly and deeply understood – is a universal yearning. It is part of our human hunger for contact and for relationship”. (Erskine) We specialise in working with children and young people but also provide counselling for adults. When working with children and young people we initially focus on developing a therapeutic relationship in order to provide a “secure base” to promote safe self-exploration. As we know one way of working does not fit all therefore from this “secure base” the psychotherapists/counsellors work in an integrative way to establish, with the young person, what the best approach is in order to meet their needs.

Adoption Counselling

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.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy uses art as the main form of communication. Using this approach does not mean that the client has to have any previous experience, knowledge or skill of art. The therapist is not focusing on the finished image, the aim is to enable the client explore and possibly gain awareness of their situation with the use of art materials in a safe and therapeutic environment.

As with all therapies the therapeutic relationship is essential, however with art therapy it differs in that it becomes a three way process involving the client, the therapist and the image or object produced. Working in this way allows for expression and communication, often without the need for the spoken word, and can be a very useful approach with people who find it difficult to express themselves verbally.

Our Art therapists are qualified and experienced practitioners who have a considerable understanding of art and work with both individuals and groups.

Art therapy materials

Attachment Focused Therapy

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.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing EMDR

“I can honestly say the therapy is the best thing that has ever happened to me”
“Through the therapy I’ve learned to look at things differently and with a new confidence in myself” (Statements by Service Users)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a recognised and well-researched therapy for overcoming Trauma, Stress, Anxiety and Phobias. When bad or unpleasant things happen you may experience such strong emotions that your brain can become overwhelmed. When this happens the brain does not process the information as it should, by separating the event from the emotion, it stores it in the original ‘raw’ format. The effects of this are that when remembering the event, or a similar event or an association with the event, it can trigger a flash back, panic attack or a total re-traumatisation and can therefore be very distressing and unbearable. It can affect a part or all of your life, including the ability to work or study.

EMDR does not rely on a ‘talking’ therapy, as often talking about the problem can cause re-traumatisation. However it is not a stand-alone therapy; it is essential that a therapeutic relationship is established in order to acquire trust, both in the therapist and the process, and to feel safe and held when working through the issues brought. EMDR involves working with how the brain works, on a conscious and unconscious level, by stimulating the natural information processing tendencies of the brain, resulting in a decrease in symptoms and gaining a different perspective allowing for new associations, insights and better functioning in life.
EMDR is highly effective, preferred by clients and generally of shorter duration than other therapy methods.

Play Therapy

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” (Plato)

Play is the language of the child; it is the most important way a child can make sense of their world. It is central to their emotional and social wellbeing. Play allows a child to find meaning by sorting, solving and resolving experiences and encourage their imagination. It allows mastering and learning and time to negotiate a relationship between inner and outer reality.

We have a natural force that drives us towards maturity, independence and self-direction. However to achieve this we need to find out who we are in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding.

“A child will not change until the child is free not to change” (Landreth).

What is Play Therapy?

It is a way of working that is familiar to the child, the natural medium of play.  It allows the child to express their feelings, thoughts and behaviours in a safe and controlled environment, and in their own time and at their own pace. 

What will happen in the Therapy Session?

Play therapy will take place in a specially equipped playroom containing a large selection of toys, small figures and animals, musical instruments, puppets, books, art and craft materials.  The Play Therapist will be accepting, understanding, friendly and sensitive to the needs of the child; enabling them to use the resources in order to express themselves.

How can it help?

As play is the language of the child it provides an opportunity for them to ‘speak’ about what is important to them at any given time. They are in command of themselves and can play out any pent up feelings such as frustration, tension, confusion, fear, aggression, insecurity, rejection. Play is vital for a child’s whole development.

The therapy helps the child express themselves and begin to make sense of the world around them and cope better with their future. They often learn how to manage relationships better and deal with conflicts in a more appropriate way.

How many sessions will it take?

As all children’s situations and needs are different it is difficult to be specific. However some children will reach a good place in around 12 sessions, but for others it may take longer. When problems have persisted for a long time or if their situation is complex they may require the therapist to be involved for longer. Sessions are usually weekly for around 45 minutes and if possible on the same day and time as this is best for the child, particularly in order to develop the therapeutic relationship.

In play therapy it is essential that the child feels safe, comfortable and most importantly, understood . When they do the therapeutic relationship will develop and along with it trust. Once the child learns to trust the therapist it becomes easier for them to express themselves and gain the most out of the therapy.


An essential feature of counselling is that what a child says or does in the session is treated confidentially in order to maintain the child’s trust in the therapist. Parents/Carers will however be kept up to date with progress and have an opportunity to discuss any changes or developments that they may have experienced at home.

If however the therapist is concerned that the child is being harmed, is hurting themselves or others they may need to share this information with other professionals. They will usually talk to the Parent/Carer about this first.

How Can Parents/Carers help?

Supporting your child through the process of therapy is very important. Please…

  • Make every effort for your child to attend every session
  • Try to avoid asking them what they did or talked about in the session as this may put pressure on them.
  • Allow them to tell you if they want to and accept if they don’t
  • Remember therapy is about the freedom to express themselves so avoid asking them to be ‘good’ or check later whether they have been.
  • Avoid instructing your child to tell the therapist certain things; allow your child to use the session in their own way. Raise any concerns you may have with the therapist at a later date.
  • Remember play can get messy so if your child could wear clothes that they won’t worry about getting dirty.
  • Be aware that behaviour may appear to get worse before it gets better.

Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)

Symptoms, addictions, relationship problems, behavioural challenges are the presenting problems that bring people to therapy and GP's doors. These are considered defense responses that follow the profoundly difficult emotions that are too much to experience. Terror, grief, rage, shame, pain and disgust are the feelings that we try to avoid feeling throughout our lives. Our mind buries these feelings. Our defence responses, or symptoms, not only protect us from feeling this intolerable pain, but provide us with the information about the true cause or root issue resulting from the truth of our life. The truth of our life is: What happened (to us), What didn't happen that should have happened, Conflicts and paradoxical feeling about needing/loving/trusting people that hurt us, How our life has been influenced by these things. These truths create emotional pain, fear or threat that can be intolerable or unbearable. Because our nervous system cannot allow us to feel that pain that fully and completely our brains make sure that we have ways to avoid those painful feelings and we call these defence responses. They are actually the symptoms mentioned above that bring us to therapy and are driven by the need to fight, flight, freeze, hide, avoid submit or dissociate from those experiences and the pain that goes with them. In the CRM process we are guiding the client to access within themselves the resources of their mind, body and spirit that makes feeling painful feelings possible. When we can feel the most painful things completely and step into the pain fully, the need for our defence responses (symptoms, addictions etc) are no longer needed. Our nervous system does not need to avoid, fight, hide or bury the things that have influenced how we have operated and related to ourselves and to others.

Inner Child Therapy

Adults have a tendency to disregard or belittle their childhood experiences, often appearing reluctant to acknowledge that their difficulties and struggles are anything out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing remarkable. Denying what has happened in this way works as a powerful defence mechanism, minimising childhood experiences and blocking out any pain or suffering that may have been experienced.  However by denying their experiences they are also denying their Inner Child, leaving it abandoned, isolated and unacknowledged in its role as survivor.  Research suggests that many physical and emotional ailments are as a result of us disregarding our childhood experiences.  Therefore by locating the Inner Child and no longer denying the difficulties the child experienced can assist in improving and developing self-compassion, self-confidence, self-esteem and feeling physically and mentally healthier.

The approach we use is a combination of the non-dominant hand technique, a method promoted by Lucia Capacchione, alongside working in a person-centred way in exploring childhood memories.  Helping the client to stand in their child’s shoes and experience their childhood from that perspective.  Capacchione suggests that our non-writing hand has withered from not being used and has not developed from the early years.  Using this hand can allow us immediate access to the primarily non-verbal right brain, responsible for our emotional expression and intuition as well as governing our visual/spatial perception.  Irrelevant of whether a person is right or left handed it appears that this phenomenon holds true. By using the non-dominant hand the client is able to express their feelings more frankly and powerfully, tapping into the instinctive and emotional memory necessary for healing the Inner Child.  The idea is to write a dialogue with the non-dominant hand representing the Child, and the dominant (writing) hand representing the adult self (or sometimes the Inner Parent) therefore communicating with both hemispheres of the brain and encouraging understanding, acceptance and empathy.

Sand Tray Therapy

Sand tray therapy involves working with either sand, either dry wet or both, and using miniature toys and objects to enable creative expression.  It is often used with children but can be very effective with adults, adolescents, couples, families and groups.

It allows the client to construct their own micro-world using the objects of their choice, with the creation acting as a reflection of the client’s own life.  Such reflection is often on a subconscious level, which allows the opportunity to gain awareness, resolve conflicts, identify and possibly remove obstacles and connect with the inner self. 

When dealing with situations involving highly charged emotions it is not always possible to find the right words to describe feelings, thoughts or actions.  By being invited to work with the sand it enables freedom of expression without the reliance on words.  Some clients can initially be skeptical about working in this way, as they feel restricted by their imagination.  However with an open mind the rusty creative part of our brains can be accessed and imagination can be increased, which can lead to expressing the ‘unexpressible’.

Although this approach may look like child’s play, it is a highly therapeutic and complex form of therapy that can provide immense emotional release and insight for a client.

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis was founded by Eric Berne (1970). It is a theory of personality, communication and child development. The theory explains how we as individuals function in society using transactions to connect and respond with self in relation to other. 

This type of psychotherapy focuses on the therapeutic relationship being respectful, non -judgmental and gives equal value to both the client and the psychotherapist creating an I’m Ok-You’re Ok relationship. 

 Transactional Analysis explains how our adult pattern of life originated in childhood.  The terminology used in the theory is written for all to understand and clients are often encouraged to be included in the theoretical models used. This enables us to develop insight into our inner most thoughts, feelings, behaviours towards self, others and the world. 

It is only when we gain awareness of how we are in relationships that we can then start to re-decide, and change the beliefs we internalised in childhood. These beliefs can be positive or negative and impact our daily lives which at times can be destructive to self and our relationships whether professional or personal. Dealing with our past experiences can allow us to get needs met as adults, that in childhood were missed. 

Psychotherapy supports growth and change intrapsychically for all psychological disorders. As well as a method of therapy for use with individuals, groups, couples and families. 

Using the key principles 

— people are OK, 

— everyone has the capacity to think 

— that people decide their own destiny, and these decisions can be changed

Using Transactional Analysis with psychotherapy can facilitate the client’s capacity for self -actualization and healing by learning to recognize and change old, self- limiting patterns of behaviour and attitude. Individuals can then create and maintain effective relationships which are meaningful and enriching.

Gaining autonomy, awareness, spontaneity, problem solving and intimacy so that we can own our thoughts, feelings and behaviour appropriate for the here and now situations.

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness”

Abraham Maslow

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.

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