One of the key approaches we use in United is Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Parenting and Practice (DDP). This is a model for professionals and parents to support children to recover from trauma and disrupted attachments through the parenting, education and care they receive as well as in some cases therapy.
DDP aims to help family members to feel safe and connected through the development of healthy patterns of relating and communicating. Of central importance is supporting parents to manage challenging behaviour whilst also staying emotionally connected with the children. This is achieved by helping parents with day-to-day parenting based on principles of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy (PACE), as well as through therapeutic sessions. DDP is relationship-focused therapy characterised by a strong therapeutic foundation: - empathy and unconditional positive regard. It seeks to treat psychological problems of children who have suffered neglect, abuse, trauma – e.g. where parents have been the source of the child's fear.
DDP aims to ensure the child has the best possible relationship with one or two adults who have a parenting role through day-to-day care. Help the child develop as much attachment security as is possible through consistent and attuned parenting, having a safe place to live in a home that is as permanent as possible. Our therapist is a certified DDP practitioner and trainer and all the social workers will be supported to complete training in DDP to level 2. Our Registered Manager has also completed DDP Level 1 and Level 2 in DDP and certified trainer in delivering the 6 weekly Foundations for Attachment Course to foster carers.
What is meant by PACE?
PLAYFULNESS, ACCEPTANCE, CURIOSITY AND EMPATHY.
The PACE model was developed by Dan Hughes in the early 1980’s with the aim of supporting adults to build safe, trusting and meaningful relationships with children and young people. PACE is an open minded, relationship-based approach that can be used when supporting children who have experienced neglect, trauma and abuse. PACE focuses on the whole child and not just the behaviour. The aim of the PACE model is not to change the child but focuses on helping them to feel totally connected and understood within the relationship. By maintaining a PACE approach it ensures that the child does not feel alone when entering a painful or distressing experience.
PACE is a way of thinking, feeling, communicating and behaving that aims to make the child feel safe. It is based upon how parents connect with their very young infants. As with young toddlers, with safety the child can begin to explore.
With PACE, the troubled child can start to look at himself and let others start to see him, or get closer emotionally. He can start to trust.
PACE focuses on the whole child, not simply the behavior. It helps children be more secure with the adults and reflect upon themselves, their thoughts, feelings and behaviour, building the skills that are so necessary for maintaining a successful and satisfying life. The child discovers that they are doing the best that they can, and are not bad or lazy or selfish. Problems diminish as the need for them reduces.
For adults, using PACE most of the time, they can reduce the level of conflict, defensiveness and withdrawal that tends to be ever present in the lives of troubled children. Using PACE enables the adult to see the strengths and positive features that lie underneath more negative and challenging behaviour.