At the beginning of this millennium I had the opportunity to attend a conference in London with Dan Hughes.
At the time I was busy, with colleagues, developing a new service in Worcestershire aimed at supporting carers and parents of children looked after and adopted. I was struggling with adapting my favoured ways of working with this population of children and families and hoped that this conference would provide me with some new ideas.
It did more than that, it changed my life. I was blown away by Dan’s presentation, and knew that this was a model I wanted to learn more about.
Back home I signed up for DDP Level One training.
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings; J.R.R. Tolkien
Whilst it hasn’t been ‘a dangerous business’ it has certainly required courage and vulnerability at times to embrace this new way of working.
Little did I know as I embarked on this journey where I would be swept off to. I could not have predicted when I listened to Dan that he would become such an important mentor and friend or what a personal impact it would have on myself and my relationships. I would not have guessed that I was to become one of a group of people working to develop DDP within the UK, and the rest of the world. I would never have anticipated that I would author a range of books, develop a range of tools and programmes and participate in a range of research studies all stemming from the DDP model.
Healing relational trauma with attachment-focused interventions: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy with children and families
Whilst this journey continues the publication of our latest book is something of a pause along the way. A moment to take stock of where we are and where we are still heading. ‘Healing relational trauma with attachment-focused interventions: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy with children and families’ is an up-to-date guide to all things DDP.
Exploring theory; therapy; and practice, Dan, Julie and I reflect on the development of DDP. We look back to where we have come from and forward to where we are heading.
Tracing DDP’s roots in Attachment theory, encompassing knowledge of intersubjective relationships and building on the relatively new field of the neuroscience of trauma and disrupted attachments, the book explores how the clinical model is founded on strong theoretical underpinnings.
DDP as psychotherapy is clearly outlined. This sits alongside how it has been developed to provide a robust framework for helping parents with parenting; educationalists with schooling and the whole network to ensure that they support children with developmental traumas in the most helpful way possible. All of this is illustrated with clinical examples including real and fictionalized case studies. Finally, we summarize the development of a research base for DDP, contributing to the acceptance of DDP as an evidenced based model of intervention.
It has been such a privilege co-authoring this book with Dan and Julie. I am proud of what we have achieved. I hope that others will find it helpful in their own continuing journeys improving the lives of children who have experienced developmental trauma. Sometimes stepping out of the door and being swept away is worth the risk.