Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy was begun in the last 15 years by Dan Hughes as an attachment psychotherapy model to support to parents and their children who wish to develop stronger emotional bonds. The Adoption Support Fund now supports this process and families who have adopted can apply for funding to experience this.
This therapy initially developed out of the adoption field where attachment issues are common place due to possibly to issues such as neglect or trauma however it is offered to any parents and their children too where attachment difficulties have arisen.
Hughes has devised the following way of thinking that he has named PACE. This stands for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. In practise, this can be hard to offer to our children as many parents have not received the above either at all or consistently. They may find well find it hard then to offer it to their own children. This is again complicated if a child repeatedly rejects a parent making the PACE process increasingly difficult to create, maintain and sustain. Over time something that Hughes called ‘Blocked Care’ can develop where effectively repeated attempts at connection are rejected and over time the parent’s attempts to create connection are exhausted.
Hughes’ model is generally offered over 20-30 sessions with the first half dedicated to the parents understanding their own attachment style and blocks to connection so that when it comes to bringing the child in, the parents increasingly become co therapists in the process.
Children are generally introduced once the parents and parents are feeling encouraged by starting to see positive experiences of DDP and have really looked at any blocks within their own relationship.
In this way, the process of developing PACE and increasing connectivity can start. Blocks to this happening are explored in a safe way and parent reviews happen regularly between sessions. The whole process is having highly beneficial outcomes on parents who are often feeling exhausted both emotionally and physically.
If you are interested in knowing more about this highly effective therapy, www.ddpnetwork.org is a good place to look. You will see me listed as a practitioner on this website working towards full practitioner status.