A Brain Based Attachment Model for Working with Traumatised Children, Young People and their Carers and Families.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

What is this training about?

As an emerging knowledge base, the neuroscience of caregiving is critical to responding to the needs of traumatised and at-risk children and young people. An in-depth understanding of attachment and the process of therapeutic parenting has been used as the basis for the development of therapeutic foster care, residential and family group home programs. It is also at the heart of family support services that aim to strengthen parenting capacity through enhancing attunement and self-reflection.

Dr. Dan Hughes and his Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute have been at the forefront of using attachment and neuroscience in resourcing adaptive and positive connections between traumatised children and their parents or caregivers. His approach is family centred and offers very practical strategies for a wide range of professionals who work with vulnerable children and their relationship contexts.

Training courses in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Practice (Level 1 and Level 2)

The training courses in DDP provide the core knowledge of theory, principles, and interventions that are central in developing the skills necessary to practising DDP successfully.

The Australian Childhood Foundation works collaboratively with the DDP Institute and Compass Australia to deliver training courses in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Practice Level 1 (Introductory) and Level 2 (Advanced) in Australia. The Level 1 and Level 2 training courses in DDPP provide the core knowledge of theory, principles, and interventions that are central in developing the skills necessary to practising DDP successfully.

Level 1 and Level 2 courses each involve 28 hours of in-depth learning, with Level 2 building on the DDPP knowledge and skills gained during Level 1 training. Each level is offered in small groups to enhance the learning experience. This small group approach ensures maximum participation, relevant case discussion, and opportunities for real skill-building.

Level 1 Course

This is an introductory 5-day online course on Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, an intervention model developed by Dan Hughes, Clinical Psychologist, USA.

This approach assists therapists and other professionals to understand and effectively support children, young people and their families. In this model, theory and research in the areas of developmental trauma, attachment theory, intersubjectivity and child development are integrated to produce a therapeutic approach used for relationship development and trauma resolution. DDP recognises the vital role which adoptive parents, foster carers and residential workers play as primary attachment figures in the recovery of traumatised, attachment-resistant children.

The principles and interventions are presented through formal presentations, discussion, videotape of sessions, role-play, and handouts.

Level 1 must be completed prior to participating in Level 2, to ensure the relevant skills, knowledge and safety for all participants in the level two course, where participants explore their own attachment styles and experiences. DDPI recommends a six-month gap between Level 1 and Level 2 in order 
to have time to practice and develop the skills that are taught. Exceptions can be made here in Australia as DDPI trainers infrequently travel to Australia to deliver training.

When enrolling for a Level 2 course you will be required to confirm when and where and with whom you completed your DDPP Level 1 training.

Please note: In the current COVID-19 environment, we are offering Level 1 and Level 2 courses as real-time online workshops, with courses running over 5 days online.  You will find the details for each 5-day course in the registration section below.

The early bird rate ($2,640) is available for a period in the lead up to the course date, please register early, prior to the course reverting to the standard rate ($2,860).

What will you learn?

During the courses, the DDP trainer will provide extended presentations about the knowledge base underpinning DDP including how to:

  • Support children and carers to start to resolve traumatic experiences through shame interruption, interactive repair, co-regulation of arousal and affect, shared meaning making
  • Involve parents and/or caregivers in a rhythmic dialogue with children that is effective and reflective
  • Resource parents and caregivers to reach out to the parts of their children that feel vulnerable, lost and insecure
  • Position an understanding of the neurobiology of attachment and concepts of blocked parenting to know how to prepare for and carry out therapeutic engagement with children, young people and their caregivers
  • Present and collaboratively analyse videos of therapeutic sessions with children and carers as a way of understanding how DDP is put into practice
  • Use role-plays to develop specific skills relevant to the practice of DDP
  • Examine how the attachment history of practitioners shapes and influence their way of undertaking DDP.

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Why study Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy?

Hear from Foundation CEO Dr Joe Tucci on why he believes this modality is so valuable.

What difference will this make to your practice?

The training courses in DDP are both theoretical and practical. They provide real strategies that enable practitioners who work with relationships to know what to say, when and why, so as to orient children and caregivers to each other’s reciprocal needs in a way that opens up a rapport, trust and receptiveness to growth and development.

The training is thought-provoking and moving. The DDP framework respects the insights offered by the neurobiology of trauma and attachment. However, DDP also integrates into therapeutic responses to children a much wider appreciation of the importance of metaphor, play, and intersubjectivity when working with families as a whole. DDP trainers are very generous with their ideas and experience. Practitioners will leave with the knowledge that they have fully examined this seminal therapeutic model.

Across Australia, the provision of DDP training is shared between the Australian Childhood Foundation and Compass. You can visit the Compass website here.