Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

DDP is a specific model of family therapy that is sometimes known as Attachment Focused Family Therapy (AFFT). DDP is specifically for fostered or adopted children and their families while AFFT is more generally for children and their birth families. In both cases the therapist helps the child and parents strengthen and develop their relationship. This involves work with the child and parent together. The therapist explores aspects of the child’s life; safe and traumatic; present and past, and helps the child get a different understanding of events in their life and their feelings about them. In this way the child experiences healing of past trauma and achieves safety within her current relationship with that parent. The conversations and interactions within the therapy room are all based upon the principles of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy (PACE) which act as modelling for the parent’s interactions with the young person.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy involves the child and parents working together with the therapist. The child gains relationship experience which helps her to grow and heal emotionally. Family members develop healthy patterns of relating and communicating. This in turn leads to a less feelings of fear, shame or need to control within the family. Family members become open to each others inner life as well as their outward behaviour. The child is helped to respond to current experience and memories of past experience flexibly instead of through rigid and repetitive responses.

The process of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

The therapist will begin by working with the parents to ensure they are comfortable with the DDP parenting approach and to prepare the parents for their role in the therapeutic process. An important part of this is getting to know the parents, building trust and respect on both sides. The therapist helps the parents to explore the impact on themselves of parenting their child and this will involve thinking about the parents’ attachment histories. This can help parents to remain calm and empathic to the child even when this relationship is challenging. When the therapist judges the parents are ready the child will join the sessions although there will continue to be opportunities for the parents and therapist to talk separately.

When the child is present the therapist will work with the child in a way that helps the young person to understand themselves and their experiences, past and present, better. The therapist helps the child to remain emotionally regulated while exploring difficult issues. A specific goal of the work is to help parent and child to talk about these things together, breaking earlier scripts and facilitating deeper levels of connection and communication. There may be a number of specific goals in therapy but chief among these is that the child is developing some attachment security within the family and family members can continue the process of being emotionally available and connected without the help of the therapist.
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Location: 164 Church St, Waingroves, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 9TF
Russell Dicks - M.A in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, M.A. Social Work
Certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) therapist.