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Overview

Our specialist team works with families to complete multi-disciplinary assessments with a focus on attachment and trauma and provides packages of therapy funded by the Adoption Support fund. The team consists of therapists with backgrounds in social care and CAMHS settings and includes social work, play therapy, child and adolescent psychotherapy, family therapy and clinical psychology. The team has developed expertise in mentalization based work with children and families affected by developmental trauma. Our work with adoptive and special guardianship families involves parents/carers as well as children and young people and whole families as we aim to improve the child’s experience in their relationships with parents and carers, as well as in their wider families and schools.

We work with families with children across the whole age range. If you are a Special Guardian or adoptive parent of a child under five, please click here to see our clinicians who can help.

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Assessment

Multidisciplinary 

Assessments of special guardianship and adoptive families involve carers, parents and children being seen by two clinicians in individual and joint sessions. These assessments are multidisciplinary (the clinicians being from different training backgrounds and/or being supported and supervised by the multidisciplinary team).  

Attachment 

Assessments explore the child’s attachment experiences and current relationships. These can include use of specialist assessment tools such as story stem assessments (for children aged 4-9), or Child Attachment Interview, which give the clinicians, carers, parents and relevant members of the network detailed information about the child’s attachment patterns and can inform therapy plans and approaches.  

Trauma 

Assessments explore the child or young person’s trauma history and consider how this has impacted their development. Where relevant, assessments screen for Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, which can support carers, parents and relevant members of the network to better understand and respond to the child or young person’s needs and can inform therapy plans and approaches.  

Cognitive 

Clinical psychologists in the team can undertake assessment of children and young people’s cognitive functioning if a possible learning difficulty or disability is identified.  

Neurodevelopmental 

Assessments can include screening for attention difficulties (ADHD) and full assessment of autistic spectrum conditions (ASD) using the ADOS 

Self-harm and suicidality 

We recommend that if a child or young person is seriously self-harming or experiencing suicidal thoughts that might put them at risk, their needs will be more safely met within a CAMHS setting where there is psychiatric oversight. We may therefore redirect enquiries that include these concerns to local NHS services.  

Therapy 

Packages of therapy are recommended based on the needs identified in specialist assessments. This almost always includes carers/parents, as well as children and young people.  Therapy is influenced by mentalization based approaches and can include: 

  • Reflective Parenting psychoeducation groups for adoptive parents 
  • Reflective Parenting psychoeducation groups for special guardians 
  • Multi-family Local Exchange for Adoptive Families groups (LEAF) 
  • Child and adolescent psychotherapy 
  • Play therapy 
  • Filial therapy 
  • Systemic family therapy  
  • Couples therapy (to address issues affecting co-parenting) 
  • Mentalization-based therapy for children (MBT-C) 
  • Mentalization-based therapy for families (MBT-F) 
  • Reflective parenting consultation 
  • Eye-movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) 
  • Trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) 

Costs 

Until the end of the financial year 2021 to 2022, the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) cover up to £2,500 per child per year for specialist assessment. To make an application for ASF, please speak with your allocated Social Worker who will be able to make the application on your behalf. The majority of applications to the fund fall within these limits. In exceptional cases, where there is an urgent need for higher cost support, LAs or RAAs are asked to match-fund applications. 

Contact us 

To make a referral, please complete our online referral form: https://forms.office.com/r/vt3WA2t811.

We accept referrals directly from parents, or through a third party such as healthcare professionals, social workers, or GPs (family doctors). 

Therapy (family therapy, play therapy, psychotherapy)

Overview  

The multi-disciplinary team in the Family Trauma department accepts referrals from all recognised referrers of children and young people’s mental health services as well as self referrals if you are a parent, carer or young person seeking specialist support with your or your child’s mental health. We are different from a CAMHS provider in that we are a project-based service and therefore our referrals are accepted on the basis that the mental health needs of the child or young person are as a result of family trauma; that is a result of significant instability in the relationship between the child or young person and their primary caregiver.  Our service will offer therapeutic support to help children and young people achieve a greater sense of stability in their closest relationships in order to increase their sense of safety and security. 

The Family Trauma team offers the following specialisms and interventions to work with these families: 

  • Family Therapy 
  • Child Psychotherapy 
  • Mentalization based therapy (for child, family or parents/carers) 
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) 
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) 
  • Adult psychiatric support for parents with mental health needs 
  • Play therapy 
  • Filial Therapy 

Costs 

The cost per appointment for therapeutic work in the Family Trauma team is £150 per appointment.

Contact us 

To make a referral, please complete our online referral form: https://forms.office.com/r/vt3WA2t811.

We accept referrals directly from parents, or through a third party such as healthcare professionals, social workers, or GPs (family doctors).

Mentalization Based Treatments for Children (MBT-C) in collaboration with ChAPTRe

Overview 

Mentalization Based Treatment with Children (MBT-C) is a time-limited approach to working with children in middle childhood (ages 5-12) and their parents. MBT-C is an integrative approach, which brings together psychodynamic principals with findings from attachment and affect-regulation theory, systemic family therapy and empirical studies of mentalization. Children attending MBT-C may have problems with anxiety, depression, behaviour or relationships. MBT-C may also suitable for children with traumatic experiences or children who have experienced loss. 

‘Mentalisation’ is a psychological term that refers to the ability to recognise and understand our own thoughts, feelings, intentions and behaviours, those of others, and the interaction between the two. Children with a high capacity to mentalise are generally better able to manage their feelings and behaviour. The aim of MBT-C is to:

  • Help children ‘mentalise’ better 
  • Help carers ‘mentalise’ in relation to their child 
  • Help carers develop further their child’s mentalising capacity  

Therapeutic work takes place with the whole family together, with child individually (through play, art and talking) and with the child’s carers individually.  Parents and carers are seen in parallel to their children over 12 weeks, at which point a decision is made about whether a further treatment is needed.  

We have found MBT-C to be a particularly helpful approach when working with children who have experienced early relational trauma and who are having difficulties post-adoption. The flexibility of the approach, the focus on emotion regulation and attachment, the support that is put in place for the parent, and the way the therapy with the child can use play, making it less dependent on verbal exchanges where children find this difficult, all make it a particularly good ‘fit’ for this group. Within the Family Trauma Team we offer MBT-C following an initial assessment, where both the family and clinician agree that it would be of benefit.  

Costs 

Until the end of the financial year 2021 to 2022 the ASF will have 2 fair access limits: 

  • £2,500 per child per year for specialist assessment 
  • £5,000 per child per year for therapy 

The majority of applications to the fund fall within these limits. In exceptional cases, where there is an urgent need for higher cost support, LAs or RAAs are asked to match-fund applications. 

Contact us 

To make a referral, please complete our online referral form: https://forms.office.com/r/vt3WA2t811.

We accept referrals directly from parents, or through a third party such as healthcare professionals, social workers, or GPs (family doctors). 

Nurturing Change: a national therapeutic service

Nurturing Change is a national therapeutic service offering specialist support to foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents and special guardians and their children between 0-6 years. 

Nurturing Change is particularly suitable for young children who have had a difficult start in life, to prevent the emergence of more serious difficulties.

We support foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents and special guardians where:

  • The child is aged between 0-6 years
  • The parent or carer and child live anywhere in the UK
  • The child is living with the parent or carer
  • The child has been living with this parent or carer for any amount of time
  • The person(s) with parental responsibility is aware of and agrees to the referral

For more details, please visit Nurturing Change.

Contact us

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