Developmental trauma can occur where children have developed in an environment of ongoing danger, maltreatment, and inadequate caregiving systems. The child is left feeling helpless, overwhelmed and out of control with no secure care giver to act as protector.
The imprints of children's early developmental trauma remain embedded as somatic and emotional memory even though there may be little or no conscious memory of the experience, particularly where children have been removed from the previously unsafe environment and placed in foster care or with adoptive parents.
The body however does remember, and responds at an automatic level to all danger triggers it has known previously.
These triggers can be as innoccuous as a particular time of day, a smell, the sound of a car door slamming, a particular accent, raised voices etc. However the body is unable to differentiate between the current trigger and the previously experienced danger.
Children suffering Developmental Trauma can display challenging behaviours that can lead to inaccurate labelling of the child. It is important that carers and educators understand that these behaviours are the child's attempts to 'survive' when their somatic memories of the trauma are triggered.
Non-Directive Play Therapy provides the child with a safe, contained space to process his experiences in a way that does not involve him re-experiencing the trauma. The trauma, and developmental stages that were interrupted, can be reworked symbolically in the safety of metaphor until the child is ready to integrate into awareness.
Adoption and Fostering Agencies
Child in Mind Ltd accepts referrals from adoption and fostering agencies, local authorities, and directly from adoptive parents. The initial criteria for acceptance of referral (as in all cases) is that the child is now in a safe environment.
Our therapy for traumatised children is based on the practice of Non-Directive Play Therapy, and is informed by theories of child development, neuroscience, and attachment. It is further informed by the pioneering work of Pat Ogden, Bruce Perry, and Bessel van der Kolk. We believe in a holistic, systemic approach and as such it is useful to work with both the child and caregiver to effect the best possible outcome for the child and the family. Work with parents takes on a psychoeducative approach as well as providing support - it is not uncommon for caregivers to access their own personal therapy, and this can be provided by Child in Mind Ltd.
Child in Mind Ltd believe in equal access for all and welcome enquiries from minority groups.