Consultation & Advice

Consultation and advice

If we value our children we must cherish their parents. (John Bowlby)

Consultation can enable a parent some much needed space to reflect on the difficulties, confrontations and challenges they are experiencing at home and enable them to make sense of these with an experienced Clinician.

Parental Support and Advice

We offer individual consultations to parents regarding difficulties they are experiencing with their children with the aim of:

  • Offering Psychological advice and support
  • Learning how to adopt a ‘therapeutic re-parenting’ approach
  • Promoting Psychological understanding
  • Developing insight
  • Providing space to reflect on family difficulties
  • Developing solutions to complex difficulties.

Support for Foster Carers and Adopters

Adoption break downs in the UK are estimated to be as high as 20% each year, and the average number of times children move between care placements has risen from four in 2010 to five times in 2011. Caring for children and young people with attachment difficulties can be a challenging experience for even the most experienced of carers.

We recognise that children who are removed from their families have often been significantly damaged emotionally as a result of abuse, neglect and/or trauma. As such they often present with significantly disturbed behaviour and can evoke powerful emotions especially as parents try to develop relationships and secure attachments with them.

Parents often approach fostering and adoption with expectations of being able to love and care for these vulnerable children and find themselves confused and bewildered as the typical parenting approaches/strategies are not successful in managing their complex emotions and behaviours.

In order to successfully parent these children we need to support carers/parents and enable them to develop a good understanding of the child in the context of their early developmental trauma, their ‘insecure’ attachment styles and the impact that this can have on the developing child cognitively, socially and emotionally.

We aim to develop an ‘attachment focused’ parenting approach that takes account of these children’s early experiences. This can help traumatised children to learn to develop ‘secure’ attachments. Parents can explore their own emotional responses to the child and make sense of these in a safe, reflective and nurturing environment.

We understand the challenge of parenting these complex children and hope to make parenting a rewarding experience.

Support for Residential Staff/Teaching Staff

Many looked after children are cared for in residential settings. Staff working with these children are the closest the child/young person is going to experience to having a parent figure. Staff working on residential units are often confronted with very challenging and emotionally dys-regulated children who have had a long history of abuse and trauma. These children whilst emotionally needy often present in ways to alienate carers from them. Staff on residential units often manage some of the children with the most complex emotional and behavioural issues and, like carers, they can experience overwhelming emotions when trying to manage and contain these children.

Through consultation and advice we can offer staff:

  • The space to reflect on the difficulties being experienced with children and enable them to make sense of the issues using an attachment understanding and psychological formulation to guide successful engagement with the child.
  • Regular consultations with staff can enable a staff team to adopt a more psychologically driven approach thereby ensuring the child has the most optimal chance of developing emotionally.
  • Staff can bring their concerns that they have in managing the young people  and a psychological formulation of the difficulties can be considered with clinical advice regarding how best to respond to and manage these difficulties.
  • These consultations can ensure that staff have an opportunity to reflect on their own emotional needs, this can prevent staff burn out and ensure that the young people’s difficulties are being given thorough clinical consideration.

Consultation is most successful when a team have been given the training offered by the Foundations Consultancy on attachment difficulties, therapeutic re-parenting and managing psychological difficulties in the looked after child.