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Caldecott Therapy - Working with Trauma

The Caldecott Foundation has a long-standing tradition of caring for children who have suffered pervasive trauma and attachment disruption throughout their early lives. The child’s trauma experiences have often resulted in a fragmented and punitive self-concept, and internal world characterised by fear, anxiety, sadness and anger. These feelings are expressed through distrust in relationships and in the world in general, displayed through a variety of challenging behaviours, including impulse towards flight/fight/freeze behavioural responses to manage overwhelming emotional effect.

Many of the children we care for have missed out on safe, consistent and nurturing relationships to guide them through their developmental progression, often causing them to be cautious in trusting that future relationships can provide the containment and emotional nourishment they require.

To address these trauma symptoms The Caldecott Foundation provides a safe, containing and facilitative therapeutic environment. All staff are trained in attachment informed, psychodynamic therapeutic care theory and practice. They are supported through regular mentalisation consultation to understand the meaning inherent in the child’s behaviour, so to respond in an attuned and reflective manner to meet the child’s emotional, psychological and behavioural needs, as they change through their individual therapeutic and developmental process.

To ensure continuity of therapeutic focus across all areas of the child’s life, an individualised integrative treatment plan is completed, to guide intervention, and reviewed every six months to ensure treatment efficacy longer term. This plan is informed via extensive reading of background information, observations of the child in all contexts of their life, and is augmented through a range of assessment protocols/scales relevant to the child’s unique trauma experience, behavioural presentation and assessed therapeutic needs.

What is mentalisation?

Mentalisation is being able to reflect on our own state of mind as well as another person’s.

It’s a form of mindfulness that is being mindful of another person’s thoughts and feelings, as well as our own thoughts and feelings. Keeping another’s mind in mind is being aware that he or she may think and feel very differently from how we feel about the same situation. That person’s history and experiences are different from our own, therefore he or she may perceive interactions and scenarios very differently from how we do.

Why do you do it?

It is important that our young people feel understood and keeping their minds in mind supports this. It also heightens our awareness of our own role within relationships.

Having a mentalising attitude encourages openness and inquisitiveness about what is going on in another person’s mind, while also being aware of our own state of mind. The capacity to mentalise contributes to developing and sustaining nurturing relationships.  That’s why it’s so important to our work at the Caldecott Foundation.

Our Approach

The Caldecott Foundation treatment approach is rooted in our long history of providing attachment informed and reflective therapeutic care. Influenced by the work of seminal clinicians the Caldecott Foundation’s therapeutic approach remains built on clinical concepts such as:

  • integrated and unintegrated child (Winnicott)
  • attachment typologies (Bowlby)
  • syndromes of deprivation (Winnicott)
  • the emotional needs assessment (Dockar-Drysdale)
  • facilitative therapeutic residential care (Bettelheim, Dockar-Drysdale)

How Therapy and Psychology Support our Care and Education

Our therapeutic residential and educational placements facilitate the child to experience a containing and secure base, from which they can develop confidence to build relationships, improve their sense of self, engage in education and explore the wider world, within reassurance that their primary needs will be understood and met.

Therapeutic treatment within The Caldecott Foundation is supported through our multi-disciplinary assessment and treatment team, which includes in-house psychotherapy and clinical psychology. The therapy team ensures that every child placed with us receives an initial holistic therapeutic needs assessment, leading into bespoke individualised therapeutic intervention. Every child is then re-assessed every six months, to ensure that therapeutic progress is being made within the key treatment areas identified.

If we identify that a child would benefit from additional support we can provide individual psychotherapy, play therapy or additional clinical psychology consultation. Our experienced psychotherapists offer long term integrative or play therapy usually on a weekly basis. They are able to work through various mediums including creative arts, play-based, drama focused, group work and narrative interventions, depending on the child’s unique engagement style. Therapy facilitates the child to gradually share and process their trauma, whilst developing a coherent life narrative, so to externalise responsibility for their traumatic experiences and improve individual resilience.

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