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Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

Our therapeutic model: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

About DDP 

Developed in the context of the recognised effects of maltreatment on children, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Hughes, 2011)[1] is a relational therapy developed to facilitate attachment security between the child and their parents or caregivers.  This model applies the frameworks of attachment theory, intersubjectivity and the neurobiology of maltreatment.  This is achieved by using `here and now’ intersubjective experiences (the process by which one person communicates their understanding of the other) in the therapy room to discover positive qualities in the child, provide emotional regulation, and facilitate a new understanding of why the child has needed to use distrustful, defensive and controlling behaviours in order to keep safe (Hughes, 2011, Hughes, Golding & Hudson, 2015)[2] .  The model actively involves the participation of the caregiver as an attachment figure to increase safety and security on which the young person can revisit their unresolved yet formative experiences in relationships.  For more information on DDP see

This model is flexible and can be delivered as a direct intervention or through informed practice. The latter has been termed “Dyadic Developmental Practice” and both elements of DDP, psychotherapy and practice, are delivered at Clover Childcare.  Key elements of the model, conceptualised as the Pyramid of Need (Golding, 2015) are used to guide assessments and monitoring of progress of the young people during their time at Clover Childcare Services.  

About DDP at Clover Childcare Services Limited 

In 2010, DDP was chosen by the Directors of Clover Childcare Services as representing a close fit in the guiding vision of the homes and the implementation of these values within a coherent theoretical model. The story of the implementation of DDP at Clover Childcare has been presented at the 2016 International DDP conference in Glasgow (follow: DDP Conference 2016).  

Since then there has been a strong investment in the approach and in the staff delivering this model with the aim that all staff in time will complete  DDP Level one and Level two training.

Before any formal DDP training takes place, all new staff complete a 15 hour training, over 3 weeks, in the basic principles of DDP, the role of blocked care, the impact of maltreatment on attachment security and apply the principles of parenting with PACE.  

This course is delivered and designed by the Consultant Clinical Psychologist and aside from high ratings of satisfaction, the course has shown positive, statistically significant benefits for the participants in their level of confidence in applying attachment theory into practice in managing both relational and behavioural difficulties.

How is DDP practice applied at Clover?

In the moment, where interactions between staff and children are concerned, this model is implemented in a process model called `Parenting in the Moment’ This model was developed (co-created) by Clover Childcare Services with Dr Kim Golding, the DDPI and Consultant and Trainer in DDP and is included in the Foundations for attachment training course (Golding, 2017)[3].  This model is embedded throughout DDP Level one and two trainings and the Navigate training course ensuring the approach is consistent for all staff.

The DDP approach is also informed through the facilitation of team supervisions on a monthly basis led by a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, who in addition to extensive experience of working and with and leading a service for children looked after, has Level two training in DDP.  

Clover Childcare Services employs a Chartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist who is an accredited Experienced Practitioner in DDP. (Please follow the link for more information on Clover's Chartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist - Dr Ben Gurney-Smith). DDP therapy can be directly provided to children and young people with their primary attachment figure within the home.  Interventions are measured pre and post for effectiveness.  Interventions are also used in interventions, where appropriate, with birth parents.  The Consultant can also provide supervision to those practicing the application of DDP from Level one and two trainings.  The Consultant also provides additional assessments alongside this role in terms of neurodevelopment and psychological well-being and oversight of annual assessments guided by the Pyramid of Need (Golding 2015).  

[1] Hughes D (2011) Attachment-focused Family Therapy Workbook. New York: WW Norton & Co.

[2] Hughes, D., Golding, K. S., & Hudson, J. (2015). Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP): the development of the theory, practice and research base. Adoption & Fostering, 39(4), 356-365.

[3] Golding, K. (2017). Foundations for Attachment Training Resource: The Six-Session Programme for Parents of Traumatized Children. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.