Therapeutic Parenting in Pebbles Care

At Pebbles Care we recognise the importance of theoretical training for our therapeutic Residential Child Care Workers (RCCWs) and educators.

The aim is to help them understand and intervene (i.e. the other 23 hours) with children and young people whose adverse early life experiences can result in attachment and trauma difficulties.

The four sessions of therapeutic parenting provide residential childcare practitioners with an understanding of attachment, trauma, developmental trauma, child development and systemic theories. These provide the foundations for understanding our children from a theoretical perspective. There is also an emphasis on providing strategies for working with our young people. These are covered in the four theoretical days, with more emphasis on theory to practice in the ten workshops that they will attend. These are being developed by our in-house psychology team and will be ready to launch in November 2023.

Our therapeutic RCCW and educators are also expected to invest in themselves by recognising that they are Pebbles greatest and most important resource for intervening and teaching our children and young people to feel safe enough. Feeling safe allows them to begin to develop other social, emotional, and cognitive skills. The role of a therapeutic
RCCW or educator is more than traditional parenting so, relies on the use of ‘self’ in being able to understand that behaviour is always communicating something, often unconsciously, in a bid to keep themselves safe. The child or young person’s brain has not yet realised they are safe and therefore they may act on unconscious impulses to enable them to be safe.

Our role will be to recognise this, regulate ourselves and provide nurturing responses that can accept the child may be emotionally dysregulated, use empathy, curiosity or even playfulness in a bid for you to co-regulate them and make them feel safe in the present. This requires adults to bring ‘yourself’ to every minute and every day in a professional manner. Their interpretations of our children’s behaviour and their ability to create safety for a child is paramount.

Over time, these nurturing and empathic responses will create predictability, which can help them feel safe enough to begin to trust adults will look after them, which enables them to develop the skills they require for navigating through life.

Consistent therapeutic parenting will provide the opportunity to develop new neural pathways that connect the lower part of the brain (the primitive survival) with the cortical brain (cognitive and executive functioning) which helps develop cause and effect thinking among other skills rather than living in their survival brain of fight or flight.

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