Therapeutic parenting

Our therapeutic approach at Pebbles is underpinned by the principles of Therapeutic Parenting. This means we build safe, strong relationships that have high levels of structure and high levels of nurturing care. We understand that this approach helps create a sense of safety and belonging for the children and young people we care for. 

We focus on developing relationships. Our trained staff understand the importance of how an environment should look and feel in supporting children and young people to regulate their emotions. Our therapeutic milieu is a twenty-four-hour approach. This means that we use our relationships, rituals, and routines alongside therapeutic activities to promote social and emotional development. This will allow those we care for to build healthy coping skills.

We encourage staff to be playful and have fun with those we care for. We are accepting of their needs, wishes and desires. We encourage staff to be gently curious about the thoughts and feelings of our children and young people, and to be empathic when they are finding life a little tough. This PACE approach helps young people to learn to trust our intentions since our interactions and relationships are unconditionally positive.

We engage young people in a range of therapeutic activities that promotes social and emotional development and allows them to develop healthy coping strategies. These activities are designed to provide mutual enjoyment for staff and young people.

Psychological consultancy is available to enable teams to continue to learn and develop their knowledge and skill of therapeutic parenting approaches.

Therapeutic parenting informs the way in which both residential and education staff work together to provide a consistent approach to the care and education of children and young people.

Assistant psychologists also support teams in providing specific therapeutic interventions. All staff use their relationship with an individual to support them to learn and grow. This replaces institutionalised ‘key working’ approaches. 


We have a dedicated ‘Therapeutic Parenting’ trainers’ group, who have extensive academic and practical experience of trauma-informed practice in residential child-care. They provide training for all Pebbles’ employees across our care and education provision.

All residential and education staff will be trained by March 2022 in the Therapeutic Parenting model and will have a clear understanding of risks and needs in those we care for. Consisting of fourteen modules underpinned by attachment, trauma, ecological and child development theories, we plan to build capacity, confidence, and competence in all our staff. 

Throughout this training, staff will learn the application of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy (PACE model) in their interactions.

This intentional approach promotes engagement with young people and recognises the importance of human relationships and connection. This is also underpinned by an accurate understanding and expectation about the child’s behaviour, needs, wishes, and desires. Training modules will be revisited and linked to practice through supervision and professional development.

Reflective practice takes place in between modules to ensure that staff can apply theoretical concepts meaningfully in how they care.

Our training introduces principles of therapeutic assessment and formulation and builds the capacity of all staff to understand the needs and risks of those we care for.

Our training replaces institutional ‘key working’ concepts in favour of natural needs-led therapeutic activities, supported by a comprehensive ’Therapeutic Activities’ workbook.

Our training has an introduction to medical diagnoses that may appear as trauma symptoms. We aim to enable staff to see behavioural problems through the lens of the complex interactions that are at play between biological, psychological, and social circumstances. This prevents us from labelling children and young people.

We ensure that staff know the symptoms of vicarious trauma and we promote self-awareness and reflective practice through supervision, continuous professional learning and development, team meetings, consultancy days and the appraisal process.

Our training has an introduction to group dynamics so staff can be mindful of the impact of their behaviour on the wider staff team. In empowering staff to recognise this, we promote a healthy group dynamic that builds respect, accountability, and a sense of social responsibility.

Therapeutic parenting Sharron Reilly2

Our therapeutic milieu is a twenty-four-hour approach. This means that we use our relationships, rituals, and routines alongside therapeutic activities to promote social and emotional development.

Sharron Reilly
Forensic Psychologist


We know that well-informed assessment improves our ability to care safely and effectively. Based upon the principles of Psychological Formulation, we have developed an assessment and formulation that recognises the interaction between the biological, psychological, and social circumstances that influence an individual’s life.

This (biopsychosocial) assessment and formulation uses ‘The 5 P’s’ for understanding the needs and risks of our young people and shapes our care planning, therapeutic activities, and management of risk.

Our Psychology team train and support residential managers to develop a therapeutic assessment and formulation for all young people. Young people can request additional support in the form of psychological assessments if the home cannot create safety and stability or for other concerning behaviour (e.g. attachment, trauma, cognitive functioning).

Forensic risk assessment for young people who display a high risk of harm to self or others, can also be undertaken using a structured professional judgement approach.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk to us about our therapeutic parenting model and approach to caring for young people, please use the form below.

General Enquiry


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      Nurture. Develop. Flourish