Out of home care training

Treating Chronically Traumatized Children in out of home care
with the Sleeping Dogs method

Content

Most children in out of home care have experienced developmental trauma and they can display a wide range of trauma related symptoms and problems. They can have nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance, but also be anxious, depressed, aggressive, have problems in school, with relationships, attachment. They can self-harm or even become suicidal. Some children just never talk about is and the trauma seems to be forgotten, or they become very aggressive, avoidant or dissociate when the trauma is mentioned. These children, who are called ‘resistant’ or ‘not motivated’ usually have good reasons not to engage, such as unsafety, instability in daily life, unsafe attachment relationships, lack of emotion regulation skills and negative core beliefs.

 

EMDR and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are evidence-based treatments for trauma, but when children have developmental trauma, they are often not ready for trauma treatment. Some say it is better to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ and not bring up the trauma and wait. However, research shows that unprocessed trauma has a devastating impact on all developmental areas and it is important to wake up those sleeping dogs (trauma memories). 

Module Trauma, Attachement and traumatreatment

In this module residential caregivers, fostercare workers, foster carers, child protection workers learn to understand the child’s behaviour from a trauma perspective. How to recognise trauma symptoms and attachment difficulties and how their difficult behaviour can be managed. This will be practised with caseexamples and we will discuss how viewing children and young people from a trauma perspective creates more opportunities for change. We will also discuss that it can be difficult to have more understanding of the child’s inner world as we feel their pain and how to maintain a balance between empathy for the child and setting boundaries to their behaviours. We will practise psychoeducation and interventions to explain the trauma reactions to children and their families their trauma and motivating them for trauma treatment. 

The theory is  explained in straightforward language with case examples and videos and participants practice the use of the method with their own cases. This module can be delivered in a one day or two day workshop. 

Learning objectives

  • Participants have a better understanding how the traumatisation and attachment wounds have impacted the children and adolescents. 
  • Participants can explain trauma reactions to children and adolescents and their families and motivate them for trauma treatment

Module Sleeping Dogs method

In this module residential caregivers, fostercare workers, foster carers, child protection workers must have basic knowledge about understanding the child’s behaviour from a trauma perspective.

Residential caregivers, fostercare workers, foster carers, child protection workers can play an important role in helping these children get ready and motivated for trauma treatment and support them during trauma treatment. We will explain the basic outline of trauma treatment and what potential barriers are for children to engage in trauma treatment. We will practise interventions to stabilise these children and make their behaviors more manageble, such as how to help them control flashbacks and nightmares, how to manage dissociation, how to reduce self-harming and suicidal behaviour and how to involve the child’s network to make them feel more connected. Once these children are ready to talk about their trauma memories, they can do that at unexpected moment. it is important for the staff to know how to respond to children when they talk about their traumatic memories, what to say and how to help children and young people when they become distressed. 

The theory is explained in straightforward language with case examples and videos and participants practice the use of the method with their own cases. This is a two day training with an optional third day in which participants have much more time to practise the interventions and conversational techniques through role play and exercises. 

Learning objectives

  • Participants can teach children and adolesents skills to manage traumareactions
  • Participants can increase the child and adolescents’ feeling of connection.
  • Participants know how to talk to children about their traumatic memories
  • Participants know how to increase motivation for trauma treatment

Module Sleeping Dogs in Child Protection Services

The structure of the Sleeping Dogs method can guide decision-making by child protection services around disclosures, safety, contact arrangements with biological parents, contact between foster parents and biological parents, and reunification. The content of this training can be adjusted to child protection services in which we discuss how to Child Protection Services can contribute to engaging these children in trauma treatment and how to make trauma-informed decisions around children and their families. We roleplay conversational techniques and practise decision-making with cases vignets. 

The theory is explained in straightforward language with case examples and videos and participants practice the use of the method with their own cases. This is a two day training with an optional third day in which participants have much more time to practise the interventions and conversational techniques through role play and exercises. 

Learning objectives

  • Participants have a better understanding how the traumatisation and attachment wounds have impacted the children and adolescents. 
  • Participants can explain trauma reactions to children and adolescents and their families and engage them in trauma treatment
  • Participants can make trauma-informed desisions around contact, placement, disclosures and safety

Who is this training program for?

Residential staff and caregiveres, foster care workers, professional foster parents, and caseworkers in child protection services, who work with chronically traumatized children and their families. 

Customised program

This training can be customised to the organisation and team. Depending on the level of prior training, the first module can be skipped. It can be delivered as a two, three and four day training with additional supervision and consultation. 

About the trainer

Arianne Struik is a clinical psychologist, family therapist and EMDR consultant, originally from the Netherlands and director of the Institute for Chronically Traumatized Children (ICTC) from which she provides specialized trauma treatment in remote areas, as well as workshops, training, supervision and research. She developed the award-winning Sleeping Dogs method, described in the book Treating Chronically Traumatized Children and teaches internationally on the treatment of trauma and dissociation in children. She is member of the ESTD Child and Adolescent Committee.

Face to face or online

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