This week we had our first DDP session provided under the ASF. I thought there might be some benefit in putting what we learn each time into writing, firstly to help us reflect and secondly in case anyone else is interested!
DDP stands for Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and you can find out more about it here.
The ASF is the adoption support fund and you can put more about that through Adoption UK here.
We first asked for help with increasing levels of violence from our eldest son (now 4) back in April. This was pre Adoption Order and we were told they would put an urgent referral to CAMHS for support, we never heard anything. In June the Adoption Order was granted and we suddenly came under a different team! Our SW (this is our SW who’s been with us all the time, we never made it to the post adoption SW team) referred us for support from the ASF and we were told we would see a psychologist in a few months time. Now there were a few things I was angry about at the time and we made it clear we weren’t prepared to wait any longer due to concerns about our youngest son’s safety. Eventually we were given an appointment for this week. In the 4 months since we first asked for help things have got a lot worse, then better. The reason things have been getting better is due to spending most evenings on the internet researching things and reading every book we could get our hands on, also a little bit of help from the Twitter gurus!
We came to the conclusion that Tom was experiencing issues due to his attachment to me and possibly some aspects in sensory processing disorder. Our SW felt along the same lines and did help point us in the right direction with a few things (she is lovely but unfortunately powerless in this process).
Here is a link to the post I wrote in May about the violence we were experiencing. I bruise easily.
The first session:
We were a little put off to start with as we had to travel over 90mins to get there then find somewhere to park, however on arrival I got a cup of tea – good start!
I should point out the first 3 sessions are my husband and I, Tom joins us after that and James doesn’t come at all. Obviously this causes a few childcare issues, fortunately the grandparents live halfway there and are having the boys for us (I think I was more anxious about leaving them than the actual appointment).
This first session was a bit of getting to know us and talking through our concerns and expectations. The psychologist is lovely (we’ll call her Dr S) and put us at ease, she listened and was interested in our own efforts to support him.
It was so lovely to hear someone say “you’re doing a great job”, it was a relief to know we had been trying the right things. It gave us some hope.
Her conclusion was that the problem was due to attachment trauma and he is in effect rejecting me because of that and hurting his brother and daddy mainly as a way of hurting me or getting my attention.
Even though it was what we were expecting to hear it still made us so sad to hear the words “rejecting you”.
It was very strange talking for an hour and not being given some “home work” or a list of things we should do. It some ways we felt strange that nothing was offered (I did check before we left) but on the other hand it was nice to just talk and be reassured.
We now have a few weeks break due to holidays. In that time we will continue to support and nurture our son and try to identify any other triggers.
We’ve had a few rough days recently amongst some amazing times but we feel better about everything knowing we are now being listened to and being shown some respect for the things we are doing.