Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
What is Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)?
DDP is a form of family and relationship focused psychotherapy for children that have been neglected or hurt by their families in their early years, often for children in foster care or adoptive families with trauma-attachment disorders. These children may have been traumatised by their early experiences, causing them to find it difficult to feel safe in their new families. DDP's main purpose is to help these kids develop the ability to form healthy attachment-based connections with their parents and caregivers, where ordinary parenting may not be able to.
How does DDP help?
The experience of being parented presently may remind the children of the way these children are being parented in the past, even though there is no present danger. These children may be afraid of a parental figure and struggle with normal healthy parenting, and develop different ways to adapt to the fears.
These developed ways to cope may be maladaptive and parents may find it difficult to manage the child’s behaviour, and form a healthy emotional connection.
Specifically, these difficulties may include difficulties in attachment; where children find it difficult to feel safe and secure with their parents, and difficulties in intersubjectivity; where children find it hard to give and take in relationships.
The parent-child bond is held in high regard by DDP, and this "dyad" is used as a healing platform. Parents acquire a trauma-informed parenting approach during treatment, and children gain emotional regulation and interpersonal relationship skills as they learn to trust. As a result, the child is able to construct an autobiographical story that is essential for a healthy attachment. This approach can also assist them in developing strong protective shields against mental health disorders in the future.
How does DDP work?
- The therapist will start by working with the parents.
- Parents would be starting to get prepared for their role in the therapeutic process as the therapist gets to know them and explains their role in the DDP sessions
- The child joins the session and the therapist would try to understand the child better
- The therapist will help the child to talk to his/her parents and collectively try to understand the child’s experiences, and find ways for parents to use appropriate discipline and boundaries
- Therapy ends when there are some signs that the child is developing some attachment security
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