Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) – a treatment program

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) was created by Clinical Psychologist, Dan Hughes. It is a treatment program for families of adopted or fostered children who have experienced developmental trauma due to neglect or abuse in their birth families. The therapy is based on attachment theory and intersubjectivity theory to bring together the understanding of trauma in terms of child development, attachment and caregiving, developmental trauma and the neurobiology of trauma. DDP offers family based therapy and professional therapy that helps children regain trust in adults and re-establish safe and healthy relationships with foster parents and caregivers.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is provided within the Dyadic Developmental Practice model. This model provides a framework for professional practice across different levels of services such as; child and adolescent mental health services, education, and social care. The model provides support for the child’s parents, school and network. Therapeutic sessions compliment DDP’s parenting approach which focuses intensely on developing healthy patterns of relating and communicating using the principles of PACE. PACE is a way of thinking that is central within DDP and is an acronym for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy. PACE, supported by trained therapists, acts as a foundation for how parents connect with their children.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a process. Therapists begin working with parents to ensure comfort and deep understanding of the therapeutic process. Once the child is present in sessions, the therapist’s role is to help the child relate and communicate to the caregivers. This is done by having the child explore and deeply connect to emotional experiences. Therapy sessions take as long as needed and are not considered finished until both the therapist and parents feel the child has developed some attachment security. After treatment, family members continue learned techniques without the therapist.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Increased safety and security in relationships
  • Reduction in controlling behaviors
  • Deeper understanding of complex emotions
  • Increased regulation of emotions
  • Better stress management
  • Healing from past emotional trauma
  • Increased ability to problem solve emotional experiences

Link to the DDP Network website for more information