A holistic, therapeutic approach provides the foundation for every aspect of care and education at Hopedale. We have chosen to follow the pathway of accreditation and continuous improvement offered by The Community of Communities for Therapeutic Communities. Community of Communities is an initiative of the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI), working in partnership with the Association of Therapeutic Communities, the Charterhouse Group and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust. This pathway enables us to ensure the highest standard of therapeutic practice through a process of self- and peer-review and provides us with access to best practice and rigorous service standards.
Since the majority of children referred to us have experienced a childhood fraught with difficulty, we encourage every child to engage in weekly, individual therapy sessions in addition to the theraputic approach that underpins everyday life at Hopedale.
Our qualified and experienced in-house therapists assess the needs of children placed at Hopedale, provide or source appropriate, individual, group and/or family therapy, and are dedicated to maintaining a consistent therapeutic approach through targeted staff support and training in both the home and the school. Each child has a therapeutic plan which is reviewed weekly, providing direction for key-working sessions, alternative therapy, and home and school staff. Available therapies are described below, and have been found to be effective in helping children and adolescents with a wide range of problems including:
- low self-esteem
- post–traumatic stress disorder
- developmental delay
- attachment disorders
- lack of sleep
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBPT)
Children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties often have thoughts that are unhelpful and sometimes not accurate. This pattern of thinking can lead to many problems. The goal of CBPT is to create a more balanced way of thinking and to change any unhelpful patterns of thought and behaviour. It aims to help children understand how their problems began and what perpetuates them. It enables them to link the way that they think (thoughts, beliefs and assumptions), with their feelings (emotions) and what they do (behaviour). This therapy can be delivered through talk, art or play.
CBPT is not about thinking more positively; instead, it enables children to approach situations in a more balanced way, allowing them to be more effective in solving their own problems and feel more in control of their life. A Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist can also work closely with a child's parents/carers/siblings, and undertake parent-child relationship interventions.
Psychotherapeutic Counselling is distinguished from traditional counselling by its emphasis on the co-creation of an in-depth therapeutic relationship; wherein the suffering child is viewed holistically and in the context of a concrete life situation and developmental stage. This approach stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. It involves exploring feelings, beliefs, thoughts and relevant events, sometimes from childhood and personal history, in a structured way with someone trained to ensure it is done safely. ‘Transference’; when the child projects their feelings experienced in previous significant relationships on to the therapist, is a method used in this type of therapy.
Psychotherapeutic Counselling aims to help children and/or families gain insight into their difficulties or distress, establish a greater understanding of their motivation, and enable them to find more appropriate ways of coping or bring about changes in their thinking and behaviour. In accordance with a child’s age, interests, cognitive ability and preferred method of communication, alternative forms of self-expression such as art and play are encouraged during sessions.
A wide range of childhood problems can be treated or alleviated through hypnotherapy, e.g. anxiety, fear, lack of concentration, eating disorders (including anorexia, bulimia, obesity, selective-eating disorder), enuresis (bed-wetting), encopresis (soiling), nail-biting, pain, sleep problems, confidence, self-esteem, and behaviour problems.
A very light state of hypnosis is used, where the child may not seem at first sight to be in anything other than a ‘day dreamy’ state. Children experience this kind of state many times a day quite naturally; when they are waking from sleep or falling asleep, or just becoming absorbed in thought or in imaginative play. Children have a well-developed sense of imagination and in this kind of state their minds are really creative and receptive to positive suggestions and can come up with solutions to problems. Children enjoy closing their eyes, relaxing and enjoying a guided daydream packed full of positive suggestions for them to ‘act out’ in their imagination.
At the beginning of a series of sessions the child talks about how things are now, how long they have been this way and how they would prefer to think, feel and behave instead. They are asked about the qualities they already have which will help them get over the problem and in this way elicit from them that they are strong, optimistic, determined or confident in other situations. Language is adapted to the age and understanding of the child.
Through the use of relaxation techniques, visualisation and/or stories, the child is encouraged to relax, feel at ease and a little day dreamy but they do not go to sleep and they do hear everything that is said. Treatment then varies according to the problem and age of the child, but will always include positive suggestions for confidence and guided imagery so that they vividly imagine themselves overcoming their problem with ease. They are encouraged to see, hear and feel themselves responding in a more appropriate way which seems right for them.