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enquiries@naotp.org.uk

FAQ’s

Our mission statement

The NATP exists to provide support, education and resources for Therapeutic Parents and supporting professionals relating to therapeutic parenting, effective interventions, compassion fatigue and the effects of early life trauma. To promote better outcomes for children who have suffered early life trauma, by significantly improving the consistency and quality of support available to Therapeutic Parents in the UK, regardless of whether they are Foster Carers, Adopters, Kinship Carers, Special Guardians, Step Parents, or Birth parents.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Therapeutic Parenting?

 

The aim of therapeutic parenting is to enable the child to recover from the trauma that they have experienced. This is done by developing new pathways in the child’s brain to help them to link cause and effect, reduce their levels of fear and shame, and to help them to start to make sense of their world.

Therapeutic Parenting is a deeply nurturing parenting style, with a foundation of self-awareness and a central core of mentalization, developed from consistent, empathic,insightful responses to a child’s distress and behaviours; allowing the child to begin to self-regulate, develop an understanding of their own behaviours and ultimately form secure attachments.

(Sarah Naish)

Therapeutic Parenting, does NOT mean that the parent is practising different therapies on their child!

Therapeutic Parenting is different from standard, or traditional parenting, in that it does not;

  • Use time out use any form of corporal punishment

  • Put the child in shame

  • Use reward charts

  • Expect the child to be able to self-regulate

  • Expect the child to feel empathy and remorse

Instead, Therapeutic Parenting uses empathy and connection to guide behaviours and to help children to understand where their behaviours come from. It recognises that the behaviour is a communication, and that the communication is often based in fear. It also addresses the parental response to the child’͛s emotional age, not their chronological one.

Therapeutic parenting is effective for ALL children. Not only those who have suffered some kind of trauma. It just works more quickly with securely attached children.

Who does Therapeutic Parenting?

 

Therapeutic Parents are usually people who are looking after children who have suffered trauma, normally through early life neglect and/or abuse. Often they are Foster carers, Adopters, Special Guardians, Kinship carers and Step parents.

Some biological parents also choose, or need to use Therapeutic Parenting due to other issues which may have created a need to parent differently. This might include trauma through domestic violence, or separation anxiety through illness, or post-natal depression, amongst many other issues.

What if I have traumatised children living alongside secure children?

 

Therapeutic parenting is also effective for securely attached children, so there does not need to be any conflict in parenting style, if a carer also has other children.

What are the aims of NATP?

 

  1. To assist Therapeutic Parents in gaining the specialist knowledge, skills, insight and strategies required for effective therapeutic parenting,

  2. To guide Therapeutic Parents towards effective and relevant support, especially in relation to minimising the effects of compassion fatigue

  3. To promote and assist cohesive partnerships between therapeutic Parents and supporting professionals

  4. To improve outcomes for all our children.

Our Mission Statement is;

To provide support, education and resources for Therapeutic Parents and supporting professionals relating to therapeutic parenting, effective interventions, compassion fatigue and the effects of early life trauma.

To promote better outcomes for children who have suffered early life trauma, by significantly improving the consistency and quality of support available to Therapeutic Parents in the UK, regardless of whether they are Foster Carers, Adopters, Kinship Carers, Special Guardians, Step Parents, or Birth parents.

What is a listening circle?

 

Listening Circles play a crucial role in helping NATP to fulfil its aim. A well run listening circle will help members to;

  • Feel listened to and understood

  • Avoid compassion fatigue, or at least lessen its effects

  • Feel confident in dealing with supporting professionals such as social workers and teachers

  • Find new ways of connecting to their children

  • Explore and implement effective therapeutic parenting strategies

  • Support other Therapeutic Parents

  • Share information regarding research and resources relevant to therapeutic parenting

What does a listening circle mentor (LCM) do?

 

LCMs have a central an important role to play in setting up and running Listening Circles.

LCMS will generally set the tone of the meetings and have a fundamental influence on the sucess, or otherwise of the group.

LCMS will choose the venues, liase with head office about members intheir local area and help members to identify a ‘Listening Partner’ within the circle.

How do I find my local listening circle?

 

On joining NATP you will be advised where your nearest Listening circle is and put in touch with the LCM. If there is no Listening Circle set up in your local area yet, then you will be invited to the virtual Listening Circle.

My Local Authority or Agency does not want carers to attend outside support groups. What do I do?

 

 

Sometimes the local authorities and agencies are worried about their carers going to outside support groups in case they receive conflicting messages.  At NATP we are happy to visit agencies and local authorities to explain to them about therapeutic parenting and how it helps to keep children in placements and support carers more effectively.
Social Workers may also be invited as guests to Listening Circles, and this may help to allay fears and promote more cohesive working.  The NATP does not work as a fostering agency and provides no competition to IFAs.
All Therapeutic Parents have the right to be properly supported.  The NATP exists because there was a need for all Therapeutic Parents to have support in caring for traumatised children.  It is our belief that you should be able to access this support without having to explain yourself or feel defensive about it.  The NATP will advocate on your behalf in order for you to access the Listening Circles.  The only agenda in a Listening Circle is around therapeutic parenting strategies, solutions and avoiding compassion fatigue and blocked care.  It is in everyone’s interest that these matters are addressed.  Some agencies and local authorities have already expressed an interest in paying the membership fees for their carers to attend Listening Circles and to access relevant and meaningful support.
It may also be helpful for you to share the research produced by Fostering Attachments LTD and the University of Bristol about compassion fatigue and the effects on carers.  In this research it was shown that the inability to access meaningful and relevant support was a major factor in increasing compassion fatigue in Foster Care.  You can find this research here:   http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/sps/documents/hadleydocs/compassion-fatigue-and-foster-carers-research-summary.pdf

Can I bring my children or extended family to the LC meetings?

 

Children may not attend Listening Circles. It would not be appropriate for members ot bring babies either as this is distracting for those who are seeking support and space for quiet reflection.

If a member wishes to invite a member of their extended family, to further their knowledge of Therapeutic Parenting, and improve support, this may also be approved by the LCM in consultaion with the rest of the circle.

The extended family member may only attend once in any one year.

What do we discuss at Listening Circles?

 

We know many Therapeutic Parents struggle with the day to day challenges they face as well as feelings of isolation, being blamed and misunderstood.  In general, we encourage discussion around therapeutic parenting strategies, solutions, and accessing support.  The main aim of the Listening Circle is to help parents to feel properly heard, and to interrupt the effects of compassion fatigue. Topics will naturally include issues concerning schools, social work support and therapy.  It is perfectly appropriate for members to discuss the issues they are experiencing with outside agencies, as well as their own issues with their child, but the discussion needs to be general rather than specific.  I.e. as there will be a mixed group of parents it would not be appropriate for the majority of the meeting to focus on the interaction between supervising social workers and Ofsted requirements as this is not relevant to many therapeutic parents.

Meet the team…