Over the past decade, Shalem’s capacity to provide Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and train other therapists in this model has grown steadily.
Over a decade ago when Shalem was embarking on strategic planning and dreaming, we took a look at our community and the therapeutic field and quickly realized that there was a room to build more capacity in the area of attachment therapy with families and children.
It wasn’t so much of if you build it they will come, but a recognition that there is a need, so we need to build it.
Since then, Betty Brouwer, Director of Attachment Services at Shalem, has become a certified practitioner, consultant and trainer in DDP.
DDP is a model of therapy that was developed by Dr. Dan Hughes as a treatment for adopted and foster children who have experienced neglect or abuse in their birth families. DDP uses research and knowledge about relationships, child development and developmental trauma to help children and their caregivers develop safe and trusting relationships in which children can heal, grow and thrive emotionally.
The model is an attachment-focused therapy, which means that it builds on our understanding about the importance of strong, emotionally safe and connected relationships with the significant people in our lives, relationships that are necessary for each one of us to develop well and be healthy.
Betty has been working in the DDP model for over a decade and finds it is an effective therapy approach for working with families and the systems they are in, such as schools.
These days Betty finds that she is busy providing training about attachment relationships, and in DDP specifically. In March, she gave a one-day presentation for Etobicoke Children’s Centre. She organized and facilitated the DDP Ontario Study day in April, also in Etobicoke. And she gave a one-day presentation, Establishing Safe Connections in St. Thomas at Elgin Children’s Aid Society on Friday April 20th.
This May, Betty travelled to Bristol, UK, where she joined Julie Hudson in conducting a 4-day training in DDP Level 2. She is excited about this opportunity to join with international colleagues in the field where she can learn from their expertise and share from her knowledge base as well.
Upon her return, Betty presented the DDP model and its parenting approach of being Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathetic (PACE) to the staff at Community Living Cambridge.
On June 4-7, 2018, Betty offered a Level 1 DDP training for therapists in Etobicoke and from June 19-22, she was in Ottawa to offer a Level 2 DDP training.
Betty is involved with the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute (DDPI) as the Board Chair. She will also be involved in the upcoming 2018 DDP International Conference in Cobourg, ON, Canada, which will run from October 22-24. You can find information and register through Shalem’s website.
In addition to the training Betty is doing, she is also working with local agencies on how to deliver DDP therapy to clients who could benefit. For example, she has been in conversations with a local Children’s Aid Society to explore how Shalem can contract to partner so as to serve the needs of their clients better.
With all of the training she is doing, and as the demand for DDP therapy from families grows, Betty has found that she is needing some help to keep up with the clients seeking family therapy at Shalem. In fact, Shalem is hoping to post for a part-time attachment therapist position (ideally someone who has at least Level 1 DDP training) in the fall. We anticipate that this position will grow from a part-time one to potentially full-time.
It is exciting to witness the growth of the DDP program at Shalem and beyond. As the saying goes, if you build it they will come.