Psychology input to residential care settings

At Gateway Psychology, we work closely with residential care homes to provide highly skilled psychology input and therapeutic intervention for children and young people who live in these settings. We aim to provide the information, knowledge and skills needed for carers to support the young people they care for in a trauma informed way.

Our approach helps to develop carers’ skills in supporting young people to re build the foundations they need to re establish a sense of felt safety, within a network of safe and secure relationships

Our residential care model

At Gateway Psychology, we believe that a child will flourish best in a therapeutic environment, where trauma-informed care is available to them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

As such, any therapeutic support for a child must first be directed at those in the child’s network of care, with particular focus on the child’s carers.

Our approach

Research tells us that children who have experienced trauma often need a different type of care to help them with their experiences. This care can be very different to more ‘traditional’ ways of looking after children and young people.

Relationships are the foundation of this type of care, which we call ‘therapeutic caregiving.’ We know that a child or young person’s carers are fundamental to the therapeutic process. Our approach acknowledges how important those relationships are for the children and young people in their care.

In building these relationships and therapeutic caregiving skills, carers can help children and young people build their self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-regulation. With therapeutic caregiving skills, we aim to help carers become an essential part of the therapeutic team around the child.

Structured support

This training is core and would form the foundation for any further training, consultation and intervention to care home staff and ultimately the young people themselves. This indirect approach is nonetheless crucial therapeutic intervention impacting directly upon the child.

  • The training is firmly based upon Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)/PACE principles and provides robust understanding of the impact of early trauma and strategies/techniques for managing emotional and behavioural challenges in a trauma-informed way.
  • It is anticipated that all staff, including management, will attend this training, to ensure that the trauma-informed/therapeutic approach is embedded within the residential service at all levels.
  • The training will be repeated on an annual basis, as an entry point for new staff and as a refresher for existing staff.
  • The training will comprise a total of 12 hours input plus 4 hours clinician preparation time, divisible as follows:
    • 2 x 6 hours sessions (plus 4 hours preparation time) OR
    • 4 x 3 hour sessions (plus 4 hours preparation time)

We know that therapeutic caregiving can be really difficult. Regular input from a specialist clinician is essential to help carers understand the children they are caring for and support them in providing a therapeutic home for the child or young person.

  • Weekly consultation input into each care home, including reviewing documents/liaison with care home professionals.
  • 3 hours per home (consultation time may need to be shortened at times to allow for document review etc)
  • This may mean missing weekly consultations in order to complete documents like trauma-informed care plans. Also, these documents cannot be completed by psychology alone and are always done in collaboration with the home and staff.
  • Reg 44 documentation/liaison is required from time to time and will also need to be part of the consultation time. This involves brief feedback on the current work in the home and perspectives on the implementation of the work, etc.
  • 1 written consultation summary report per month per home

Every child is different, and the difficulties experienced by one child may be completely different to another. To ensure a tailored approach, carers and staff will attend an initial training course when a young person joins a home.

  • To be delivered within 2 months of a child or young person joining the home to allow adequate preparation and organisation time
  • Includes 5 hours preparation and 5 hours delivery
  • To be delivered to all staff, including management
  • The aim is to help tweak therapeutic caregiving strategies and offer insight into that particular child or young person’s experiences or behaviours

While annual training and regular consultation is extremely valuable to help support carers in their therapeutic caregiving role, we know that there can be topics or issues that arise that need further training. That’s why we recommend additional issue-specific training every two months.

  • This training would be tailored to issues being faced by the staff in relation to the child or young person at a given time (e.g. self-harm, eating issues, sexualised behaviour, violence/aggression, etc).
  • It would include 3 hours preparation time and 3 hours delivery
  • This training could be shared across different homes on an agreed rotation basis as required
  • Some time from these sessions could also be used as a team meeting to provide a therapeutic reflective space for staff. (for example, we provide 2 hours training and 1 hour staff ‘reflect & connect’ – flexible depending on what is needed).

Your package of support can be tailored depending on your unique requirements.

What about direct therapy for the child or young person?

Direct therapy with the child or young person may be what is needed in due course. However, this cannot be effective without the key components of therapeutic caregiving firmly place.

While every situation is different, we would usually recommend that carers and staff access our residential care package before, or at the very least in addition to, direct therapy work with the child or young person. This can be discussed further as required.

Costings and quotations

  • Please contact us to make an enquiry about our residential care package
  • A quotation will be provided to you with a breakdown of costs
  • Please identify how many homes you would like support for, in addition to the number of children/young people placed in each

Who is Gateway Psychology?

We are an independent private psychology company based in Stoke-on-Trent.

We are contracted by Local Authorities, private individuals, insurance companies and other organisations to provide psychological services, including consultation and training. We have a team of highly specialist clinical psychologists and psychological therapists, who have many years’ experience of working with looked-after children/young people.