Glossary and jargon buster

Our world often includes acronyms, complex words and references that are not always clear. While we try to avoid using jargon with our clients, you might come across them in your work with us (or elsewhere). We’ve tried to capture them all in our jargon buster and glossary below.


Adolescence, Attachment and Building Connection (A-ABC) is a therapeutic reparenting programme developed by Gateway Psychology. It is an advanced-level course aimed at parents and carers of adolescents. You can find out more about A-ABC here.

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) provides funds to local authorities (LAs) and regional adoption agencies (RAAs) to pay for essential therapeutic services for eligible adoptive and special guardianship order (SGO) families.

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). They can have a tremendous impact on future violence victimisation and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. You can find out more here.

The Assessment Checklists were developed to measure problems such as attachment-related difficulties, anxiety and dissociative responses to trauma, age-inappropriate sexual behaviour and self-harm in children in long-term care, children adopted from care, and maltreated children. The checklist is completed by parents and carers.

The Assessment Checklists were developed to measure problems such as attachment-related difficulties, anxiety and dissociative responses to trauma, age-inappropriate sexual behaviour and self-harm in children in long-term care, children adopted from care, and maltreated children. The checklist is completed by parents and carers. The ACC has ten clinical scales and two self-esteem scales.

Assessments of therapeutic need help us understand the direction of therapy to help a child or young person. We usually conduct them before starting therapy.

A deep and enduring emotional bond between two people in which each seeks closeness and feels more secure when in the presence of the attachment figure. Attachment behaviour in adults towards the child includes responding sensitively and appropriately to the child’s needs.

A broad term that is used to describe a series of emotional and behavioural problems that can develop in young children who struggle to form expected bonds to primary caregivers, usually their parents.

A condition that affects people’s behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.

A condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socialises with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behaviour.


This is a measure of the cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other cognitive processes, such as planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, task switching and initiation and monitoring of actions.

The BYI are a series of self-report scales assessing Self-Concept, Anxiety, Depression, Anger and Behaviour Problems

This is a projective method that examines the child’s perception of the dynamics within their family. Having chosen 3D figurines to represent the members of the child’s family, the child “posts” messages as they deem appropriate to the different family members. Messages that the child feels do not apply to anybody in the family are given to the `Mr Nobody’ figure. The results are then collated into the positive and negative feelings which the child gives to, and perceives themselves as receiving from, the different family members.

Blocked care can happen when parents experience prolonged stress, which suppresses their capacity to sustain loving and empathic feelings towards their child. Blocked care can develop when parenting a child that has blocked trust.

The British Psychological Society is a registered charity which acts as the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK, and is responsible for the promotion of excellence and ethical practice in the science, education, and application of the discipline.

BUSS (Building Underdeveloped Sensorimotor Systems) brings together an understanding of the impact of trauma on the child, the importance of loving relationships and an inherent need to move in order to develop good bodily regulation. The focus of the model is to support families in using games and activities that will allow them to rebuild underdeveloped parts of a child’s foundation systems.


CYP often stands for ‘child/young person’.

A browser-based webinar software that assists to run webinars and your video conferencing actions are secure.

A Clincal Psychologist is a mental health professional with highly specialised training. They typically deal with complex mental health difficulties. A ‘Clinical Psychologist’ is a protected title, which means someone can’t call themselves one without the proper training.

At Gateway Psychology, we call our clinical staff members ‘clinicians.’ Other organisations might call them something else, like therapists or practitioners. If you see the word ‘clinician’ in our communication, we are talking about our clinical psychologists and psychological therapists.

The Conners CI is a set of rating scales that are used to gather information about the behaviours of children and adolescents. These scales look at the areas of disruptive behaviour, learning and language, mood, anxiety and ADHD.

The Conners CBRS is a set of rating scales that are used to gather information about the behaviours and feelings of children and adolescents. These scales look at the areas of academic difficulties, inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, aggression and oppositional behaviours, mood, anxiety, emotional distress, physical symptoms, social skills and social problems.

CASA champions and supports voluntary adoption agencies in their life-changing work by advocating for them in national forums and drawing on their vast experience of adoption to facilitate the sharing of best practices across the adoption system.

A hormone that is mainly released at times of stress. Cortisol has many important functions in the body. Having the right cortisol balance is essential for human health and you can have problems if you produce too much or too little cortisol.

Counselling Psychologists are different to Clinical Psychologists. Clinical Psychologists typically work with serious mental health conditions or complex difficulties, whereas Counselling Psychologists help people who don’t tend to have serious difficulties.

The CFSEI-3 is a set of self-report inventories used to determine the level of self-esteem in children across the following areas:

  • Academic – perception of their abilities to perform academic tasks
  • General – overall perceptions of themselves as a person
  • Parental / home – perception of their status at home, including subjective perceptions of how they feel their parents/guardian view them
  • Social – perceptions of the quality of their relationships with peers
  • Global – sum of the sub-scales


A clinical psychologist. He founded and developed Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), the treatment of children who have experienced abuse and neglect and who demonstrate ongoing problems related to attachment and trauma

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of talking therapy. It’s based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but it’s specially adapted for people who feel emotions very intensely. It often involves group work.

Dan Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist, created Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) as a treatment for families with adopted or fostered children who had experienced neglect and abuse in their birth families and suffered from significant developmental trauma.

DDP is based on and brings together attachment theory, what we understand about developmental trauma, the neurobiology of trauma, attachment and caregiving, intersubjectivity theory and child development.

A poor ability to manage emotional responses or to keep them within an acceptable range of typical emotional reactions. This can refer to a wide range of emotions including sadness, anger, irritability, and frustration.


An Education, Health and Care Plan (“EHC Plan”) is a legal document that describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

eTR-UST is a therapeutic parenting course developed and facilitated by Gateway Psychology.

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

Developed in 1987 to help people overcome the effects of psychological trauma. Trauma is defined as something that happened that still affects you today. EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thus reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms.


Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behaviour and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.


An electronic administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Drive suite offered by Google. We use Google Forms for application forms, feedback forms and some questionnaires.


The HCPC is the statutory regulator of 15 professions. The HCPC’s function is to set and maintain standards for those professions, with the objective of protecting the public.

A subject or situation that is important to a person and about which they have strong opinions.


An internal working model of attachment is a mental representation formed through a child’s early experiences with their primary caregiver. This mental representation influences how the child interacts and builds relationships with others as they grow. It also explains the differences in human behaviour among people.


A British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and for his pioneering work in attachment theory.


A Letter of Instruction is a letter that gives another party order or authority to carry out specific instructions. In our world, a Local Authority or Regional Adoption Agency might give us a Letter of Instruction or Intent to give us the ‘go ahead’ to start work with a client.

A set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. It regulates autonomic or endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and also is involved in reinforcing behaviour.

LA is often used as an acronym for ‘Local Authority.’ If you see LA mentioned in communications, this is usually what that means.

Logical consequences are the natural outcomes that result from a child’s actions with others or property. Following through on logical consequences means that the adult guides the child to take responsibility for any harm caused or damage done.

A child who has been in the care of their local authority for more than 24 hours is known as a looked after child. Looked after children are also often referred to as children in care, a term which many children and young people prefer.


The Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) is a structured technique for observing and assessing the overall quality and nature of relationships between caregivers and child. The MIM takes from 30 to 60 minutes and is usually videotaped.


Are those things that happen in response to your child’s behaviour without parental involvement. They are imposed by nature, society, or another person. Instead, you allow nature or society to impose the consequence on your child by not interfering.


The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.

Outcome measures are tools that can be used to measure a variety of aspects of an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. In a child mental health context, outcome measures often take the form of questionnaires about how an individual feels or functions.


PACE stands for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy.

The Parenting Puzzle is a concept we use in the eTR-UST training course to demonstrate the facets of therapeutic parenting.

The PSI is a questionnaire completed by a carer to identify their view of their child and the level of stress that parenting the child causes them. It is a 120-item inventory that focuses on three major domains of stress: child characteristics, parent characteristics, and situational/demographic life stress

Adoption Support includes any support likely to be required for an adoptive placement to endure through to adulthood and is applicable to both existing and new placements.

A purchase order (PO) is a document that shows a business’s intention to buy goods from a supplier. We usually need a purchase order from a Local Authority, Regional Adoption Agency or other organisation before starting work with a client.

The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain located at the front of the frontal lobe. It is implicated in a variety of complex behaviours, including planning, and greatly contributes to personality development.

At Gateway Psychology, a psychological therapist is a highly-qualified clinician. They are not Clinical Psychologists, but have extensive experience and training in specific therapeutic models.


The process of reliving traumatic events and past experiences and relationships while also reexperiencing the original emotions associated with them.

RAAs are formed from several LAs from a region who have joined forces in a government-led initiative to pool resources and increase efficiency in the adoption process.

This is a self-report tool to profile personal strengths and vulnerability for children ages 9-18. It allows an understanding of three areas of resiliency: sense of mastery, sense of relatedness, and emotional reactivity.

Red brains and blue brains are a concept we use on the TR-UST/eTR-UST training programme. The ‘red brain’ refers to the primitive brain, whereas the ‘blue brain’ refers to the thinking brain (pre-frontal cortex).


Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

A secure attachment bond that meets a child’s need for security, calm, and understanding allows for optimal development of the child’s nervous system. A child’s developing brain organizes itself to provide a foundation based on a feeling of safety.

A secure base is provided through a relationship with one or more caregivers who offer a reliable base from which to explore and a safe haven for reassurance when there are difficulties. Thus a secure base promotes security, confidence, competence and resilience.

The SIP-A is a self-report questionnaire assessing self-image in adolescents aged 12-16 years. It also measures self-esteem, or the extent to which the adolescent is satisfied with themselves.

The SIP-C is a self-report questionnaire assessing self-image in children aged 7-11 years. It also measures self-esteem, or the extent to which the child is satisfied with themselves.

A symbol of frightening and anxious thoughts and emotions, frequently from the past, that interfere with the perception of the present.

Children may build a “shield of shame” (minimising, denying, blaming others, becoming extremely angry) and find it harder to accept that their behaviour was unhelpful and learn to make changes or consider others’ points of vie

Social workers support individuals and their families through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults, are safeguarded from harm. Their role is to help improve outcomes in people’s lives. They maintain professional relationships and act as guides and advocates.

Supervising social workers play a liaison role with the child’s social care team. They support you to focus on the child and their needs, to keep social workers up to date with changes and to respond to requests from the child’s social worker for information.

Special Guardianship is a formal court order which places a child or young person with someone permanently and gives this person parental responsibility for the child. This could be a grandparent, close relative or a family friend.


Therapeutic Life Story Work gives children the chance to explore, question and understand past events in their life. It helps to give them a safe space to feel and express their emotions as they understand their past experiences and how those experiences impact their current thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Therapeutic parenting is the term used to describe the type of high structure/high nurture intentional parenting that fosters the feelings of safety and connectedness so that a traumatised child can begin to heal and attach.

Parenting children with attachment difficulties is extremely difficult. Often, parents and carers need support themselves to help them express their emotions and feelings in a safe space just for them. Therapeutic parenting support can be helpful for putting theory and strategies into place too.

Theraplay® is a dyadic child and family therapy approach. During Theraplay® sessions, the clinician guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behaviour and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.

This measure allows carers to specify their own difficulties and to rate their level of understanding about the behaviour(s). This questionnaire also explores level of difficulty experienced in caring for the child, building a relationship, communication, and carer’s perceptions of their ability to manage behaviours.

The TSCC is a self-report measure of ‘post-traumatic distress and related psychological symptomatology’ in children and adolescents. No under-response or hyper-response was evident in the child’s responses.

The TSCYC is a carer-rated questionnaire evaluating post-traumatic symptomatology in children. No atypical endorsement of items or underreporting of problems was evident in the parent’s responses, implying that their scores are a valid representation of their experiences of the child’s presentation.

Dr Bruce Perry, a pioneering neuroscientist in the field of trauma, has shown us that to help a vulnerable child to learn, think and
reflect, we need to intervene in a simple sequence. The 3 Rs represent this sequence: regulate, relate and reason.

Going through very stressful, frightening or distressing events is sometimes called trauma. When we talk about emotional or psychological trauma, we might mean:

  • situations or events we find traumatic
  • how we’re affected by our experiences

Trauma can happen at any age, and can cause long-lasting harm. The way people react to trauma can be different depending on the person.


VIG works in a respectful and collaborative way with clients using edited video clips of “better than usual” communication between people as the basis of reflective dialogue about how to develop the relationship further. It is a relationship-based intervention that helps parents become more sensitive and attuned to their child’s emotional needs, regardless of the age of the child. There is a growing evidence base for the effectiveness of relatively short sensitivity-focused interventions with parents using video feedback in an attuned way.

VAAs recruit and assess prospective adopters; they create matches for children who are in the care of a Local Authority, and are then paid by the local authority to cover their costs (no profit is permitted).


Webinars are events, video presentations, workshops, seminars, training sessions, or classroom lectures hosted and delivered online. View our webinar events on our website.

The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is an individually administered comprehensive clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive ability/intelligence of children aged 6 years 0 months through 16 years 11 months.


Zoom is a secure, reliable video platform that can host a variety of different meetings, chats, phone calls, webinars, and online events.