All posts tagged therapy

Did you know?

Published February 14, 2016 by thefamilyof5

I want to write about the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) because I’ve been shocked and saddened by how many adopters are unaware of its existence. Ive also been appalled at how many adoptive families are finding it difficult to access the ASF. So I’m hoping you’ll all share this with friends and family so that awareness can be raised in the UK adoption community.

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) is a new fund established to help pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it.

In December 2013 the DFE released a prototype of the ASF to 10 Local Authorities, in May 2015 it opened up the ASF to include ALL 152 local authorities, added 19.3million pounds to the pot and stated “We encourage all Local Authorities to make applications for funding to provide pre and post-adoption therapeutic support”. Funding was initially only secured for 1 year so there was quite a bit of uncertainty about accessing services that would be required for longer than a year. In January 2016 the DFE announced that it would be continuing to provide funding for the ASF with plans to increase it year on year over the next 4 years!

The Department for Education (DfE) is keen that adoptive families have early access to therapeutic parenting training and attachment based therapy – both of which will help to establish relationships and create a stable family environment.

So how can the ASF help adoptive families?

The Fund will provide money for a range of therapeutic services that are identified to help achieve positive outcomes for you and your child

Such as:

  • Therapeutic parenting training
  • Further more complex assessment (e.g CAMHS assessment, multidisciplinary assessment including education and health, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment, other mental health needs assessment.)
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Theraplay
  • Filial therapy
  • Creative therapies e.g. art, music, drama, play
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)
  • Sensory integration therapy/Sensory attachment therapy
  • Multi Systemic Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Specialist clinical assessments where required (e.g. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
  • Extensive life story work with a therapeutic intervention (where therapy is used to help the young person understand and cope with the trauma and difficulties that their life story work might revisit)
  • Respite care (where it is part of a therapeutic intervention)

There are other things you can access the ASF for, this is just a few ideas. You will note the ‘therapeutic theme’ in the above suggestions. The ASF is focused on providing funding for therapeutic support services. It’s not there to fund support groups (even though they can be hugely therapeutic), or provide you with an adoption allowance or even basic life story work for your child, the DFE believe all of these services should be provided by your own local authorities post adoption team and I tend to agree.

Is it easy to access the ASF?

Well it should be, sadly it seems this isn’t always the case. My own experience of the ASF with my own local authority has been hugely positive. We accessed the ASF to provide funding for the DDP therapy the girls have been receiving. Our post adoption social worker came out to visit, completed an assessment of our needs and submitted the application to the ASF of which a reply was received 5 days later. So all very smooth, painless and quick! Honestly, that’s how it should be for all adopters.

Sadly it seems not all LA’s are as informed on the purpose or ease of access of the ASF as our LA are. Some adopters are being met with resistance by LA’s who are reluctant to apply for funding insistent on sending their social workers to provide services that they’re really not qualified to provide or using their own budgets to fund services. This really makes no sense at all, the ASF money isn’t part of own budget so no real reason why they shouldn’t want to use it, in fact, its saving them money in the long run and freeing up their social workers to provide the services they’re supposed to be providing! Then there are also adopters that have been told there is a loooooooooong wait for the Assessment of Needs to be carried out, sometimes as much as 12 months!! This is probably the same authorities that are reluctant to access the fund and instead their social workers are so busy trying to provide therapeutic services that they’re too busy to carry out the very important assessment of needs by new applicants! madness!

My advice is find your required service, present it to your post adoption worker, ask for an assessment of your families needs, which the LA are obligated to carry out, with a view to access the ASF. If your met with resistance, go higher, to the top if you need to, the fund is there to support adopted children and their families, end of, don’t allow yourselves to be fobbed off! As with everything ‘adoption’, it seems some of us even have to fight for the stuff meant for us!

Below I’ve added a couple  of links to information, some of the information/facts I’ve used here ha been taken from these websites. If you didnt know about the ASF please take the time to read through these websites, and if you did know about the ASF, read them anyway, you might discover something new 🙂

Finally, please remember to share this with everyone you know involved in any shape or form with adoption! 🙂

Official ASF website :

First4Adoption :

Also if you want to chat some more, or are having issues accessing the ASF you can tweet @talkadoptsupp or one of the parent representatives on the ‘Expert Advisory Group’ @jenniferj432, @sallydwrites or @nadjasmit who will hopefully be able to answer all your questions 🙂

I’ve linked this post up over at The Adoption Social for their ‘Weekly Adoption Shout Out’ (#WASO), please visit and have a look through all the other great adoption blogs.


The flood gates are open!

Published December 3, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I knew it was going to happen at some point, I knew once we removed ‘school’ from the equation that the girls would all be more able to focus on the real issue at hand, their trauma and loss. I kinda expected it to start with a trickle over the next year or so, perhaps with our therapy sessions becoming more ‘productive’ without all the focus being on ‘school’. I thought maybe over time they’d slowly start to process some of their thoughts and feelings and the healing process could begin.

I didn’t realise it would be such a sudden flow. Wednesday morning of last week big girl started talking about some of her feelings about her past and since then its pretty much not stopped, all 3 girls have been sharing things with me, processing their feelings, asking me questions, telling me how they feel about things, its been quite lovely in a heartbreaking kinda way. They even, for the first time, willingly and without prompting, shared things with our therapist last week!

I knew school was hard for them, and that the anxiety caused by school prevented them from looking further within themselves, I hadn’t realised however that beneath that school anxiety was a whole load of trauma bubbling beneath the surface so desperate to get out. Listening to them tell me worries and seeing them able to process some of those feelings at last is a relief, but its also really hard. My girls have so much sadness and confusion inside them, it really does hurt me to see them hurting so much and to know that for so long they’ve held it all inside.

If you read my last post you may or may not have noticed that I didn’t mention our regular DDP therapy sessions, I’d wanted to write about all this separately. Previously the girls have had fortnightly individual sessions each, so twice a week, whilst 2 were at school, Id take 1 of them to our local community centre to meet with our therapist. Obviously things have had to change now. Having all 3 girls at home has meant that individual sessions at our local community center was no longer possible, as I had no one to have the other 2 whilst a sister had her session. Eager to continue the wonderful work she’s been doing with all of us, our therapist came up with a great solution. We now have weekly sessions at her offices and her assistant works with 2 of the girls whilst me and the other have our regular DDP work with our therapist. The downside to this is the 75 mile round trip (more expense) every week along with me no longer being able to have my own sessions to ‘chat/off load’.

I’m really feeling very positive about our therapy sessions now, I had wondered what we’d talk about now that school wasn’t an issue (that seemed to be all the girls were able to focus on) and now I know. I’m seeing the start of a new journey for them, a journey of understanding, acceptance and security. I see a new future for them now, and its one where they may have been able to heal from some of their hurt!

The Scent of a Lion: Trauma and the Brain

Published January 13, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I’ve talked before about trauma and it’s lasting effect on the brain, but here it is explained so much better and 1st hand!

I’ve recently applied to the placing authority for copies of all the information they hold on record about my girls and their lives before we became a family. I’d like to think these reports will hold some answers about what their ‘scent of a lion’ might look/feel like.

The Scent of a Lion: Trauma and the Brain.

Therapy update & Trust!

Published October 3, 2014 by thefamilyof5

We started our new private DDP therapy recently after wasting almost 2 years with CAMHS and getting no where.

We’ve had a few group sessions with all of us and some sessions with just me and the girls over the summer. From September the girls have been having individual fortnightly appointments with me and the therapist and I’ve also been having a fortnightly appointment just for me, so I’m currently attending 4 appointments over a 2 week rolling timetable, I”d be lying if I said it wasn’t sometimes emotionally exhausting.

Its very early days and the girls have understandably found it uncomfortable at times but the mood has been lightened with some small Theraplay activities such as rubbing hand cream on each others hands, drawing pictures and playing games, with the therapist very much involved in all of the activities rather than sitting back and talking about them as if they weren’t there, like CAMHS used to, she engages with them and will hopefully earn their trust over time. This will be the first hurdle before any real ‘therapy’ can take place.

Trust was something that she and I talked about this week in my 1:1 session with her. I’ve always been very clear about how difficult the girls find it to trust people, even me, or so I thought. But this week she’s shown me, that actually they do trust me, very much in fact, and its because of this trust that they are able to manage the things that they do. For example, when we go on holiday we tell them at the last minute and they cope, they don’t fall apart and get in a tizz, yet if they were told about a school trip on the day of the trip, they’d panic and become frightened because they don’t have that trust in their teachers to keep them safe and will have needed to know in advance every minute detail of the trip so they can determine themselves, whether or not they will be safe.  Another example, There is a huge box in our hallway, its a delivery of Christmas presents that I’ve ordered for the them but I just haven’t got round to opening the box yet ( I know whats inside, 3 boxes of roller skates), Its been there all week, its in the way. They asked me what it was on the day it arrived and I replied with ‘a delivery, I don’t know I haven’t opened it yet’ and they were satisfied with that answer, trusted that I was telling them all that they needed to know and that It wasn’t something they needed to concern themselves with. They have just walked round it ever since (I really do need to unpack it). If a huge box was delivered to school and left in the corridor for a week obstructing their path just like the one in our hallway, they’d mither over what it contained, why it was there, why it hadn’t been opened, they’d even be cross that it was in their way and whilst they might not nag their teachers to death for the answers to these questions, they would come home and tell me EVERY day that the box is still there, that no one has opened it, that they’re wondering what is inside it, it would worry them. I know this because they have often come home and mithered about things that have appeared or changed in school.

This realisation of their trust in me, feels really good. It means that all these years of being predictable was worth while, all these years of making sure I arrived at school in plenty of time, was worth while, all these years of reassuring the girls that I’d always be there mommy, was worth while, it means I’ve been getting it right!

Whilst they trust that I will make the right choices for them to be safe, this safety net only seems to apply to me, they do not trust the rest of the world to be a safe place. So at home in their little bubble, or when they’re out with me, is when they feel safest. Helping them to feel safe in the world without me by their side is next.

As a family we experience lots of different things together, new places, new foods, new people. So we will continue to fill up their lives with these new experiences, within the safety of our family, and over time they will see that the world can be a safe place and hopefully feel more confident about experiencing new things without me by their sides in the future, for now though, I’ll be there to hold their hands until they’re ready to let go.


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