Being a parent or carer (I will use the term ‘parent’ to cover both roles) is one of the most difficult roles that a person can undertake. It often brings great joy, but it can also be a very challenging experience.

My experience of parenting is through step-parenting and through parenting my daughter who joined our family through adoption.  I’ve always felt quite ‘different’ to other parents – possibly because my family developed in a different way to many other families.  The experiences of ‘my’ children also mean that my parenting experiences have been different to many of my peers.  At times this has been an isolating experience, one that many parents who I work with also experience.

I work with parents where children or young people display challenging behaviours.  Parents may be dealing with school refusal, substance abuse, violence, high risk behaviour or serious mental health challenges.  Many of the parents who I work with talk of feeling increasingly helpless, confused and overwhelmed as they struggle to help their children or change their child’s behaviour.

My work with parents may include:

  • Providing a non-judgemental place to talk freely about what they are experiencing with their child;
  • Building an understanding of the parent’s relational (attachment) preferences and how this may influence their parenting;
  • Processing very difficult emotions including loss, grief, anger and sadness;
  • Understanding support needs and working with parents to identify areas of support;
  • Processing trauma (including past traumas) held by parents;
  • Helping parents to re-build a sense of themselves which can often be lost after many years of challenge;
  • Discussing solutions for challenging behaviour, both within and outside of the home;
  • Managing the uncertainty that can arise when thinking about the future.

Attachment theory and non-violent resistance (further information below) form the therapeutic foundations of my work with parents.  I work from a trauma-informed perspective; this is especially important where children have experienced early life or developmental trauma.  In all instances my work is with parents, as I believe it is the parent who holds both the responsibility and the presence to alter the dynamics within the home.

I work with birth parents, step-parents, adoptive parents and special guardians.


Non-violent resistance

Non-violent resistance (NVR) addresses violent, controlling and harmful behaviours in children and adolescents. The methods and ideas of NVR are used within the family setting to help parents and carers to build their presence, and ultimately to bring about enduring change within the family.

When violence and/or controlling behaviour are present in the home, it can be very difficult for parents to retain a connection and a relationship with their child.  Many parents feel, instead, a sense of helplessness and despair.  As violence or control from child to parent is rarely discussed in society, parents can feel isolated, ashamed and confused about what is happening within their home.

NVR can help parents to overcome their sense of helplessness and despair.  The intervention offers a change to the ‘reward and punishment’ behavioural parenting approach that can often lead to an escalation in violence, in particular by children who find it hard to be supervised or guided by their parents.  Instead, NVR helps parents to address challenging behaviours whilst also conveying love to their child.  NVR is a therapeutic approach that offers parents some very practical, action-oriented interventions for use in the home.

NVR does not require the agreement of, or engagement with, the child.  Sessions are held each week with parents; and it is parents who introduce change to the home.  The period of time that we will work together depends on the need of each family; for example, a family with a young child who is just starting to demonstrate violence or control in the home may work through the program in 10 weeks, while a family who has a teenager who has been violent or intimidating for many years may need a longer intervention.  We will discuss and agree how we work together.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]