Important Announcement: We Have Moved!

On October 1, 2019, Growth Counselling Services moved to Cambridge, Ontario. Our new office address is: 24 Queens Square, Unit #103, Cambridge, ON N1S 1H6

 Attachment-Based Therapy (DDP)


Attachment-based therapy is a very common form of psychotherapy or talk therapy and it can be helpful to people of all ages, not just children. Ultimately, the goal of attachment-based therapy is to help people work through their problems by talking about them in a judgment-free zone.

The therapist listens to these problems and asks thought-provoking and engaging questions that encourage the client to reflect deeply on their experiences and how they relate to them. Whether we’re discussing a childhood trauma or something that happened recently, adolescent attachment therapy can help the child become reacquainted with their past experiences and face these challenges head-on while working within their own comfort level.

What Is Dyadic Development Psychotherapy?

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a form of attachment-based therapy that was developed by Daniel Hughes. It focuses primarily on children who’ve experienced trauma as a result of severed ties or bonds with adults who took on the role of caregiver or guardian in their lives. Biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, legal guardians, and caregivers all qualify.

In fact, this is a very common phenomenon in foster care and adoption situations. Children who grow up in the foster care system and are frequently bounced around from one home to another may struggle with developing and maintaining strong familial attachments. They’re constantly worried that they’re going to be separated from their foster or adoptive families for one reason or another.

The same can typically be said for children who grow up with abusive or negligent parents.

How Does DDP Work?

As an experienced psychotherapist (Q), the first thing I like to do is to meet with the child and their caregiver separately or together to gain a clear understanding of their situation as well as their varying perspectives on the matter. Establishing trust from the very beginning is highly important in this line of work. I also need to assess my own compatibility with my clients and make sure our relationship is a good fit from all angles.

DDP for foster families involves adhering to the child’s psychological safety and teaching them how to establish trust with authority figures and other individuals in their lives so that they can experience fulfilling relationships. This is done through:

  • Identifying and communicating their emotions

  • Teaching them effective conflict resolution skills they can use in their relationships

  • Practicing self-acceptance and learning to trust and rely on others

  • Encouraging them to speak openly about their emotions

  • Being more empathetic and sympathetic towards others

  • Learning to find value in the experiences of those they admire

  • Positive self-discovery and learning the value of the experiences of caregivers

Is DDP Right for Your Family?

DDP for adopted children has proven to be very effective because it helps children adapt to their new surroundings by encouraging them to be themselves. However, attachment-based therapy for the whole family can also be very helpful in these types of situations.

If you’re thinking about adopting a child and would like some professional advice when it comes to helping them adjust to your home and way of life, then contact me, Rick Defoe, at Growth Counselling Services today.