Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, developed by Daniel A. Hughes over the last two decades, differs from traditional non-directive approaches to child therapy in its involvement of the child’s carer throughout the therapy sessions.

It is a treatment approach to trauma, neglect, loss and/or other dysregulating experiences that is based on principles derived from attachment theory and research, and also incorporates aspects of treatment principles for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy involves creating a safe setting in which the child can begin to explore, resolve and integrate a wide range of memories, emotions and current experiences that are frightening, shameful or avoided. Safety is created by ensuring that this exploration occurs with nonverbal attunement, reflective (non-judgemental) dialogue, along with empathy and reassurance. As the process unfolds, the child is creating a coherent life-story (or autobiographical narrative) which is crucial for attachment security and is a strong protective factor against psychopathology. Therapeutic progress occurs within the joint activities of co-regulating affect and co-constructing meaning.

More information about DDP can be found at www.ddpnetwork.org.

Further details about the evidence base for DDP can be found in the following articles:

Becker-Weidman, A. (2006) Treatment for children with trauma-attachment disorders: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, March, 2006.

Becker-Weidman, A. (2006) Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: a multi-year follow-up. In New Developments in Child Abuse Research. S.M. Sturt, Ed. Nova Science Publishers.