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‘Belonging: A Relationship-Based Approach for Trauma-Informed Education’ by Sian Phillips published

1 September 2020
Belonging Book Cover - by Sian Phillips, Deni Melim, Dan Hughes

We are delighted to announce the publication of ‘Belonging: A Relationship-Based Approach for Trauma-Informed Education’ by Sian Phillips, Deni Melim and Daniel A. Hughes.

This book brings together three areas of theory, research and practice, highlighting PACE and Dyadic Developmental Practice. It helps the reader understand the reasons behind traumatised children’s challenging behaviours in educational settings and offers an integrated intervention model for teachers, educators and professionals.

It features the Belong Classroom initiative which has been running successfully in Kingston, Ontario, for highly traumatised children and their families.

Belonging outlines for educators and other clinicians how Dyadic Developmental Practice can work as a framework for trauma-informed education.

The first third of the book introduces DDP and outlines how the model is applicable to small and regular classrooms. We included many examples of PACEful conversations with the hope that educators can “hear” how to provide safety through their relationships and calm students’ nervous systems so they are ready for the opportunities offered through school.

The second third outlines how our classroom Belong uses DDP in all aspects of our interactions and curriculum. Again, the emphasis is on providing may examples of how to use PACE and A/R dialogue in day to day interactions and during times where students are struggling.

The last third of our book outlines our work in four elementary schools in Kingston who adopted DDP as their framework. These schools realized that, although they could manage behaviour, they were not changing kids’ brains. We outline the process – the highs and lows – of adopting DDP and the real tensions of adopting a relationship-based approach.

We hope that anyone wishing to integrate DDP into their work will learn why so many students with attachment and trauma difficulties struggle in school and find many practical examples that will help them embed that knowledge into practice. Enjoy!”
– Sian Phillips

Sian Phillips is a Certified DDP Trainer and clinical psychologist based in Kingston, Ontario. She specialises in the assessment and treatment of children who have experienced developmental trauma with a specific interest in DDP in educational settings. Deni Melim, also from Kingston, Ontario, is an elementary teacher and special education specialist. Deni has been working with Sian for six years as a part of the Belong Classroom initiative which uses PACE to support students with developmental trauma. Dr Dan Hughes is the Founder of DDP, DDP Trainer and celebrated author.

More information about the book can be found on the Rowman & Littlefield website and in the DDP Library, and it is available now in the USA and Canada, and in worldwide stores soon.


Publishers Rowman & Littlefield are offering 30% off purchases through their website using the promo code RLFANDF30 and are taking international orders as well as those for USA and Canada.

You can can also download and fill in the Belonging Flyer which includes the code and more information about the book.

Praise for the book

“Please read Belonging and pass it along to everyone you know who wants to make school a safe haven for all children.”
Jonathan Baylin, co-author of The Neurobiology of Attachment-focused Therapy

“…invites parents, stewards, practitioners, and allies to work in concert with schools and educators to co-create a trauma-informed path toward posttraumatic growth of children. This is a brilliantly crafted call to action!”
Jennifer Shaw, Gil Institute

“…’Belonging’ is a must read for educators, principals, teachers, educational assistants, administrators, parents and social service professionals. It offers a hands-on, how-to guide for transforming a classroom and school into trauma-informed safe-spaces for our vulnerable children… Their method is tried and true.”
— Duane Durham, Program Manager Therapeutic Family Care, Cobourg Ontario.

“‘Belonging’… is an exciting contribution to the growing, international emphasis on neuroscience-informed schooling. The ways of “doing school” outlined in this book will benefit not only children and young people living with the outcomes of trauma but also their classmates and all the wonderful people working hard to educate them. The authors have drawn from the real worlds of students and translated vital areas of theory in a way that can be incorporated easily into any classroom and any school.”
— Dr Judith Howard (B.Ed, M.Ed, Ph.D), Senior Academic Queensland University of Technology.

Praise quotes and images copyright © Rowman & Littlefield, 2020