DDP Level One Training


DDP Level One training introduces the DDP model, the core components of DDP, and explores working with parents and caregivers and in different workplace environments.

Who is it for?

DDP Level One is open to anyone with experience working with, or looking after, children with developmental trauma that show attachment and relationship difficulties with their primary caregivers. 

This includes:

  • Professionals such as therapists, social workers, educators, residential carers etc.
  • Adoptive parents, foster parents, kinship carers, or caregivers, such as in residential homes.

How is it taught?

This training course is completed over 28-hours, during 4 days of in-person or up to 5 days of online training. The days can be taken consecutively or in blocks. 

In-person and online training are both DDPI-approved. 

Trainers will bring their own styles and examples of DDP practice, but all will equip you to start to understand and apply the DDP principles.

No matter where it is run from, DDP Training is based on the same approved materials and DDP Trainers will have completed the same training programme to become approved as DDP Trainers by DDPI. 

All trainers are working to ensure representation of a broader range of cultures and experiences.

Training in a country other than your own? A training run in a country other than your own may be influenced by and reference the context of local services and the backdrop of the place that the training and the majority of participants are based (e.g. National Health Service in the UK).

Who can provide the training?

DDP Level One training must be provided by DDPI-approved DDP Trainers in order to be officially recognised by DDPI. All DDP Trainers on this website are DDPI-approved, to find a DDP Trainer please use our Find a DDP Practitioner, Consultant or Trainer pages.

The training and certification in DDP or DDP PACE offered by any other training institute or company not associated with DDPI or a DDP or DDP PACE Trainer, is therefore not recognised by DDPI.

About DDP

DDP is a therapeutic intervention model developed by Dr. Dan Hughes, Clinical Psychologist and celebrated author from Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Dan created DDP as a treatment for families with adopted or fostered children who had experienced early life trauma. It is family-based and focused on facilitating the child’s readiness and ability to establish a secure attachment with their caregivers. 

It is an approach that:

  • Integrates recent research in neurobiology of trauma, early child development and attachment theory, to produce a therapeutic and parenting approach that assists professionals to understand and effectively support children with trauma- attachment problems, and their families
  • Communicates playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy (PACE) in order to help the child regulate their feelings (often fear, shame and anger) associated with past experiences and to create together new meanings to be integrated into the child’s life story (autobiographical narrative).
  • Recognises the vital role which adoptive parents, foster carers and residential workers play in the recovery of traumatised, attachment-resistant children.

Course objectives

Download a copy of the DDP Level One course content PDF >

By the end of this course you will understand:

  • The impact of secure developmental attachment on neurological, affective, cognitive, and behavioural development
  • How developmental trauma (abuse and neglect) create insecure and disorganised attachment patterns which impede normal development
  • Principles of psychotherapy, effective communication and parenting that facilitate the development of attachment security
  • Specific strategies of parenting and communication that facilitate the development of a secure attachment and help children integrate past trauma and abusive experiences.
  • How the caregiver’s attachment history and attachment patterns can be important factors when providing care for children who have experienced developmental trauma.

Training content

The training content includes learning about DDP principles and interventions. They are presented through formal discussion, case examples, videotape of therapy sessions, role-play, and hand-outs.

Topics you will learn about include:

  • Theory, research and links between attachment, the impact of trauma and interpersonal neurobiology
  • Intersubjectivity theory
  • PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy)
  • Affective-Reflective dialogue
  • Making sense of behaviour and understanding shame, fear and rage
  • Steps toward parent-child communication
  • Assessing, engaging and working with parents and caregivers
  • The importance of understanding and addressing Blocked Care
  • Day-to-Day Parenting: a framework for parenting
  • Application of DDP to different circumstances

We recommend reading the following books prior to attending a training.

On Completion

Once you have completed DDP Level One you will receive your certificate and can describe yourself as:

‘beginning to apply the DDP principles within my practice’

Next Steps

You can decide to stop at this stage or continue to DDP Level Two.

Find out about DDP Level Two

We recommend a 6-month gap between attending a DDP Level One and Level Two. This is so you have time to develop your skills.

There are exceptions to this if you are an experienced individual who completes the training in another country or if a DDP Trainer visits your country infrequently.

Find a DDP Level One training to attend

You can find all open training in our Training listings:

DDP Level One training with places available

Commission a DDP Level One training for your organisation or company

If you would like to find out more about DDP training for your employees please see our How to commission training section.

If you have any other questions about DDP Training please get in touch on our contact page.


I have completed a DDP Level One training. Can I say I do DDP therapy?

Only Certified Practitioners in DDP can say that they do DDP therapy. 
You can say you are ‘beginning to apply the DDP principles within my practice’.
Read more about this in our How to describe yourself on different stages of the DDP journey table.

How do I become a DDP Trainer?

In order to become certified as a DDP Trainer you must firstly be a certified DDP Consultant, have been nominated by a DDPI Board member (amongst other requirements) and have completed the DDP Trainer Certification Practicum.