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West Midlands DDP Special Interest Group launched, Birmingham, Jan 2018

13 February 2018
DDP West Midlands SIG 26th Jan 2018 © Marie Kershaw

Last month saw the launch of the brand new West Midlands DDP Special Interest Group in Birmingham, facilitated by Dr Billy Smythe (Phoenix Psychology Service) and Dr Marie Kershaw (Birmingham City Council Adoption & Fostering Service).

We were really delighted (if not somewhat blown away) by the high level of demand for places at the group, and there is clearly a real passion for DDP in the region. We are very much looking forward to seeing how the group develops as a safe base to develop skills and confidence, and to share ideas/ways of working, ‘stuckness’, and successes. Folks were particularly keen to have a supportive space to ‘keep the essence of DDP and PACE alive’ in their practice, whilst juggling complex systems, competing demands and limited resources.

We had fantastic representation from a wide range of professionals; Clinical Psychologists, Social Workers, Educational Psychologists, Counsellors, and an Operational Head of Service, from a range of service settings including; NHS, Local Authority, Regional Adoption Agency, Education and the Independent Sector. We spent some time reflecting on what folks hoped to gain from the development of a special interest group and collected some ideas for key themes / topics to be explored at further groups. Hot topics included:

  • Clearly and effectively communicating ‘What is DDP?’ to children, families and other professionals
  • Access to appropriate DDP informed supervision to develop confidence and skills.
  • Logistics and practicalities of using DDP (consent to video, session length, how many sessions, when to stop etc).
  • Applying DDP safely within your limits; DDP as a therapy vs a practice model
  • Opportunities to practice and reflect on key skills / components of DDP

The second half of the afternoon focused on a practice share and discussion exploring the importance of good parent/carer preparation work before bringing a child into therapy. Billy kindly shared some video of a therapy session with a family which beautifully captured the importance and value of parents/carers as co-regulators and co-constructors of key narratives in this approach.

We hope that the West Midlands DDP SIG will continue to run on a regular quarterly basis within central Birmingham. Unfortunately, this time around we had to limit places due to capacity. However, we will be looking at other options to try and accommodate a slightly larger group next time. Given the high demand for places, there is probably scope to develop a second SIG group in the region. Unfortunately, neither Marie nor Billy have capacity for this at present. However, if anyone is interested in facilitating a second group, or in finding out more about what it involves, please get in touch with the DDP Network.

We are also trying to ensure a range of services are represented at the SIG, with the hope that practitioners can then disseminate key ideas, learning and reflections from the group within their own organisations.

The date of the next West Midlands DDP Special Interest Group is Friday 9th March 2018, Birmingham City Council Adoption & Fostering Training Centre, more information can be found on the event page. The group is free to attend, but places must be booked in advance by emailing: