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Hope for adoptive families

Posted in: News

Evaluation of Family Futures’ therapeutic approach reveals positive findings

Improvements in behaviour regulation, emotional difficulties, and parent and child relationships are some of the key outcomes of an integrated, multidisciplinary therapy programme, as highlighted by Family Futures’ latest research.

Family Futures has developed its Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy (NPP) model over the course of the past 18 years to help adopted children who have experienced sustained trauma in their birth families. This approach combines high levels of work with parents, sensory integration, somatic experience, Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Therapy, creative arts and therapeutic life story techniques, to address the damage of early developmental trauma. Together these approaches help to organise a child’s sense of themselves and their ways of managing the world and relationships.

The first two research papers were published in 2016 in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry Online, after passing a rigorous peer review process.

Research paper 1)

outlining our model, its development and application:

Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy (NPP): The development and application of an integrative, wrap-around service and treatment programme for maltreated children placed in adoptive and foster care placements

and Research paper 2)

an evaluation of the model’s efficacy:

An evaluation of Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy: An integrative therapeutic approach to working with adopted children who have experienced early life trauma

We evaluated 31 families who have received core components of the treatment model during their time at Family Futures. As part of this we asked them to complete the same psychological screening and projective tools that they completed during their assessment and engage in a parent/child relational task. We also interviewed them to gain a qualitative impression.

Research paper 3)

We carried out  a follow up controlled comparison of outcomes with families who received their assessment but did not go on to receive the treatment, mostly due to funding restrictions.

This research was published in 2019 in the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect. You can read about the research findings here and download a summary of the results from our control group study here

A need for strong evidence

Dr Elaine McCullough, co-author of the research at Family Futures, says: “There is limited published research and evidence to show what is effective in the treatment of children who have experienced developmental trauma and who have been placed for adoption.

“We believe that the NPP model is the best way to begin to understand and therapeutically address the complex presentations of children who have experienced developmental trauma whilst living with their birth families. But a belief wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to ascertain whether there was good, quantifiable evidence to support the existing anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of the therapeutic services we provide.”

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