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Jannie’s Story Trauma and Re-enactment

Through the eyes of a child – trauma
Written and directed by Jay Vaughan
Produced by Alan Burnell

This highly acclaimed dramatisation of one child’s experience of being traumatised whilst in care of her mentally ill and alcoholic birth mother has been used to great effect to convey what it feels like to be “Jannie”.

The DVD is in 4 parts:

  • The first sequence is a typical day when a mundane event of making a cup of tea turns into a traumatic incident leading to Jannie’s removal from home and the making of an emergency placement order.
  • The second cameo is Jannie’s reaction to the event; her thought processes and her internalisation of the negative messages her birth mother gave her.
  • The third cameo is Jannie’s adoptive mother trying hard to relate to Jannie when the everyday event of having a cup of tea rekindles Jannie’s memory of the earlier trauma. Jannie’s re-enactment completely mystifies and frustrates her adoptive mother who is unaware of the origins of Jannie’s outbursts.
  • The first three vignettes are filmed face-on as talking heads. The fourth scenario shows the third sequence again, this time with Jannie and her adoptive mother acting out their argument.

These 4 sequences are designed to convey the way in which traumatic events become embedded in patterns of behaviour and can be re-enacted in foster and adoptive homes. The intention is to convey how important it is for new parents to understand a child’s history so they can put the child’s behaviour into a context. The training video is designed to be a trigger for trainers and social workers to explore how it feels to be traumatised, how this is internalised and then re-enacted.


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