At Attach we support parents, carers, families, practitioners, organisations and communities,
to build capacity to impact change and strengthen self and other.
At Attach we support parents, carers, families, practitioners, organisations and communities
to build capacity to impact change and strengthen self and other.
Parents and carers can hit roadblocks in caring for their children- this is normal and can happen to any parent or carer.
At Attach we believe all parents and carers have capacity to build skills and knowledge. We provide a non-judgmental, nurturing, and compassionate environment to assist parents and carers to manage challenging behaviours; to build knowledge in brain development and the impact on the developing child; to build healthy responses to trauma; and how to nurture the child’s emotional, physical, and cognitive needs.
Parents with children on NDIS plans may be able to use their child’s plan to gain greater insight to support them by undertaking a parenting program.
“If a community values its children, it must cherish its parents”, John Bowlby.
Play is as natural to children as breathing. It is their natural and unique language. Play is essential for promoting normal child development and has therapeutic powers, the specific change agents in which play initiates, facilitates, and strengthens the therapeutic effect. When we connect with children and young people through play, play becomes an antidote to fear, anxiety, and anger, and when fear is disarmed, meaning brains are primed for learning.
After receiving your referral information Attach will conduct a thorough intake where only adults will be in attendance. At this initial consultation we will go over the child and family history, practice policies including confidentiality and cancellation, goals, and discuss the therapeutic process.
The next step is assessments which will be undertaken with child and child and parent, or family (depending on the intervention).
Play therapy sessions will then commence with review/feedback sessions with parent/carer every 5-6 weeks depending on the length of the intervention and the presenting issues. In the review/feedback session we will discuss the child’s engagement and play themes. The review sessions also provide an opportunity to assess progress and adjust goals.
At the end of therapy referral, additional sessions, and reports will be determined on an individual basis. You can find the play therapy process and some tips for play therapy if you hover here https://www.attachtherapy.com.au/play-therapy-process-and-tips/
As Violet Oaklander states, “I don’t fix kids!’. She states that a play therapist:
1. Helps your child have a stronger sense of self.
2. Helps your child feel happier and make better contact with their environment and people in their life.
3. Work towards helping your child express deep feelings in appropriate ways.
4. Provide experiences with aspects of themselves that he/she may have missed, creating a healthy pathway for development.
5. Work with parents/carers to help set clear limits and boundaries for your child.
Many tools including toys, arts, clay, sand scenes, puppets, music, games, and creative dramatics are used in play therapy.
Non-directive play therapy (Humanistic) is an evidence-based way of working with children therapeutically (Landreth, 2001). Introduced by Virginia Azline in 1947, it is based on Carl Roger’s client-centred approach and is grounded in the concept that play is the universal language for children, where expression of thoughts and feelings can occur without words (Landreth, 2012). It is culturally and developmentally sensitive as an intervention for various presenting issues and is a grounded approach for counselling children.
In Humanistic play therapy the child is welcomed into the playroom where the objective is self-direction and awareness by the child, in an environment where the therapist minimally directs the play, so children can talk or play out issues of their choice. The child is permitted to express verbally or non-verbally as they choose, except for choices which may cause harm to the child, therapist, or the toys. The playroom environment is well stocked with a variety of toys, and as the child plays, the therapist tracks (narrates) and reflects the child’s thoughts and feelings, believing when a child’s thoughts and feelings are accepted, they then accept, and work on them. Humanistic allows the child to determine the thoughts and feelings they need to work on, whilst the therapist formulates hypotheses, gathering evidence related to the child’s play. Continuous assessment in sessions allows the therapist to compare what an individual child is doing, and saying compared with developmental levels, other children of similar ages and in similar environments. The therapist-child relationship enables change mechanisms referred to as the therapeutic powers of play (TPOP). Schaefer & Drewes (2014) identified 20 TPOP’s which based on treatment goals can be grouped into four categories: facilitates communication, fosters emotional wellness, enhances social relationships, and increases personal strengths.
This therapeutic approach is suited to children who may have difficulty verbalising their needs, thoughts and feelings, and children with social and emotional difficulties. Humanistic has been noted to be effective for releasing anxiety, improving desirable social behaviours, sense of self, emotional regulation, wider social and emotional capacity, decreasing externalising behaviours, and building resilience (Hareli, 2022; Cochran et.al., 2010; Ray, 2010; Schumann, 2010; Salter et.al., 2016; Ahaja &Saha, 2016).
Learn to Play (LTP) was developed by Emeritus Professor Karen Stagnitti for children up to 10 years with developmental delays, language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and other children generally struggling to play (Stagnitti, 2021). LTP recognises pretend play is an ability and aims to build a child’s spontaneous self-initiated play to play to their full potential. Pretend play, also referred to as creative, make-believe or fantasy, is recognised when a child is absorbed and participating unreservedly in self-guided ways and follows a developmental path pivotal for childhood development (Stagnitti & Unsworth, 2000). It may look like playing shops, flying to the moon, cooking up dinner, being a vet, playing cars and trucks, or babies and mummies, to name a few possibilities. Spontaneous pretend play has been associated with a greater ability to negotiate with peers, the development of richer cognitive abilities, improved language, use of symbols and self-regulation, and improved ability to comprehend ideas (Rokoczy, 2008; Jellie & Stagnitti, 2004; Whitebread et. al., 2009).
LTP is considered a directive-model meaning, a competent therapist, who understands the child’s development in pretend play, directs the play whilst tuning in with the child to assist the development of play skills (Cooper &Stagnitti, 2009). As skills build, the therapist takes a less directive role. The therapist creates a safe environment where toys are prepared in each session based on the child’s play assessment, information gathered from child’s parent/teacher and the child’s interests. Stagnitti and Pfiefer (2017) state LTP focuses on spontaneously engaging the child in the following play abilities:
· play scripts (e.g., going to the shops)
· logically sequencing play actions (what is happening in a logical order)
· using objects to substitute for items in the play (e.g., a cardboard box as a car)
· describing the play (narrating)
· role play (imitating character)
· decentration (involving doll, teddy or other in the play)
· adding problems in the play (e.g., a car breaks down)
· social pretend playing interacting with others
Learn to Play is child-centred and involves an initial assessment (PPE-DC), observations, interventions, reviews, and a post PPE-DC. Learn to Play can take place in a variety of settings including at home, kindergarten childcare settings, at school or at Attach.
Attach also offers Parents to Learn to Play, a group-based program to support parents and carers engage and connect with their child through joyful play experiences. .
Filial Therapy is a unique approach to therapy which focuses on the child-parent relationship enabling parents and carers to act as the change agents for reducing difficulties (Van Fleet, 2014). Developed in the 1960’s by Dr Bernard and Dr Louise Geurney it has shown to be effective for helping children and strengthening families.
In Filial Therapy parents/carers receive training, supervision, and support as they learn what their children may be communicating through their play. Parents/carers will learn to conduct a special type of play session with their own child. Filial Therapy involves a training phase, supervised parent-child play sessions, home sessions and an end phase. Parents/carers are engaged as partners in the therapeutic process, and whether filial therapy is used to eliminate serious problems, or as an educational tool to help reduce or prevent problems, most parents/carers find the experience rewarding. Children also enjoy the opportunity to play and share with their parents/carers in special play time.
Autplay® is an integrative family therapy approach designed for children and adolescents 3-18 years who may be autistic, neurodivergent, and/or have developmental or physical disabilities. This includes attention deficit disorder, learning disorders, sensory integration needs, and social anxiety. Autplay is focussed on understanding needs related to mental health/life issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, sensory challenges, and the parent/child relationship.
The typical Autplay process involves parent or carer completing some inventories, observations of child playing and parent/carer playing with child. This is followed by meeting with parent or carer without the child where priority goals and structured interventions are discussed. Interventions will then commence. Autplay can take place in a variety of settings including at home, kindergarten childcare settings, at school or at Attach.
The Parents Learn to Play program is for parents or carers of children 8 and below, who are concerned with their child’s ability to play with other children. The type of play covered is Pretend Play, otherwise referred to as imaginative play. Pretend play is important because when children pretend in play, they use thinking skills, work out problems, use lots of language, pretend they are other people, all of which helps them to understand how other people think and behave. Without these skills children can fall behind developmentally. Parents will build knowledge and practical strategies to support their child in play ability. This approach can be used for children with developmental delay, learning problems, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down’s syndrome, and neurological conditions. Six skills will be covered throughout the program. The skills that you need to engage your child in play is essential to the program and integrated into the individual sessions.
Parents Learn to Play is run as a 7-week or 12-week program. You can enrol in the 7-week program with an option to extend to 12 weeks for more in-depth instruction or enrol in the full 12 twelve weeks.
Parents Learn to Play class sizes are kept small (6-8) for dedicated support.
Theraplay® is an evidenced-based, attachment-focused intervention utilising non-symbolic, interactional play to re-create experiences of secure attachment formation between parent/carer and child. At Attach play interventions are based on Theraplay® principles to strengthen the relationship between child and parent or carer. Typically, a Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) is undertaken after an initial session with parent, feedback and parent modelling is provided, before interventions commence.
Theraplay® activities are pivotal in helping the child develop felt safety by experiencing earlier tough interactions in new ways, helping to increase trust and build a positive sense of self. Theraplay® builds the relationship between child and parent/carer, and is underpinned by attachment theory and shows that the parent-child relationships are the most significant and effective component for change.
“Play is the highest form of research”. Albert Einstein
Counselling can provide an opportunity to explore issues and difficulties. Having someone to talk with and confide in, who is specifically there to listen and help you through your issues, can be invaluable. Counselling can help you learn new skills for building effective, stronger relationships, and develop solutions to issues which previously overwhelmed or negatively affected you. Seeing a counsellor can promote greater self-esteem and assertiveness, decrease anxiety, conflict and depression, and give you the ability to set boundaries for yourself and others.
Coaching is designed to support parents and carers strengthen their skills and abilities in caring for children and young people. Coaching can assist you gain greater clarity around your purpose in caring, better equip you to work through specific behavioral issues with targeted strategies, help you to learn how to engage and be fully present, build your confidence as a parent or carer, understand emotional, physiological and cognitive needs, and improve connection and the overall relationship.
Attach coach parents and carers and have expertise in assisting parents and carers to respond effectively to behaviors resulting from trauma.
Attach coaches foster carers, kinship carers, adopting parents and biological parents as they navigate the twists and turns of parenting a child. Specific trauma behaviour can impact the functioning of families so coaching is targeted to support the immediate and long-term needs of the child or young person, within the context of family.
Coaching differs from counselling in that you may need fewer sessions spaced over a few months. Typically, coaching may be between one to four sessions. Carer coaching at Attach considers the complexities of the whole family experience where all family members voices are heard.
“Relationship trauma can only be healed with relationships”. Dr Karyn Purvis
Common themes individuals seek individual counselling and coaching include:
Feeling stuck and exhausted impact of suicide, struggling to find strategies to manage every day and unwanted behaviours of children; feeling disconnected; guilt; difficulties in bonding; emotional regulation; feelings of shame; difficulty adjusting when a child receives a diagnosis; grief and loss; struggling to understand the impact of trauma on a child’s current behaviour; managing own past childhood trauma and its impact on self and others; understanding experiences of family violence.
Attach work with children and young people.
“Life is best organised as a series of daring adventures from a secure base”. John Bowlby
As one of a handful of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® practitioners in Australia, Kelly is passionate about assisting communities to better understand relational trauma to support and respond to children and young people in healthy and effective ways. Being equipped with immediate and appropriate trauma-informed strategies to stay attuned and connected with children and young people reduces the risk of chronic disconnection, and more harm. TBRI is a nurturing, teaching approach and provides a common language for all those working with children and young people. Having a shared language gives our most vulnerable consistency and builds felt safety and trust.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) model has roots in Circle of Security® and Theraplay®, two programs based on attachment theory; is supported by neuropsychological research in alignment with the neuro-sequential model of therapeutics (NMT); and TBRI’s core is built by placing relationships at the centre of how all interactions with children and young people are performed. Through a clear set of trauma-informed evidenced-based principles (Empowerment, Connection, Correction), and easily implemented strategies, TBRI provides the process and procedures for educational settings, and community service organisations to nurture the relationship and bring healing to at risk children and youth.
TBRI builds connection before correction to effectively see the need and meet the need.
TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of children and young people. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviours. While the intervention is based on attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.
Often, children and young people from hard places have difficulties in trusting the caring adults in their lives which can bring about challenging and confusing behaviours. Their experienced trauma creates changes in their brains, bodies, beliefs, and behaviours. Although usual parenting strategies can be helpful, they often do not address the unique needs of the child or young person.
TBRI® has been used in a variety of settings including schools; rehabilitation centre’s and prisons; foster care; adoptive parents; law courts; camps; and residential facilities. The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare have rated TBRI® with a high relevance for the child welfare system.
This TBRI® workshop (Caregiver Training) provides practical tools which can be used immediately and is applicable for carers, parents, teachers, social workers, practitioners, prison officers, residential workers, lawyers, police, and anyone working with children and young people.
This is a one-day interactive and experiential workshop. Workshops are kept small and participants will walk away with strategies they can apply immediately to their work and feel empowered to support those they work with.
This workshop explores what play is and why it is important for children, young people, and adults. You will learn how play can disarm fear and prime a child’s learning capacity. Participants will be introduced to the elements of play and experientially explore these elements through play-based activity. Participants will walk away with play ideas and knowledge of the therapeutic powers of play and the social and cognitive domain categories of play and play types and spheres.
This workshop is suited to parents, carers, educators, practitioners, and anyone wanting to understand why we need play, and how to support children with play.
In this 90minute workshop be prepared to play fun interactive games and activities which engage children and young people. You will learn games and activities which require little to no equipment and can be implemented anywhere. A useful toolkit of ideas to have as you work with children in care, at schools or other settings.
This workshop is suited to parents, carers, educators, practitioners and anyone wanting to build a toolkit for engaging children and young people in their home or through their work relationship with the child, young person, or family.
Children who transition between two households can experience an array of emotions and difficulties as they attempt to manage two different parenting styles, expectations and environments. In this workshop we will work through common feelings and behaviours children exhibit, the meanings behind these behaviours, how to effectively support your child’s emotions, and how to build a toolkit of ideas to support your child to manage the transition more effectively.
This workshop is applicable to any parent in a co-parenting arrangement, and practitioners who work with families where two households are part of their regular life.
Assessments provide a better understanding of a client’s current need and capacity. At Attach we are mindful that assessments and tools are there to help inform us of the best possible support required to meet the current need of the client.
Attach conduct assessments for parent capacity and carer suitability testing for foster care organisations, community service organisations, and family law courts. If there are concerns regarding a parent or carer’s capacity, Attach look at both risks and resilience’s, providing objective, comprehensive reports to help organisations provide targeted, timely and meaningful support. Attach are leading the way in the region as one of a very few accredited interviewers for the Attachment Style Interview (ASI) and the Parent Role Interview (PRI) in Victoria.
Attach support you to support carers and families.
The ASI is an assessment tool used in the community services sector to look at characteristics of parents/carers, to help assess their risks and resilience’s and identify how best to support parents and carers if needed. It can used with birth parents and foster/kinship carers (current or prospective) to provide a more standardised tool for assessment in service settings. The ASI looks at the quality of partner and close other support relationships and identifies barriers to inform recommendations for targeted and appropriate supports for the parent/carer.
The ASI is both influential in research and practice in providing explanations of individuals’ capacities to achieve good support, close partner and other relationships and effective parenting of their own and others’ children.
At Attach we include various applicable tools and assessments with the ASI to provide clear, comprehensive report with pertinent recommendations. To ensure consistency, all ASI’s are quality controlled with another fully trained colleague.
The PRI is an established standardized interview tool which assesses parents and carers perceptions of their parenting strengths and weaknesses. The PRI encourages parents and carers to talk openly about their role; their view of their children’s difficulties; their day-to-day basic interactions with their children and their ability to provide good care and control.
The PRI is an objective evidence-based assessment tool that has gone through careful checks and has been shown to be consistent and reliable in its use. The PRI is an established assessment tool and fits well alongside the Attachment Style Interview (ASI).
The PRI can be used equally well with mothers, fathers, foster carers and kinship carers and assessments of both parents/carers can provide a more systemic account of parenting in a two-parent/carer household. It can also be used in adoption or fostering services after placement to look at quality of parenting to provide further support and evidence of progress. To ensure consistency, all PRI’s are quality controlled with another fully trained colleague.
The PPE-DC is a criterion referenced assessment with standardised administration and scoring. It is an observational assessment that takes between 20 and 40 minutes to administer. It is suitable for children aged 12 months to 5 years. Children can be assessed in a group or one-on-one assessment setting. The PPE-DC is unique in the combination of abilities that are assessed. This provides insight into areas of a child’s development that are often not considered and which impact on a child’s language, narrative, social competence, problem solving, and sense of autobiographical narrative.
Other tools Attach employ include:
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
Current Couple Functioning & Enjoyment Questionnaire
Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (PSOC)
Parental Stress Scale (PSS)
SCORE-15 Index of Family Functioning and Change
The Trauma Expression and Connection Assessment (TECA).