Published Articles

<img src="womanandmanreading.png" alt="Man and woman reading published articles online">This content is very useful for foster carers, adopters and professionals as the themes relate to parenting and living with children who experienced – maltreatment and/or neglect and/or frequent changes of carers. There are many metaphors, examples and diagrams which can be used to understand trauma and explain its impact to adults and children.

Most articles below appeared in Adoption Today, the bi-monthly magazine of Adoption UK, a charity which supports adopters before, during and after adoption

The articles are roughly grouped by content. Some have audios to download.


Screenshot 2016-10-09 15.02.18 The cost of trauma

Early intervention is cost effective and morally right. First published in April 2008, this article demonstrates the cost benefit of early intervention. Although the actual costs have changed the principles are equally valid today. A decade later the child in this case study did not have a good outcome.

Cost of Trauma PDF


Screenshot 2016-10-09 15.10.34

Measuring trauma

Trauma comes in different sizes and intensities. This article offers both a metaphor and formula for measuring trauma. Quantifying damage can help explain why children behave how they do and why early intervention, truth telling and understanding is vital.

Measuring Trauma: PDF



Screenshot 2016-10-09 15.04.43

Invisible wounds don’t stop hurting

By comparing and contrasting two different parents (including “a mother like Alex”) the challenges of parenting attachment disordered children becomes clear. Both the financial costs and emotional costs are compared.

Invisible wounds don’t stop hurting: PDF

Audio (mp3)



child abuse victims

Child abuse victims need more than just our shock and horror

Newspaper articles brings child abuse into “normal peoples” lives. Sympathy is not enough. Repair, healing, truth telling is needed to future proof children.

Child abuse victims need more than just our shock and horror: PDF

Audio: Child Abuse victims need more than (mp3)


Screenshot 2016-10-10 09.52.03

Facebook: direct contact with no safeguards (Part 1)

First of two articles published in 2010 exploring the threat of Facebook, whats happening plus the link to identity, teenage angst and loss of control when birth family enter adopters homes via the internet.

Facebook: direct contact with no safeguards; April 2010 PDF




Screenshot 2016-10-10 09.53.15

Facebook: The Shame and the Shadow (Part 2)

Adopted children need an enduring safe place to grow, create a solid sense of self and to melt the pervasive shame their early maltreatment created. The need for therapeutic reparenting and truth telling is explored.

Facebook: The shame and shadow: June 2010 PDF

Audio (mp3)



Screenshot 2016-10-10 14.37.30

The impact of toxic parenting

Based on Susan Foreward’s 6 categories of toxic parents (inadequate, controlling, alcoholic, physical, sexual & verbal abusers,) this article steps into the childs shoes and highlights the distortions it creates plus tools for healing.

Toxic parenting PDF Aug 08

Audio (mp3)



Screenshot 2016-10-10 14.36.18Toxic Shame: how trauma contaminates the ‘wonderful’ inner child 

John Bradshaws model explains how the “wonder” child can be contaminated by trauma and toxic parenting. The different developmental stages of children (based on Erik Erikson’s model) is explained with impact of deficiencies.

Toxic shame PDF Oct 08




Screenshot 2016-10-10 18.44.50
Edinburgh Festival for a week?

Helen reflects on the different interactions between “normal”  and “traumatised” children with their families at a festival. Trust, responsibility, therapeutic reparenting and prioritising the need of children.

Edinburgh Festival? Oct2014 PDF

Audio: Edinburgh Festival

Nothing but the truthNothing but the truth 

Neglect  as a traumatic experience. Sensory triggers, metaphorical shrapnel, trauma triggered behaviour, bubble wrap and need for coherent narrative.

Nothing but the truth June 15 PDF

Audio: Nothing but the truth (mp3)

mind your language

Mind your language

Words have a big effect. Examples of how to be clearer with your communication to assist your child achieve better outcomes and reframe events.

Mind your language Feb 15 PDF 

Audio: Mind your language (mp3)

Screenshot 2016-10-10 19.28.34


What do you and they really need for Christmas?

Christmas brings heightened expectations, so focus on childrens enduring needs not short term wants . and yes that may disappoint some adults – including your family. Plus glorious ‘gifts’ others can give you and the family.

What do you and they really need for Christmas: Dec 14: PDF

Audio: Need for Christmas mp3 – to follow


Oakwater article Jigsaw AT 

Jigsaw of truth: why, what and how

Children need to know their history, it shapes how they see themselves, hence key to their identity.  Life story ‘work’ must honour the child’s somatic (body) experiences and memory.

Jigsaw of truth: Adoption Today: December 2017 PDF



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Valuing our needs

Our needs and values affect our motivation and behaviour. Children whose early developmental needs were not met have an emptiness inside.  Often their ‘nonsensical’ behaviour is a window into their inner turmoil and deficits, if we can read the cues. Maslow and Barrets models illustrate the concepts.

Valuing our needs Adoption Now 2 autumn 08 PDF




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Increase the flow with a SUD

Being in the flow is a useful state. Reduction of anxiety by increasing skills and a method of measuring “Subjective Units of Distress” which can help children callibrate hurt, pain and trauma. (Part 1 of flow articles).

Increase the flow with a SUD Feb 07 PDF




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Are you a boiled frog

Maintaining ones identity is vital to keep self concept strong. Boredom stems from repetition of events, even being stolen from.  With sufficient skill; flow is possible. (Part 2 of flow articles).

Are you a boiled frog Apr 07 PDF

Audio (mp3) Are you a boiled frog 



Screenshot 2016-10-10 20.47.14Robust matching for permanence 

Criteria for matching a child to a new set of parents is often vague and subjective. We need robust measurement and techniques that will enable placements to last.

Robust matching for permenance feb 08 PDF

Audio: Robust matching for permanence 


Screenshot 2016-10-11 19.28.40

Why are these children any different?

Written primarily for teachers this article explains why and how children who have experienced maltreatment and neglect have a legacy of trauma which impacts their ongoing life

Why are these kids different Education Now AUK Jan 2013








What was that about AT June 07

Logical levels AT Aug 06

Is this what I expected AT Oct 06

Fresh perspectives and action replays AT Apr 06

Expectations, reality and time travel – HO Adoption Now 2006


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