Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is a treatment approach to trauma, loss, and/or other dysregulating experiences, that is based principles derived from attachment theory and research and also incorporates aspects of treatment principles that address trauma.
Its origins lie in the work of Dr. Daniel Hughes and it is a psychological treatment for vulnerable children with trauma and attachment difficulties and their families. The therapy is based on theories of attachment, intersubjectivity and trauma. DDP has a central focus on treatment alliance, empathy, relationship review and repair as the core components of the therapeutic relationship. It was developed as a specialised treatment that takes place in a family setting for children and families who do not respond favourably to other treatments and has recently expanded to become a general model of family treatment. DDP involves the development of affect identification, regulation and expression, reflective functioning and achieving safety in the context of an attachment relationship. Intervention with caregivers also includes psycho-education, specialise interventions for children with trauma and attachment problems and focusing on caregivers own attachment histories.

What happens in a DDP session?

The primary therapeutic attitude demonstrated throughout the sessions is one of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy – PACE. The therapist works closely with the care giver initially and explains the underlying philosophy and structure of the sessions. Subsequently the therapist introduces the child to the sessions and aids in strengthening the relationship between the child and the caregiver using the PACE model.

DDP also works well alongside Theraplay as an effective intervention, especially with the younger child.