Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies – Active Education Event, 6 – 7th May

We are pleased to share this event hosted by The Mulberry Bush, tctc and University of Essex. An Active Education Event is a new approach to training tailored to the needs of front-line practitioners working in residential childcare and foster care, mental health, education, HMPs, social care, therapeutic communities and the British Army.

For more information and to book visit

Online event from ACAMH

We’re pleased to share this online event for January. Dan Johnson presented at our Conference in November and this session will discover how we implement changes, including Trauma Informed care.

Making change really happen: inspiration, ideas and information on how to make change in the services and systems we work in

26th January 2022

9.30am – 3.15pm

For more information and to reserve a place click here

Annual round-up – Overview of our 2021 events and speakers

We were grateful to host our third annual conference as a live event in November. We have managed to continue with a programme of Best Practice Forums which we know are important for all our members as well as others. Members can access the PowerPoint presentations in the Resource area of the website.


March 2021
Harnessing Understanding of Attachment and Trauma for Individuals, Groups and Organisations

Orit Badouk Epstein
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
‘The role fear plays in the severely traumatised client’

Richard Cross
Adult & Child Psychotherapist
Creating resiliency for professionals when working with traumatized children’

April 2021
Preventing the Permanent Exclusion of Vulnerable Children

This was a one day virtual online conference with four speakers and time for discussion in fallout groups and it served as a launch for the IRCT Campaign, led by Patrick Finegan (Virtual School Head and IRCT Trustee), to make permanent exclusion from school illegal. 

Patrick Finegan
Head of Looked After & Vulnerable Children National Springboard Foundation
‘Why Permanently Exclude Children from Schools?’ Patrick put forward the case for permanent exclusions to be no longer tolerated as they are unnecessarily cruel and have been proven to the life chances of vulnerable children. He proposed alternative strategies that would be more constructive and inclusive.

Andrew Wright
Virtual School Head & Chair Attachment Research Community
Looked After Children Andrew discussed the problems facing schools as vulnerable children returned to school following lockdown. He advocated for more understanding of attachment & trauma as set out by ARC.

Janet Rose
Principal Norland College
Supporting Vulnerable Children through Emotional Coaching
Janet outlined how emotion coaching might support vulnerable and traumatized children, particularly in relation to the impact of COVID on their lives

Kate Cairns
Training Director Cairns Associates
Responding to Trauma Driven Behaviour: Social Exclusion or Community Resilience?
Trauma driven behaviour is socially challenging and currently often leads to social exclusion. Kate suggested that such exclusion is damaging not only for the traumatized individual but also for the community doing the excluding. She argued that human communities are only genuinely resilient when they operate from a base of compassionate reason, absorbing and transforming the disruption of trauma so that individuals can recover and the whole community can thrive.

The conference was a big success but sadly Patrick had to stand down from the IRCT Board shortly after the launch of the campaign due to a change in his personal circumstances. We are delighted that we have now been able to Co-opt Gareth Williams-James (ex-Virtual School Head) onto the Board to pick up the mantle and re-invigorate the campaign. 

If you are willing to help with this campaign, please get in touch

July 2021
Perspectives on Recovery

Sylvia Duncan
Clinical Child & Family Psychologist & Chair IRCT
A Roadmap to Recovery: A Developmental Perspective
Sylvia presented a model to explain the importance of taking a developmental perspective on the impact of trauma highlighting the therapeutic needs at each stage of development to provide a roadmap for recovery.

Yvon Guest
Beyond Just Surviving
Yvon shared findings from her research to show how recovery from significant trauma is a dynamic process between the individual and the external world, initially about survival and then moving beyond. 

Roland Woodward
Recovery Environments: The Place. The People. The Rationale.
Roland argued that for recovery to be able to take place there are some basic conditions that need to be in place. Some of these are physical but most are psychological and interpersonal. Roland outlined models and the essential components needed.
This webinar was linked to our Annual Conference on Trauma Informed Practice held later in the year 

November 2021
Trauma Informed Practice: Environments to Promote Recovery 
Dan Johnson
Forensic Psychologist & Clinical Director at Kibble Education & Care Centre Glasgow
The Implementation of Trauma Informed Care in Residential & Secure Care: Can Change Really Happen and What Makes it More Likely?

Julie Harmieson
Co-Director Trauma Informed Schools UK
School as a Place of Healing and a Pathway to Public Health

Jennifer Browner
Consultant Child Psychotherapist / Head of Therapies & Networks Team The Mulberry Bush
Trauma: Recovery or Living Alongside it?

Richard Cross
Child & Adult Psychotherapist / Head of Assessment & Therapy Services Five Rivers Child Care
Active Ingredients for the Recovery from Adversity for Children & Young People in Foster Care

Children’s Social Care Review

Most of you will all be aware of the ongoing Independent Review of Children’s Social Care currently taking place under the chairmanship of Josh MacAlister. ( In the March Newsletter I reported that IRCT had joined with others from the Children’s Alliance Group through a letter to the Minister for Education regarding the way in which the review had been set up and the limited timescale being allowed to undertake what is supposed to be “the opportunity of a generation” to make significant changes to the system and improve social care for the most vulnerable children and young people in our society. Despite our reservations about the structure, remit, independence and timescale of the review, IRCT decided to make representations to the Review Panel in as constructive a manner as possible.     

The IRCT believes it can use its knowledge base and broad experience to make a valuable contribution to the government review of children’s social care and welcomes the opportunity to put forward constructive proposals for improving the current system. 

We know that children who come into the care system have generally had a poor start in life and are amongst the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. Most will have suffered multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). The research base for the longterm effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences is striking and strong. The published research evidence, notably Felitti et al (1998) in the USA and Bellis et al (2014) in the UK, reminds us of the range of experiences which can have an adverse effect on the health and wellbeing of our children, young people, families and adults for a lifetime. Single experiences can have an adverse impact on the child’s health and wellbeing but multiple experiences can have a cumulative damaging impact which can compromise the child’s prospects of happiness and success for the entirety of their life unless something is done to address this prospect. We know that children in the care system often have poor educational outcomes, difficulties in making solid trusting relationships with others and disproportionate involvement with the criminal justice system. 

Although some children overcome early disadvantages and go on to live successful and happy lives many do not and IRCT believes that one important reason looked after children have poorer outcomes is that they have unaddressed trauma. IRCT believes that the proper recognition of the role of trauma in the lives of children in care is essential to provide better outcomes for them. We have argued that a formal objective of the care system should be to assist children to recover from the trauma they have experienced historically and which will have been compounded further by their removal from their familiar home into the care system.

Children and young people can recover from trauma through relationships with trusted adults who are trained, supported and willing and able to hold the child in mind. All services should be “trauma informed”. It is the view of the IRCT that a central aim of the care system should be to organize services in such a way so as to ensure that all children have the best chance to recover from trauma. Furthermore we argue that this aim should be set out in primary legislation in line with Article 39 of the United Nations Rights of the Child.

You can read both the submissions we have made to the Review Panel by clicking on the dated links below:

April 2021 – Evidence for the Independent Review of Childrens Social Care

August 2021 – Response to the Case for Change

We have had one discussion with members of the Review Panel to further expand on our ideas and to make suggestions for change and have joined in some of the online discussions that have been taking place. There is still considerable disquiet from many about the review and you can read about these concerns  by going to the following link Home – Care Review Watch Alliance


Do please take the time to look at our submissions and the concerns about the process being shared by the Care Review Watch Alliance. If you have not made a submission on behalf of your organisation then do try to get involved.

Early Bird Conference Tickets still available – Book by Friday 8th

Together with The Mulberry Bush and International Centre for Therapeutic Care (ICTC), IRCT are presenting their annual conference this November. 

To view the full day itinerary click here

Environments to Promote Recovery

Friday 12 November 2021

9.30am – 4.30pm

Oxford Quaker Meeting House

ÂŁ10 discount for Early Bird bookings finishes this Friday.