Why Attachment Matters - For All
Happy New Year!!

Greetings from the editorial team in SAIA! 
We send our very best wishes for the year ahead! 

You will have seen from our most recent communication that we have a new bulletin format, and we hope you found it both enjoyable and useful.  The team preparing the bulletins are Barbara Godden, SAIA Development Team; Elizabeth King, Principal Psychologist, South Lanarkshire Council;  and Corinne Watt, CairnsMoir Connections. We are delighted to have Corinne on board, and much appreciate her creative skills and technical expertise in the layout of the bulletin. 

It is your ideas which will help our bulletin to be as informative and inspiring as possible and we look forward to hearing from you with any ideas for the future content.

SAIA Network Seminar

Our next 'Why Attachment Matters for all' seminar will be held on 

Friday March 18, 2016 from 1pm – 4pm 
at the
Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club
English St, Dumfries,  DG1 2DF.

We are delighted to welcome our Patron Professor Helen Minnis to speak to us about 'Why Attachment Matters' when thinking about "Maltreatment Associated Psychiatric Problems" Helen Minnis has been interested in attachment and the mental health problems associated with abuse and neglect since working as an orphanage doctor in Guatemala in the early 1990s.  Since taking up post as an academic child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Glasgow in 2003, her research has focussed on Attachment Disorders, including developing and testing treatments and preventative interventions.

​Cost for the event is £25 for SAIA Members and £30 for a Non-SAIA Member. 
Book Now (SAIA member)
Book Now (non member)

from Edwina Grant, Chair of the SAIA Trustees...
we are delighted to announce that SAIA will be hosting an International DDP* Conference on the 10th and 11th of October 2016, in Glasgow. F
urther details will be in your next bulletin.

[*DDP Network is a worldwide body that promotes Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy; and supports professionals, parents and caregivers in finding out about the therapy and the parenting approach developed by Daniel Hughes PhD.]
January 2016

A big thank you to OASIS (Overseas Adoption Support and Information Service) for their invitation to a workshop with Daniel Hughes PhD in Glasgow on Saturday January 30th 2016. They have very kindly offered all SAIA members a special rate of just £50 for the full day's training.

Dan will be speaking on
'Attachment Disorganisation in Children and Teens'.
Places are extremely limited - so we encourage you to CLICK HERE to book asap.

Our January 2016 Resource of the Month.
Featuring practical ideas and a colouring-in design, to help look at angry feelings and the concept of excess adrenaline with your child. This poster has been developed by ADAPT Scotland.

This resource has been provided for you through the fundraising of SAIA, 
in order to further understanding of the impact of caring for children impacted by trauma.
St Andrew's Children's Society, in partnership with the TheraplayⓇ Institute, is pleased to announce training workshops in TheraplayⓇ   and the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM), to be held in Edinburgh in March 2016.
Introductory Level 1 TheraplayⓇ / MIM Training 
7th - 10th March 2016
Group TheraplayⓇ 
11th March 2016
CLICK HERE for further details and a booking form
‘The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog’ by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz

Bruce Perry, founder of the Child Trauma Academy based in Houston, Texas has co-written ’The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog’ with Maia Szalavitz. He describes it as ‘What Traumatised Children can Teach Us about Loss, Love and Healing’.

He expresses his life-long interest in human development and strives to share the stories of some of the young people he has worked with.  He and Szalavitz assert that stress and psychological trauma have a lasting and permanent impact on the chemistry and architecture of the brain.

From the outset of the book, he outlines the conditions necessary for the development for empathy or indeed cruelty and indifference. The link between trauma and symptoms like depression and what he refers to as ‘attention problems’ are made explicit in a way that is intended to be helpful for anyone living with or working with young people. His aim appears for the reader to understand better the impact of threat or violence on the developing brain in order that a more nurturing approach can be utilised where appropriate.

Perry’s descriptions of his early days as a psychiatrist allow some insight into his way of thinking. He talks about the professionals who influenced his practice. Very quickly, he lets the reader know of some of the cases he worked on.  It is often an uncomfortable, yet compelling read as each chapter describes,  with a lot of detail, young people with whom he has worked. He takes the time to go into the background stories with reference to their early days and care afforded to them. 

In these depictions, he demonstrates his thought processes, how his thinking helped him to attain a level of rapport with his patients and how he used his increasing knowledge to analyse his patients and their development.  His questioning nature led him to be sceptical of, and challenge some of the protocols of the day in favour of what he thought was the ‘right thing’ to do in each, individual case. Be aware, reader, that he describes cases where some of his patients have endured horrific conditions.

There is a great deal of theoretical information in this book, which I found useful and informative and I can highlight only some of my understanding here.  As well as outlining his understanding of brain structure and what he refers to as the architecture of the brain, Perry goes into detail about neuropharmacology, how the developing brain organises itself and how regulatory functions develop. In particular, he talks about how stress responses are formed. 

In telling the stories of each of his cases, Perry weaves his theoretical knowledge in a way that helps the reader’s understanding. The process of how neurological pathways are created and the importance of the caregivers ‘attunement’ are elaborated on. He describes attachment as, â€œA memory template for human to human bonds”.

He describes the methods he used to get to know his patients. ‘Colouring’ seemed to be a favoured pastime to begin with. He ascertains that work can only take place once a young person has reached a position of relative safety.  In order to begin any therapeutic work, Perry recommends that the reduction of chaos is essential and that the child’s environment should become calmer and more predictable. Only once a regular routine is established, he maintains, can any benefit be gleaned.

One of Perry’s recommendations for helping traumatised or fearful young people is the use of experiences which are based on patterns, repetition and, where possible, activities which are  rhythmical. This, he asserts will help that person with physical and mental regulation. 

One of the key messages for me is about how we function as relational beings. Perry asserts that our physical responses and ability to survive depend on our associations with others. He says that,
“As children, we come to associate the presence of people we know with safety and comfort; in safe and familiar settings, our heart rates and blood pressure are lower, our stress response systems are quiet.”
There are many intended messages in this book. Perry makes the point that we all need to be aware of our own state of mind when dealing with others. He suggests that if we present as angry or stressed, that we might induce those feelings in people around us. They might then ‘mirror’ those responses. He says, “To calm a frightened child, you must first calm yourself”.

No matter what the reader might think about Perry’s methodologies (as a teacher, the description of the use of clonidine in his clinic was not given much explanation and was a bit of a ‘whoa there’ moment for me as I don’t understand a great deal about the use of medication), the insights he has shared about attachment, relationships and brain development have helped me in my work with young people and in life in general. This book has encouraged me to see things from a different perspective and to reflect on my practice. As Perry puts it, “People, not programmes, help people”.

This quote from the book sums up well how we have the potential to impact on others...
“Fire can warm or consume, water can quench or drown, wind can caress or cut. And so it is with human relationships; we can both create and destroy, nurture and terrorise, traumatise and heal each other.”
Throughout my adult life, I have recognised that there is a link between stress, trauma and fear and how people conduct themselves. Messages conveyed (often hidden) by people’s actions have been of enormous personal and professional interest. Theories put forward in this book have provided confirmation of this belief and increased my understanding, for which I am grateful.
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