The therapeutic training at Ferndearle is provided by our Co-ordinator of Therapeutic Services, Michelle Newman Brown. Michelle has worked in a multitude of roles and relationships with Looked After Children/Children in the Care System for over 27 years and as a result has created some highly original and bespoke training workshops for professionals and carers. Michelle interweaves her psychodynamic and systemic training for the highest benefit for, with and about the child.

At Ferndearle, we are in a privileged position in that ALL training days include the application of the theory to our current work with young people in our care. We are a highly needs-led organisation meaning that we are able to layer the theoretical ideas over time whenever seems relevant and appropriate to the children in our care.  The result of this is that on occasions staff have the opportunity to positively explore and assess the progress of attachment styles of children as well as formulating brand new training to fit current and topical situations.

Also, as Michelle leads the monthly Child Focus Discussions we are able to continue the training ideas on a consistent and highly therapeutic basis; the language from the training becomes part of the terminology and thinking of many of our members of staff. These workshops are invariably 5 hours in length.


In no particular order:

  • Secure base model.
  • Attachment theory.
  • Recognising a Child in Crisis.
  • The impact of abuse on emotional and cognitive Child Development.
  • Introducing Systemic and Psychodynamic ideas to understand the complex relationship patterns which develop with you and the children in your care.
  • Once upon a time - ‘Narrative Thinking’ through Fairy-tales.
  • What does therapeutic child care mean?
  • What is Nurture?
  • Being held in mind, boundaries, consistency and routine. Family shapes (Minuchin), Life cycle stages and Managing Transitions.
  • How the past influences the present; Looking at Family Scripts.
  • The effects of positive connotation and reframing.
  • Recognising the effects of past trauma in present emotions and behaviour.
  • Systemic Creativity – Playing with toys, words and art.
  • The Role of the Physical Environment for Children in Therapeutic or Residential Care.
  • Symbolic Communication and the importance of play.
  • Reflective practice; attending to individual child needs, environment and being mindful of differences and diversity.
  • Working with genograms and self-reflexivity. Thinking about patterns of relationship and using transitional objects to help.
  • Three levels of reason for change– an attachment approach.
  • The complexities of working with sibling groups.
  • Domestic Abuse - Impact on Children.
  • Looking at family scripts and the impact of sibling groups on a family.