Supporting Complex Trauma and Mental Health in Achieving Permanency

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.


When working in the field of out-of-home care (OOHC) the links between complex trauma and child mental health quickly become apparent. However practitioners often struggle to make sense of complex trauma needs within mental health presentations. As a result fostered children struggle to access appropriate supports and therapeutic outcomes for this population are generally poor or limited in scope.

This workshop seeks to help OOHC practitioners understand the varied interconnections between complex trauma and child mental health. We start by looking at childhood trauma from a mental health perspective and review ways child abuse and neglect are incorporated in mental health thinking. We then explore recurring themes in mental health systems which hinder access to therapeutic support – underestimating, pathologising and disengaging – and discuss ways of addressing these issues in OOHC practice.

The second part of the training begins with a reflection on ways in which our own views of child trauma and mental health shape our practice. We will then look at ways in which therapeutic practice in OOHC can incorporate both complex trauma and child mental health principles. This includes therapeutic processes which are sensitive to the impact of developmental trauma, limited access to normative experiences and the traumatising nature of OOHC systems. Our training will conclude with a review of structured assessment and intervention tools that bring together mental health and complex trauma perspectives.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Able to adapt practice to incorporate complex trauma and child mental health principles into therapeutic practice
  • Understanding ways in which our own perceptions of ‘trauma’ shape therapeutic goal setting and actions
  • Understanding developmental trauma through a clinical lens
  • Familiar with barriers to fostered children accessing mental health services
  • Familiar with recurring practice issues of minimisation, categorisation and therapeutic cut-off
  • Able to apply an integrated therapeutic model which incorporates complex trauma principles and clinical mental health practice

Who should attend?

Foster agency clinicians/counsellors, psychologists, counsellors