ACE Centre - our research

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) Picture - for DDP

We are conducting research on DDP, which is a therapeutic approach that uses what we know about attachment and trauma to help children in permanent placements (usually in adoptive families) to recover from the effects of maltreatment. Children who have suffered abuse and/or neglect can struggle with relationships, forming insecure attachments and mistrusting their adoptive parents in a way that creates a barrier to development (see for more information).

Previous US pilot work suggests that DDP is effective in improving outcomes; however, rigorous evidence from a randomised controlled trial (RCT) is lacking and we have been exploring the possibility of conducting an RCT of DDP in the UK context. We recently published two papers that report on our feasibility work, showing that there is readiness, enough throughput of families and widespread support for an RCT exploring the effectiveness, and cost effectiveness, of DDP in the UK. This data unearthed interesting findings in relation to how therapists use DDP in different contexts, how its effects are measured in practice and what ‘treatment as usual’ looks like in these contexts when considering the treatments that DDP might be compared against in a trial.

Given that an RCT of DDP seems feasible and timely, we are actively pursuing grant funding and are currently making plans to update our data in terms of any changes to DDP practice throughout the UK since our last round of data collection. This is very much ‘work in progress’ and we look forward to updating you on developments – watch this space...