DDP is a treatment developed by Dan Hughes who has worked with adopters and their children for many years. Central within DDP is PACE ( Playful, Accepting, Curious, and Empathetic) , a way of thinking which deepens the emotional connections in our relationships with others.

DDP is a psychotherapeutic treatment method for families that have children with symptoms of emotional disorders, including complex trauma and attachment disorders. It involves creating an environment in which the worker attunes to the child’s subjective experiences. The worker then reflects this back to the child by means of eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and movements, voice tone, timing and touch, co-regulating emotional affect and co-constructing an alternative autobiographical narrative with the child. DDP also makes use of cognitive-behavioural strategies, the “dyad” referred to must eventually be the parent-child dyad and the active presence of the primary caregiver is preferred but not essential.

The sessions are part psychoeducational, part reflexive and additionally offer therapeutic parenting approaches specific to children who have experienced Type 2 psychological trauma (such as loss or developmental trauma categories of neglect). The sessions also offer parents a safe space to reflect upon the impacts of their experiences as adoptive parents. Sessions include introductions to DDP, Parenting with PACE (model), Affective Reflective Dialogue Approach sessions. Sessions also include reflecting on parents own attachment relationships and look at the result of trauma, shame and guilt upon adopted children internal working models. The recommended scope of the DDP sessions is 15 sessions, this is to be made up of parent work initially and then to engage the child or young person into the therapeutic process in the hope of developing contained and trusting relationships which may enable the family to begin to discuss questions relating to adoption in a safe therapeutic environment and build positive attachments.