Children are not blank slates for which the past can be rubbed out, but human beings who carry their previous experiences with them and whose behaviour in the present has been profoundly affected by what has gone before.

John Bowlby, 1951

The children and young people within our care have had difficult and traumatic events take place in their lives. Their numerous experiences of loss and relationship breakdowns often result in them finding it difficult to trust that adults will reliably and consistently be available to care for them and meet their needs. At Horizon we provide a safe and nurturing environment where young people can begin to flourish and develop trusting and supportive relationships. Our therapeutic model is central to this.

Children and young people in our care often have complex and difficult behaviours and, thus, require an approach that can sensitively respond to and address their adverse and traumatic experiences of caregiving. Young people in the looked after system often struggle to engage in one-to-one therapy. Research suggests that therapeutic care is more beneficial and effectively delivered through the existing parental relationships young people have with carers. We recognise that therapeutic care is most effectively delivered through a connected relationship with our care staff and this can provide the most fundamental vehicle for change.

Our Therapeutic Model

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Emotional Development

Our staff help the young people to develop emotionally through the development of a securely attached relationship.
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Social Development

We work with our young people to help them to learn how to develop safe relationships, understand the behaviours and intentions of others, and to feel safe and secure in the relationships they form.
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Resilience Skills Building

We help our children to develop resilience skills, and to recognise their strengths. We support them to build their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self-worth by enabling them to learn everyday living skills, to learn to have fun and to trust in the adults around them.
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Safety & Security

We aim to build a home for the young person that can help them to feel safe and protected. It is our hope that our homes will provide our young people with a secure base from which they feel more able to explore the world, knowing that staff will continue to be there to support them. A place where they feel accepted and a sense of belonging, and where they begin to develop a sense of identity.
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Therapeutically Trained Staff

Our residential and education staff are trained in attachment informed approaches, based on the models of Dr Daniel Hughes and Dr Kim Golding. In doing this, we aim to support our staff teams to deliver therapeutically informed care.
Our STAR (Safety focused, Trauma aware, Attachment informed, Resilience focused) therapeutic training package helps staff to develop the specialist skills to support our young peoples’ social, emotional, and behavioural needs. The skills acquired during training are regularly reinforced and built upon through monthly consultation sessions and in supervision with staff.

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Belonging and identity

If we can help our young people feel safe and secure in their relationships with our staff, we can hope to provide them with the sense of belonging and acceptance within the home and/or school that they may not have experienced before.
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Parenting with PACE

Through training and consultation, our staff are encouraged in their use of PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy) parenting. It is our aim that by supporting staff to connect with the young people in this way, we can provide them with a different experience of care, and a greater sense of connection.
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Preparing for Transitions

At Horizon, we want to ensure that we are supporting our young people to develop the skills they will need in the future. This may be skills to be able to live independently, to seek employment or go on to further education. We therefore work with the young people to identify their future goals and think with them about what they will need to get there. This work may also include liaison with wider agencies, working alongside them, and making links prior to a young person transitioning out of our service.
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Safety Focused Trauma Aware Attachment Informed Resilience Focused

Therapeutic Parenting

Our care staff are trained in parenting (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy) approach of Dr Dan Hughes and Dr Kim S Golding. This training enables our staff teams to deliver therapeutically informed care.

Our STAR (Safety focused, Trauma aware, Attachment informed, Resilience focused) therapeutic training package helps staff to develop the specialist skills to support our young peoples’ social, emotional, and behavioural needs. The skills learned during the training are regularly reinforced and built upon through monthly psychological consultations and through clinical supervision with staff.

Through training and consultation, our staff are encouraged in their use of PACE parenting. By supporting staff to engage with the young people in this way, we can provide them with a different experience of care and a greater sense of connection.

We provide a home for the young person that helps them to feel safe, forming a secure base from which they can gradually experience greater independence in the knowledge that staff will continue to be there to support and guide them.

Young people with attachment issues often struggle to manage social relationships with their peers, teachers and carers. This can sometimes result in them placing themselves at risk. Therapeutic carers recognise these difficulties and encourage social development in our young people. We support the child to understand how to develop relationships with our staff and the wider social world. We help them to learn how to develop safe relationships, understand the behaviours and intentions of others, and to feel safe and secure in the relationships they form.

Our staff are supported to remain attuned and sensitive to the needs of our children. These relationships are essential in helping our young people to develop emotionally, with a better understanding of their internal worlds, and provide the foundation from which they can start to recognise, make sense of and regulate their emotions. During their time with us we help our children to develop resilience skills and to recognise their strengths. We support them to build their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self-worth by enabling them to learn everyday living skills, to learn to have fun and to trust in the adults around them.

At Horizon, we want to ensure that our young people develop the skills they will need in the future, in order to be able to live independently, to seek employment or go on to further education. Our care staff work with them to identify their future goals and to think about what they will need to get there. This may include liaising with wider agencies, working alongside them, and making links prior to a young person transitioning out of our service.

We have a dedicated therapeutic team who are there to support our staff and young people. Our team of HCPC registered Clinical and Assistant Psychologists support each of our homes and schools across the organisation.

The Horizon Journey

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Regular Psychological Consultation

The Clinical Psychologist for each home provides consultation to the team on a regular basis, spending time in the home each month with additional visits where useful. The aim of this consultation is to review the psychological formulation and therapeutic support plans, to reflect with the team on any challenges they may be facing in looking after the child and thinking about ways forward.
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Shared Understanding of Young People

During their time with us, we hope to help our young people recognise their talents and strengths. We aim to connect and work with our young people in such a way that helps them to develop their self-esteem and confidence, and sense of self-worth. We ensure that staff teams share an understanding of the strengths and talents of all young people in our service and that they are able to develop and flourish whilst in our care.
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Psychological Assessment

Every young person who enters our service is assessed by a qualified, HCPC registered, Clinical Psychologist. This assessment helps to inform our understanding about the young person’s attachment history, life experiences, presenting emotional, psychological, and cognitive difficulties, and their strengths and resources. It is this assessment process that enables our staff to both understand their needs and to develop a therapeutically informed approach to address the difficulties which they might be experiencing.
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Quarterly Review

To monitor progress and measure effectiveness of our service, a review is completed of the young people in our care every three months. The review consists of updating therapeutic support plans and goal sheets, whilst also asking staff and the young people to complete psychological measures.
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Therapeutic Action Plan (TAP)

ways in which our staff can best support the young person in their care. The therapeutic support plan is a working document and is regularly reviewed and updated following consultations with the team.
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Establishing Safety/Settling In

It is our priority to create a safe environment for the young people transitioning into our organisation. Young people are understandably highly anxious and dysregulated when they arrive and it is important to allow them time to settle in. Our staff work hard to support the young people during their transition, and to create an environment which puts the young person’s emotional needs at the centre of everything we do.
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Establishing a safe environment: We recognise that the early days of a child’s placement are focused on helping them to settle in and to begin to feel safe. Our care staff focus on supporting the child to adapt to their new home and helping them to settle in. In the early weeks of a placement the staff will liaise with the clinical team to seek advice and guidance about how to best support the child’s needs and risky behaviours. We understand that this is an especially anxious time for the child. Our staff work hard to support the young people during their transition, and to create an environment which puts the young person’s emotional needs at the centre of their care.

We aim to gain a fuller understanding of the young person’s needs by gathering a full history of their previous experiences. The Clinical psychologist for the home will visit on a regular basis to meet with the child and staff team to assess the child’s needs. This is integrated into a full Psychological Assessment. This assessment helps to inform our understanding about the child’s attachment history, life experiences, presenting emotional, psychological, and cognitive difficulties, and their strengths and resources. The assessment enables our staff to both understand the child’s needs and to develop a therapeutically informed approach to address the difficulties which they might be experiencing.

Our Psychologists work together with the care staff to develop a Therapeutic Support Plan. The TSP focuses on specific areas of difficulty for the child and guides staff to support the young person to address these. The TSP is a working document which is regularly reviewed and updated following consultations with the therapeutic team.

The Clinical Psychologist for each home provides regular psychological consultation to the whole care team, spending time in the home each month, with additional visits where useful. The aim of this consultation is to support the care team in their work with the child, to reflect on any challenges they may be encountering and to help them in their use of PACE parenting. Our staff teams are supported to continue to think about how to maintain a ‘PACE-ful’ approach and to think psychologically about how best to continue to support the child. This is achieved through regular clinical supervision and consultation. We believe that therapeutic care is about providing a holistic approach which supports the child to recover from their difficult experiences and to have a new experience of fulfilled and safe relationships.

All children need relationships to thrive, traumatised children need relationships to heal

Kim Golding and Dan Hughes, 2012

Click here to view or download our Clinical Brochure