The Planned Environment Therapy Trust was established in 1966 in order to facilitate, support and carry out training in planned envrionment therapy, as well as research, study and publication. In recent years it has run a series of Attachment & Therapeutic Practice Workshops, and is currently developing programmes on the history and practice of therapeutic environments, drawing on the  rich and extensive Archive and Study Centre collections.

 

It has also worked with others, developing, for example 

"A Living Learning Experience: An Introduction to Therapeutic Child Care" (2007-2008)

The Mulberry Bush Organisation and PETT have a long history of working together.  In the late 2000s they developed a two day co-managed residential workshop called "A Living Learning Experience: An Introduction to Therapeutic Child Care". Held at PETT's Barns Centre in Toddington, Gloucestershire, the September 2008 workshop was so successful, and the participants felt so at home, that they asked if the materials they produced could be held permanently in the collections of the Archive. They were, and they are (see below).

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Background

The Residential Workshops aimed to introduce the principles of therapeutic childcare practice. Through understanding disordered attachment and early childhood damage, workers would begin to make sense of distressed behaviour in children and to learn to make use of their own feeling responses as a tool for treatment and nurturing care.

Working method

The working method of the workshops reflected daily practice in therapeutic communities by using a psychodynamic and group-analytic approach for understanding behaviour. It offered a programme of practice discussions and reflective workshops as well as facilitated self-experience reflective groups. In all these sessions participants had the opportunity to make connections between their personal life experiences, their practice experience and theoretical learning.

Workshop leaders included

Deborah Best, who had been tutor on the MA in Therapeutic Child Care course at the Reading University; a teacher with long experience in SEBD education.

Teresa von Sommaruga Howard,  a group-analytic psychotherapist,  architect, and organisational consultant. She conducted the Experiential Group on the MA in Therapeutic Child Care.

John Diamond, CEO, the Mulberry Bush Organisation.

Dave Roberts, Head of Training, The Mulberry Bush School and program lead for the Foundation Degree in Therapeutic work with children and young people.

Who the workshops were for

The workshops were for those with an interest and/or experience in working with emotionally troubled children in any setting, whether residential or day-care, specialist social work (adoption, fostering, disability), mental health or education, in public or private organisations who wished to develop their capacity to work with their own feeling responses. Groups were in the region of 14, and it was agreed to accept no more than 2 bookings from any work organisation.


 

The Scenarios and creations below were created as part of the September 2008 'Living Learning Experience' workshop

 

Accession 2008.045/2-3 Two creative pieces based on a case work scenario

 

Scenario 1

You are a member of the care team working at Happy Valley children’s home where Nathan has been referred. Nathan is an 11 year old whose foster family have finally asked for him to be taken away because of his violently destructive rages which have worsened since his mother died last year. He currently has no education plan since the school excluded him for attacking a teacher. On two occasions he has run away and been missing overnight.

Task

Design (symbolise) a place that will meet the social worker’s request for an emotionally containing placement to provide a secure base for Nathan.

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Scenario 2

You are Nathan, and you have just been told by your social worker that you will soon be going to a new place: Happy Valley children’s home. You are 11 years old and your foster family have finally asked for you to be taken away because of your violently destructive rages which have worsened since your mother died last year. You currently have no education plan since the school excluded you for attacking a teacher. On two occasions you have run away and been missing overnight.

Task

Design (symbolise) the place that you hope will meet your need for an emotionally containing placement and a secure base.

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Accession 2008.045/1 . A small clay sculpture  by John Diamond, Chief Executive, The Mulberry Bush School, and part of the course team.