Featured: IRO briefing – creative communication and trauma informed practice | Katie Wrench & Sharon Martin

“Where individuals have experienced repeated stressors, complex relational trauma or have lived in environments characterised by danger, chaos and unpredictability, it is not uncommon for their belief systems to become very rigid. Children and their families might have a set of assumptions relating to relationships that could include:

I cannot trust anyone, especially adults or people in authority.
I am not safe.
No one can help me.
I am powerless.
The world is a dangerous place.
I am not a good person. I don’t deserve care.
Where people have lived for prolonged periods of time surrounded by danger, their brains and bodies can become over-sensitive to perceived threats in their environment; even though objectively they might recognise that the danger is not real. When explaining this to children I use the analogy of a smoke alarm that is set off when you’re just frying bacon; it’s a false alarm, there is no real ‘emergency’.”

Using creative communication in a trauma informed response to care planning and review.

Authors: Katie Wrench and Sharon Martin
This briefing provides an introduction to the language and theory of trauma-informed practice combined with practical knowledge and skills development for IROs direct work – to support thinking and working with parents, children and young people.


With a positive drive across the country to bring a contemporary approach to the traditional reviewing process for children and young people in care it is timely to consider how best we hold the child at the centre of the care planning and reviewing process. This also inevitably means thinking about how we best help the adults who care for and about the child to communicate their views, their worries, their hopes and fears. It means a flexible approach which celebrates the child’s life and achievements, and the strengths of their relationships but which…

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