Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy interventions flow from several theoretical and empirical lines. Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1980, Bowlby, 1988) provides the theoretical foundation for Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Early trauma disrupts the normally developing attachment system by creating distorted internal working models of self, others, and caregivers. This is one rationale for treatment in addition to the necessity for sensitive care-giving. As O’Connor & Zeanah (2003) have stated, “A more puzzling case is that of an adoptive/foster caregiver who is ‘adequately’ sensitive but the child exhibits attachment disorder behavior; it would seem unlikely that improving parental sensitive responsiveness (in already sensitive parent) would yield positive changes in the parent-child relationship.” Treatment is necessary to directly address the rigid and dysfunctional internalized working models that traumatized children with attachment disorders have developed.
Current thinking and research on the neurobiology of interpersonal behavior (Siegel, 1999, Siegel, 2000, Siegel, 2002, Schore, 2001) is another part of the foundation on which Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy rests.
The primary approach is to create a secure base in treatment (using techniques that fit with maintaining a healing PACE (Playful, Accepting, Curious, and Empathic) and at home using principals that provide safe structure and a healing PLACE (Playful, Loving, Acceptance, Curious, and Empathic). Developing and sustaining an attuned relationship within which contingent collaborative communication occurs helps the child heal. Coercive interventions such as rib-stimulation, holding-restraining a child in anger or to provoke an emotional response, shaming a child, using fear to elicit compliance, and interventions based on power/control and submission, etc., are never used and are inconsistent with a treatment rooted in attachment theory and current knowledge about the neurobiology of interpersonal behavior.
Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman is a leading practitioner of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)