Practicing PACE

Jill recently completed the Foundations for Attachment training as part of the LIFT model and can already see the impact it has made to her parenting. Jill began her caregiving journey 12 years ago as she wanted to share a loving, stable home with those children who desperately needed one. She wants to create a safe environment for the children in her care, so they can build secure attachments throughout their stay and leave having begun their healing journey. Having attended many other trainings, Jill decided to further expand her knowledge, so she signed up for the LIFT Model.

“The training had me completely change my mind frame”, Jill said.

She recalls the number of roleplays the group carried out during the trainings. While the first roleplay offered an example of how many of us may respond in a difficult situation with the child, the second offered an example of how to respond using PACE. Much like many of us, Jill didn’t particularly enjoy roleplay however, she noted how useful this became.

One night while at the dinner table, one of the children began to have a meltdown and refused to sit at the table. It didn’t seem that anything could stop her outburst. Jill suddenly remembered what she had learnt.

“I took a deep breath and applied PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy)”, Jill said remembering the occurrence.

Jill was able to slow herself down, accept the behaviour of the girl and wonder what she was going through by using curiosity and empathy. Through her use of PACE, Jill discovered that the girl simply wanted to sit next to her at the dinner table. Asking her “why” or “what’s wrong” wouldn’t have helped as the child didn’t understand herself. Instead, Jill identified the emotions for her, helping her to learn to identify them for herself. The girl wasn’t being naughty by refusing to sit up at the table, she simply wanted to sit next to Jill.

“Within minutes the girl went from really worked up to happy and smiling”, Jill said.

While Jill is still in the early stages of practicing PACE in her day to day life, she is noticing how it is becoming more natural the more she practices.

Jill values these learnings so much that she now shares her knowledge with other caregivers and social workers. She even notes how beneficial this knowledge would be for teachers.

Caring Families Aotearoa, a division of Fostering Kids New Zealand, has been delivering the LIFT (Levels of Integrated Family Therapy) Model across the country. Part of this model is the Foundations for Attachment Training – a four-day course that is run over four weeks.

Foundations for Attachment is a Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Practice (DDP) informed programme that helps caregivers to understand how trauma effects the reactions and behaviours of the children they care for – why they do what they do. It is important to understand what is behind the behaviours, so the children are given the opportunity to heal. We know that relationships heal relationships.

This training teaches caregivers how to parent therapeutically using PACE (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, empathy) to meet the needs of the individual child and begin the process of healing the trauma.

The LIFT model is being run throughout the country. If you are interested in participating in this programme, give us a call and we can let you know what trainings are coming up and in what regions. 0800 693 323.

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