Therapeutic Parenting Training with Adoption Academy

Adoption Academy was launched in 2014 by Gill Tree an adopter, foster carer, stress management and trauma expert. 
Adoption Academy specialises in helping adopters, special guardians and foster carers overcome the stress of having a challenging child and teaches them to help their children counteract the negative impact of trauma through movement and touch. 
We follow the philosophy of Bessel Van De Kolk that trauma is a somatic experience and all our work is informed by the principles of DDP (Dan Hughes) and nurturing attachments (Kim Golding). 

The Adoption Support Fund will provide funding for courses on therapeutic parenting that are more than 1 day long. In total we provide 3 days of therapeutic parenting training which can be booked as a block of 2 or 3 days. Day 1 can be combined with day 2 and/or day 3.

Medway was the first council to have their application approved by the ASF for our 3 day Therapeutic Parenting Course.

Day 1 

Building Resilience to Adoption Stress with Therapeutic Parenting

Being a parent of a child who has suffered trauma brings a whole extra layer of stress.  When faced with the challenging behaviours of a traumatised child adopters can become amongst other things, irritable, anxious, hopeless and overwhelmed. The intensity of the stress can make them feel inadequate, manipulated, exhausted and depressed.

Often the target of rage, lying, stealing, violence, verbal abuse  or withdrawal, adopters will be taught strategies to bring more harmony into their home whilst becoming more therapeutic as as parent. 

Course Content

  • What is resilience?
  • Understanding the stress response in you and your children
  • Stimulating the Vagus Nerve
  • Managing your reactions, regulating self and children
  • Gaining new perspective
  • Gaining an insight into what lies behind a childs’ behaviour
  • T Kahlers’ Driver behaviour
  • Introduction to attachment theory
  • Developing a greater rapport and connection with your child 
  • Self-care and leisure
  • Your needs and bad habits
  • Embedding the changes with positive triggers

"Gill explores complex issues relating to children’s early life trauma in a way that is very easy to listen to. She uses straightforward and fairly jargon-free language and applies a lot of her own lived experiences to illustrate the points she is making.

On a practical note, Gill was extremely helpful at the outset, very supportive and very accommodating”. Valerie Forrest Senior Practitioner Adoption and Special Guardianship Support Camden

Day 2

Building Resilience Part 2- A deeper Dive

  • Tracking and reducing the triggers for you and your child
  • Reducing the stress in your family
  • Therapeutic Parenting
  • Locus of control in you and your child
  • Helping a child belong
  • Dealing with Worry and Negative Thinking 
  • Boundaries
  • Replenishment, Relaxation Techniques, Breathing and mindfulness

Day 3

Tackling the Trauma with Movement and Touch

Many children are under or over responsive/reactive to sensory input (sounds, smells, tastes, other people). They can struggle with reading and writing, concentration and behaving at school and may have issues with physical activities such as riding a bike, swimming or climbing. 

Such behaviour and developmental delay has been attributed to trauma and lack of stimulation as well as living in hostile environments before and after birth. However there is another cause to add to the mix, and one that can be easily rectified.

We are all born with primitive reflexes that are usually integrated within the first year or so of life as they no longer serve us. Think of infant reflexes such as sucking and rooting and the plantar grasp where the toes curl when the foot is stroked. Two reflexes prevalent in our children are the moro (startle) and fear paralysis reflex which if not integrated are believed to contribute to learning challenges, behavioural challenges, anxiety, emotional imbalances and overwhelm.

Course content

  •     The mind body connection
  •     The senses and being under or over sensitive to sensory input
  •     Primitive reflexes and their impact on behaviour and learning
  •     How issues your children have can be addressed from a sensory and reflex perspective
  •     The rhythmic movements of infancy
  •     Exercises and activities to help your child(ren)
  •     Touch and its importance to emotional and physical wellbeing (with safer caring in mind) 
  •     How to be with a touch defensive child
  •     Story massage and the power of metaphor

“Fascinating and stimulating. I was left convinced that this therapy has great potential. Thank you for a great day” Bob Yule, Senior Social Worker, Adoption and Special Guardianship, Medway Council

"As a parent I now understand why I am faced with specific behaviours and have some strategies to help support my daughter to address active reflexes. It has been amazing already- my daughter has totally embraced all the activities and really enjoys the massage every evening. I am so pleased I attended the course.Best course I have done (apart from your last one!)" Chris S Adopter

Prices start from £550 per day for up to 16 participants, plus travel expenses. Call Gill 0203 553 1060 for more information



Challenging Child coach Gill Tree

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"‘Very insightful. Allowed me to see that some of my children’s behaviour is them seeking sensory stuff. Lots of very practical things to do to help my children develop. That there is something that will help no matter what age. Thank you very much for sharing some of your person examples – it was very helpful.’"

- Rebecca Fernandez -

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Member of the International Stress Management Association

Member of the International Stress Management Association 

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GM Tree Training Ltd
5 Clumber Drive
Somerset BA11 2LG
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0)7392 745790

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