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Attuned Therapeutic Care (ATC)
Trainer/Facilitator: Dawn Samuels
Date: 13th June 2019 to 10th October 2019 11Sessions

• What were your expectations of the training before you attended?

To be completely honest I wasn’t sure what my expectations of the training were. However, I have always been interested in the therapeutic approach towards care but never had the opportunity to attend any course and as a manager this wasn’t the type of training that I would have been offered both with Parkview and previous working environments.
I did attend a 2-day PACE course with Dawn just prior to the ATC course and I loved this, I genuinely felt as though I had learnt way more than I was expecting. I guess I had high expectations after attending PACE and was very excited about having the opportunity to participate in an 11-session course.
I discussed with Dawn at the end of my two-day course as she was concerned that maybe it would be a bit repetitive in sections due to some staff on the course completing the PACE course so close to the ATC which obviously covers PACE. I felt as though this wouldn’t be the case and that this would just help us all gain an even greater understanding around therapeutic approaches.
I hadn’t really covered attachment theory in any detail, so I was looking forward to being able to learn more and have a better understanding about the trauma and attachment issues that young people have in our care.

• What were your overall views regarding the training?
Content, training materials used, PPP’s, method and standard of training?

Well what can I say other than this is hands down the best training course I have ever done, I loved the subject and the trainer had so much knowledge and was passionate about providing the best quality care to young people and ourselves. There were many different learning styles in our group, and this was initially a struggle for Dawn as many were not as attentive as I was, and I found this to be very frustrating at times. Dawn was always well prepared and provided us with so many handouts and the sweets and fidget toys were also excellent especially for some staff whom struggled to concentrate.
We had folders and dividers handed out so that we could keep all the information given to us in the correct sections. Dawn also provided homework for staff although again not everyone completed this and we ended up doing these within the sessions as exercises. I have kept all my folder up to date and will be able to use this in the future as a refresher and a reminder of the topics we covered.
I did attend every session and looked forward to them as I knew that we were always looking at specific subjects each week based on the previous weeks learning, this kept me fully engaged. There were many exercises that we did throughout the training but the one on equality, diversity and race was my favourite it really resonated with me and I could feel myself getting upset over some people’s perceptions and differing views. I felt that Dawn managed this potentially difficult situation very well and after that session I started to really understand that to work therapeutically you must be able to understand yourself your own emotions and feelings and this was like a lightbulb moment.
I would come home every week from training and really look at my life, my children’s life and my wider family. I could see certain things we had discussed in training being very true of the behaviour particularly of my youngest child who at times displayed various attachment types.
The way in which this course was delivered was perfect for my learning style and I feel that Dawn was very versatile and attentive to all the participants. I wanted to be there and share my own thoughts feelings and experiences in an environment that I felt able to without judgement.

• What have you learnt and how will you put it into practice?
I always felt that my style of working was quite therapeutic and sometimes I was doing things that I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind. In my practice I have become more mindful and always trying to think about situations from all angles rather than just seeing a behaviour.
I have learnt that I can see other staff overreacting and becoming affected by a young persons behaviour, and I have the skills to understand this and try to explain to them that it isn’t about you its about the young person and there is always a reason behind the behaviour. Do not take this personally they are testing your resilience and have often in certain situations had to react in this way to survive. It’s about teaching them there is another way, one person can be the difference in a young person’s life and set them on the right path for the future.

• Were there any modules you found particularly useful?
I really enjoyed all the modules as I previously stated but I did enjoy going through reflective practice as I have always felt this is so important to be able to analyse when things haven’t gone to plan and then improve upon this next time. We are all still learning every day when we work with young people and it doesn’t matter how long you have been working it applies to everyone.
We also had a really interesting session on anti-discrimination including racism which had sparked some very strong beliefs within the group, I definitely looked at things differently after this point as I felt that I have probably been guilty of assuming things with young people in the past without fully understand their heritage and background and the effect this has.
Dawn delivered an exercise within the discrimination training where we had to role play, I felt that I had to really be careful of what I was saying so that I didn’t come across as racist and I found this challenging as I think I was overthinking my responses towards this. Very interesting and thought provoking and I came away thinking I must pay more attention to ensure I offer equality to everyone I work with without discriminating against them.
I loved the mindfulness exercises we did as a group although I know it wasn’t for everyone, I found it very relaxing and have since brought a book on the subject to gain even more knowledge.

• Would you recommend the course, if so why?
Anyone that is working within a social care environment with young people, learning difficulties (adults and children), elderly, nursery, youth offending, specialist education etc would benefit from participating in this course the learning outcomes are I feel invaluable, learn about yourself so you can understand others.
I absolutely loved the course and it was easily the best training I have ever received and I for one didn’t want it to end, the only disappointing thing for me was that I felt some people didn’t take this as serious and didn’t allow themselves to fully immerse in the experience. Dawn battled through with everyone and that is credit to her experience and passion.
I have nothing more to say other than this training has made me think, analyse, and improved me as a carer and a person. I didn’t want this to end!!