Childhood trauma in looked after or adopted children: 1 day forum theatre course

Course structure

The course is normally structured as follows:

9.00am – 10.30am

Introductions and overview.

During this first session we introduce ourselves to our trainees and give an overview of the day.

We take some time to explore the overarching concepts of what it might mean to parent from a more therapeutic position and why our explorations of some of these ideas are important. We discuss how parenting a child who has had a background in trauma is very different from parenting a child who has not shared these experiences, with a view to considering how easy it is for us to misunderstand this.

We also discuss how important an awareness of our own emotional response is to being able to begin to understand some of the behaviours and bids for ‘communication through action’, which we will encounter throughout the day. Within this we will begin to incorporate an awareness of the role of our own emotional response in communication and how this can be worked with to facilitate understanding.

We will be asking our trainees to try to hold on to their emotional responses and to share them with us as part of the ongoing discussions throughout the day. These responses will form the building blocks of our training and it is through our trainees awareness of these responses that we hope to suggest the development of understanding and mentalization.

10.30am – 11.00am

Break for coffee and peer discussion amongst the group.


Forum theatre session.

We run our scenarios and facilitate the discussions between. With a view to guiding our trainees towards a deeper consideration of their individual emotional responses to the scenes and to the discussion.  Also with the gentle introduction of some consideration of the emerging group dynamics and how this relates to similar developments within family units.

1.00pm – 1.45pm

Lunch break.

1.45pm – 3.30pm

Reflective work, improvisation and applying emerging themes to the concept of family.  Small group work.

We draw out reoccurring themes recognized within the mornings work and help our trainees to consider how these themes impact our families both consciously and unconsciously. This work utilizes a number of developmental drama techniques such as Stanislavsky’s concept of Emotion Memory, ‘Hot Seating’ and dramatic role play to allow for a real, felt experience of the trauma in context and also of how we are fundamentally conditioned to defend against recognizing our own vulnerabilities to these emotionally challenging concepts and of how these defenses can manifest in our families.

3.30pm -3.45pm

Afternoon tea break.

3.45pm – 4.30pm

Feedback on the day and ‘check out’ discussion.

 Allowing space for a reflection on the overall training experience with a focus on mentalization and the possible establishment of a more therapeutic position in challenging situations.



Due to the nature of the small group work which is necessary with this course, we try to limit the numbers to 20 participants. We would ordinarily ask the organization to provide 2 additional staff members with experience to help facilitate the small group work. 

We can provide additional staff by arrangement if required. 

This course is also run privately and details can be provided. Just follow the link below to get in touch.