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Supporting Adoptive Parents experiencing Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue

14 March, 2024 at 10:00am - 4:00pm


Expert-led training session co-delivered with David Bell, a specialist practitioner at Body & Soul

6 hrs
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Who this is for

Adoption practitioners and managers (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies, Local Authorities, and independent social workers), children’s social care services, children and family social workers, foster carers, kinship carers, designated teachers, and other professionals working with children and families.


This expert-led training will expand your knowledge on trauma and its impact on adoptive families by exploring how the neurobiology of trauma can be transferred between individuals, including the role of mirror neurons and other systemic factors that impact our ability to empathise with others.

“[I enjoyed…] the wealth of information the trainers had and informal discussions we had to build on this, really trying to involve us in virtual training.” – Atttendee, March 2023

This training will address the unique challenges faced by adoptive families, including the heightened sensitivity to traumatic experiences and the difficult decisions around disclosure and parenting. We will explore techniques and practices for managing secondary trauma without it impacting daily life and other relationships, including self-care, helping the child when they are distressed, and managing stress together through games, creativity, movement, and storytelling.

“This was really high quality training – much as I’ve has said the session was the right length for what it was, I could have done another day!” – Attendee, March 2022

Our expert speaker, David will also help build the skills and awareness necessary to intentionally act around trauma, leaning into those moments when it feels like you are ‘absorbing’ someone else’s trauma to enhance connection and mutual support. And with a focus on exploring your own trauma as a parent, you’ll be better equipped to help your adoptive child navigate their own experiences and build a stronger, more resilient family system.

You will be able to network with practitioners from other agencies, share best practice and glean new ideas.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the neurobiology of trauma and how it can be transferred between individuals
  • Recognise the challenges faced by adoptive families who experience trauma, including heightened sensitivity to traumatic experiences and the difficult decisions around disclosure and parenting.
  • Explore techniques and practices for managing secondary trauma
  • Develop skills and attitudes necessary to support families experiencing secondary trauma and compassion fatigue
  • Understand the importance of exploring your own trauma as a parent and the impact it can have on the adoptive family.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma on adoptive families and develop strategies to better support the family as a whole

About the trainers

David Bell

David is a DBT facilitator and specialist practitioner, with 25 years’ experience of working with young people and families who are experiencing grave challenges, in prisons, in hospices and in frontline charities.  He has worked as a consultant with leading clinical organisations to help develop training, most recently with the Anna Freud Centre, to enhance the experience of children who might need to talk to an adult about abuse and other worries they have, and with RSPH, to support a wider community of employers who wish to implement trauma-engaged working practices.  He is also Head of Research at Body & Soul, currently overseeing several multi-year projects in collaboration with UCL, Wellcome Trust and The Royal Statistical Society exploring variously: the impact of racism and other forms repetitive trauma on the brain; the variety of ways in which ‘vicarious’ trauma is socially constructed; and identifying a plausible methodology for demonstrating how much money the social care sector saves the government through preventative work – not least through supporting compassionate, trauma-engaged adoptive relationships when birth families break down.


A member of staff will be in touch with attendees one week prior to the event to share a pre-event delegate pack. If you have any questions regarding this webinar, please contact us at We will aim to answer your query within two working days.

CVAA accept online payments only. In case you do not have instant access to your company card, we suggest using your personal card instead to book a training event and claim it back with your agency in your expenses. Requesting an invoice to pay for our standard practice events is not possible.

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