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Understanding Pre-verbal Trauma in Adopted Children: Brain, Memories, Impact and how to help

12 July, 2022 at 10:00am - 4:00pm


Expert-led training session co-delivered with qualified clinicians at Gateway Psychology

6 hrs
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Who this is for

Adoption practitioners and managers (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities), social workers working with children and families and other independent professionals.


Research tells us that early trauma significantly affects the brain, particularly in the first few years of life. But how do babies and young children store these traumatic experiences when they haven’t developed language or explicit memory yet?

Understanding Pre-Verbal Trauma is a bespoke training session, helping adoption practitioners learn more about pre-verbal trauma, providing a deeper understanding of brain development during these crucial years (and how trauma can impact this). It answers questions about whether babies (or foetuses) can understand and remember trauma, and how their experiences could impact them in later life.

When working with adoptive parents, foster carers, social workers and special guardians, we understand that many wonder how a child could have experienced trauma if they were removed into care from birth or shortly afterwards. Sometimes, people might even say “Well, they were adopted at 3 years old, so they’ll be fine!” We know that this isn’t the case, and this webinar aims to help professionals understand why.

This expert-led training discusses the theory behind pre-verbal trauma, including trauma experienced in the womb (pre-birth). We will talk about brain development; the impact of trauma on the brain and its long-term effects throughout a child’s life; interventions that can help address pre-verbal trauma; and how professionals can support and enact change for children and young people who have experienced pre-verbal trauma.

“Brilliant CPD, that was incredibly informative. It was really interesting to have the theory behind. Presenter was incredibly informative, engaging and knowledgeable. Best CPD I have attended.” – Attendee, 2021

“EXCELLENT! Something we can actually use. Very enjoyable and needed.” – Attendee, 2021

With a firm grounding in brain development and evidence-backed research, this webinar has been developed by Gateway Psychology, a specialist clinical psychology service based in Stoke-on-Trent. Gateway Psychology is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for their work with adoptive families, and is one of the largest providers of adoption support in the North West.

“[I enjoyed..] having light bulb moments and being able to think of specific children and now understand how to help more and support them.” – Attendee, 2021

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the theory of Pre-Verbal Trauma
  • To understand typical brain development and how this can be disrupted by the presence of trauma
  • Develop an understanding of therapeutic interventions to address Pre-Verbal Trauma

About the trainers

Dr Meryl Forse is the founder and Clinical Director of Gateway Psychology. With over 15 years’ experience in working with children, young people and families, she is a highly qualified Clinical Psychologist with a particular passion for issues relating to developmental trauma/attachment. She also has interest and experience in complex mental health difficulties; emotional difficulties across the lifespan; and autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She is also trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Theraplay® and Non-Violent Resistance (NVR).

Dr Rachel Faul is a Clinical Psychologist and the Clinical Lead at Gateway Psychology. She has extensive experience in working with children, young people and families. In addition to her doctoral training, Dr Faul is trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Narrative Therapy. She has a particular passion for understanding attachment and emotional difficulties across the lifespan; complex trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and Dissociative Disorders.


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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