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Event Tag: rasism

Intergenerational Trauma within Adoptive Families – Science, Skills and Practice

Who this is for

Adoption practitioners and managers (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities) and Independent Professionals.


In this expert-led training session delivered by specialist practitioners at Body & Soul we will learn about the neuroscience of intergenerational trauma and some practical evidence-based skills and approaches for adoption practitioners to help adoptive families who are struggling become more resilient over the long-term.

“I loved the whole webinar – one of the best I have attended. Loved the style of the practitioners delivering, loved the content, loved that there was a section of practical activities to take away – I’ve already done 2 of them with a young person and family I’m supporting.” – Attendee, 2022

We aim to provide you with robust information about intergenerational trauma so you feel more empowered in supporting families who are struggling, but also some really practical evidence-based skills/approaches that you can use themselves to make their frontline work that little bit easier in the moment.

“Clear topics, well explained, use of the videos also supported understanding. It was really interesting to think about epigenetic trauma. It made me reflect on the relevance of this as other risk factors to also consider in matching children with adopters.” – Attendee, 2022

In this session, we will provide a forum for sharing and validating all the existing expertise and experience of people who are attending the training, and to reflect together on what we bring to our work as individuals and how this shapes our responses to colleagues and clients.

Learning outcomes

  • A better understanding of intergenerational trauma and the key biological, emotional, psychological and social processes that shape it.
  • The neuroscience of toxic stress and the impact of early trauma on child development – and then how this impacts on your approach to parenting in adult life.
  • The impact of repetitive trauma (think neglect, racism, structural discrimination etc) and all the systemic factors that compound and reinforce it (think poverty, marginalisation, etc).
  • Practical skills for regulating your emotions and for tolerating distress – which social workers can demonstrate to parents, so that the parents feel liberated and skilled-up to help their children in moments of high anxiety, upset, anger etc.
  • A wider picture of how children find a pathway to healing and some strategies for helping adoptive families become more resilient over time – e.g. the power of validation, of positive reinforcement, of enhancing a variety of protective factors rather than focusing exclusively on the most obvious risks.
  • Reflecting together on what we bring to our work as individuals and how this shapes our responses to colleagues and clients.
  • A forum for sharing and validating the existing expertise and experience of people who are attending the training.

About the trainer

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.

Hilary Marling

Hilary is an integrative counsellor and DBT facilitator, with over 30 years’ experience of working with parents and families under stress, in charities and in the NHS.  Currently, she is advisor and group therapist within Body & Soul’s adoption programme for adoptive families who have been referred to us by social services because the relationship is at risk of breaking down.  She also leads our ‘Positive Parents’ Place’, a programme of group work for parents who are living with complex trauma.


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.