Adoption Support

Adélie Psychology provide a number of attachment focussed and trauma informed therapies specifically for children and young people who have been adopted.

Adélie Psychology are an approved provider for Adoption Central England (ACE).

Adoption Experience

Dr Catherine Lawrence worked in a specialist service for looked after and adopted children in Solihull (LAATCH) from 2012-2014. She has worked as a provider for Adoption Central England (ACE) since 2019 providing specialist psychological assessments and therapy for adopted children and their families in Solihull, Coventry, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. In 2020 she also conducted specialist psychological assessments for Staffordshire Adoption Support.

Dr Catherine Lawrence has undertaken the following specialist training which influences her adoption support work: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) – Levels 1 & 2; Theraplay® & Group Theraplay® – Level 1; Life Story Work – Modules 1-4; Building Underdeveloped Sensorimotor Systems (BUSS) in children who’ve experienced developmental trauma – Introduction; Story Stem Assessment Profile.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

DDP is a family-based therapy that helps children with attachment difficulties who have experienced developmental trauma, abuse or neglect, learn to trust adults.  DDP involves a child with their adoptive parent/s and involves PACE parenting, which is a way of thinking and being which deepens the emotional connections in relationships.

Dr Catherine Lawrence is trained and experienced in providing DDP informed therapy for adopted children, young people and their parents. She is currently a Practitioner becoming certified in DDP.


Theraplay® is a proactive, intensive, relationship focused intervention which is based on natural patterns of healthy interaction between parents and their child. Parents are actively involved in the therapy which involves respectful, emotionally attuned, interactive, physical play.

Dr Catherine Lawrence is able to conduct assessments based on the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM). The MIM is the assessment tool unique to Theraplay® and forms the basis of the treatment planning process. It is a structured technique for observing and assessing the relationship between two people. Catherine is able to provide therapy based on Theraplay® principles for adopted children/young people with their parents.

US Theraplay® Institute

UK Theraplay®

Theraplay® is a registered service mark of The Theraplay Institute, 1224 W Belmont Ave, Floor 1, Chicago, IL, 60657, USA.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a therapy that uses art materials as a method of communication and expression. When experiences are too difficult to put in to words, Art Therapy can provide an opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way. Art Therapy can be used to focus on particular aims such as emotional regulation, attachments and relationships, body awareness, self-regulation and healthy coping mechanisms.

Molly O’Connell is a qualified Art Psychotherapist and provides all art materials required for sessions. Molly develops creative interventions to adapt to each client’s developmental, psychological and emotional needs.  Molly uses an attachment based, trauma-informed approach to Art Therapy.  

Specialist Psychological Assessment

Dr Catherine Lawrence provides tailored specialist assessments which are trauma informed and attachment focused. If there is a question regarding autism, Emma Kiernan, joins to form a multidisciplinary team. Assessments are focussed on the question posed by the adoption worker and can look at a child’s developmental history, attachment, medical history, trauma history, looked after history, education history, attachment, family functioning, cognitive function, executive function, adaptive behaviour, mental health, autism spectrum condition, sensory processing, and communication.

An Adoptive Parent’s Story

Photo by Emma Bauso on
Made through adoption

It feels dramatic to say this but it’s true my family was at crisis point; I was physically and emotionally exhausted from trying to keep everyone safe and maintain equilibrium.

Our family was made through adoption and there is SOOO much love in our home there is also anxiety, negative emotion and behaviour problems and that’s grown ups as well! As our children grew and they started to experience the world in new ways this triggered an emotional response in them that was difficult to manage; meltdowns and rages were common as they tried to make sense of the world and their place in it. My husband and I had received training to be adoptive parents but it didn’t prepare us for the reality of parenting children with different support needs; or the feelings that we would experience as a result of seeing our children in emotional pain. I thought I could love them better and my husband was at a loss as to how to parent in a positive way in the face of such raw emotion and pain. We now understand it triggered a physical and emotional response in him (linked to his own early life experience) which led to situations escalating quickly and in the long term depression and sadness as he felt he was letting us all down.

Things came to a head when I found my 8 yr old son running away from home to look for me as I came home from work. I had to do something so I approached social services. I was scared they might judge us, they didn’t; they got us help through the ‘adoption support fund’ and that help was with Dr Catherine Lawrence of Adélie Psychology. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that with her calm, insightful, warm empathetic approach she has helped us turn family life around. We’re better able to cope with each other’s emotions and my husband and I are equipped with knowledge and understanding of what’s happening with the children and us when things escalate. I have learnt that my cuddles, reassurances and love whilst well meaning and needed, needed to be accompanied by recognition of the feeling that the children were feeling, giving it a name and accepting it.

My husband has been on a different learning journey and if anything I love him more than I did before. He has had to confront some fairly ugly truths about his own experience of being parented and the negative feelings this has prompted. We’re learning everyday and Catherine has been our teacher, our confidant and counsellor. I have and will continue to recommend her service; I have shared with friends, colleagues and acquaintances that we are having support to help us all look after each other better and the value that has brought. It hasn’t been easy there have been tears but there’s also been healing, recognition and empowerment. Thank you Catherine x

Adoption Central England (ACE)

ACE is the Regional Adoption Agency for Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. If you live in these areas and feel that you need support funded by the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) please contact them and request an assessment of need.

Adoption Support

If you are looking for some support please contact your Regional Adoption Agency and request an assessment of need. Your child may be able to access a specialist psychological assessment and/or therapy funded by the Adoption Support Fund (ASF).

Further support can be found here:

Beacon House has a number of useful resources about developmental trauma and attachment: