Nurturing with Neuroscience

Interventions grounded in the Neuroscience of trauma, attachment and child development.

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Engaging Disconnected Families

We value ‘connection before correction’, and tailor interventions to the needs of each family.

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What our Interventions Involve

We work intensively with both the child and their care-givers and function as a central communication point.

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Training and
Online Courses

We're making it easier to support our clients online! Our 2017 online course offering is coming soon.

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Welcome to Complex Care

In-home therapy, Training and Clinical Consultancy Services

Complex Care is a Brisbane based practice that specialises in providing training, clinical consultancy services and intensive in-home therapy to children and families with complex behavioural needs.

Since 2008, our team of therapists have been stabilising placements, supporting complex reunifications and guiding other professionals to deliver quality evidence-based therapeutic care across the greater Brisbane region.

Our expertise and interests range across the fields of child protection, neuroscience, therapeutic care, family therapy, developmental trauma, attachment, mental health, disability and education support.

 

Services We Offer


In-home therapy support

  • Preventing placement breakdowns, stabilising young people and repairing attachments
  • Supporting complex reunifications and transitions out of intensive models of care
  • Outreach support for disengaged high-risk young people

Clinical Consultancy Services

  • Complex case-clinics
  • External Clinical Supervision (Individual and Group)
  • Framework Development

Training

  • Complex Trauma and Attachment in Children: Providing Therapeutic Care
  • Understanding and Responding to Violent and Controlling behaviours in children
  • Collaborative Problem Solving.

Using Neuroscience to Nurture

Our model of intensive in-home therapy is grounded in the neuroscience of trauma, attachment and child development, and our interventions typically involve a combination of tailored individual counselling, psychoeducation, dyadic family therapy and providing stakeholder guidance around the child or family’s ongoing therapeutic needs.

We understand that early exposure to neglect and trauma, disrupts the development of the fundamental skills such as empathy, emotional regulation, and problem-solving. It also leads to adaptations in the brain, that are highly functional for survival when under threat, but incredibly maladaptive when it comes to functioning in social relationships.

For this reason our framework for changing behaviours in both adults and children, is based on the principal of ‘competence’ rather than ‘compliance’. Compliance frameworks involve using simple systems of rewards and consequences to shift behaviours, but are unfortunately based on the assumptions that: 1) the child has developed all the skills required to comply with an adult’s expectations and 2) the child actually trusts adults enough to feel safe handing control over to them. These simple behavioural frameworks are only effective at reinforcing expectations and boundaries, and do not actually teach the child new skills.

Our Competence oriented framework involves helping the child and their care-giver to reinterpret or depersonalise the child’s behaviours within the context of their trauma history and resulting skill deficits, and then focuses on engaging with the child using strategies and activities that actually build their capacity to feel safe, trust others, problem-solve, attune to others and to better monitor and modify their internal states.

Engaging Disconnected and Resistant Clients

At Complex Care we also recognise the impact that complex relational trauma has on a person’s capacity to trust and engage in therapeutic interventions, which has often been further compounded by their experience of powerlessness or fractured relationships with professionals and carers within the child protection system. Expecting traumatised children and adults (who are often commencing the process as involuntary clients) to engage with a therapist in a clinical setting is, in our experience, completely unrealistic. Research in Neuroscience, particularly the work of Stephen Porges (Poly-vagal theory), has demonstrated that clients need to feel safe to be able to use their social engagement system (communicate with others), and that engaging them in a familiar environment with a playful, accepting and empathic approach is the most effective way to establish a connection.

This understanding is reflected in our model of intervention which commences with non-intrusive rapport building/safety promoting activities in the client’s home and out in the community (rather than a clinical setting), and works with the child and parent’s shallow intimacy barriers to establish a safe connection, before attempting to explore and address concerns.

This practice of placing ‘connection before correction’, along with our capacity to be flexible, responsive, and specifically tailor interventions to the needs of each family, has led to Complex Care being able to engage and support some of the most resistant and disconnected young people and families in the region.

Reducing Stress on the System

We also recognise that it is not just the families that are under immense stress, and that professionals, organisations and the whole child protection system are under incredible pressure and at constant risk of paralleling the symptoms of complex trauma. For this reason, we have designed our model of support with the additional focus of reducing stress for the Department and other professionals. This starts with the simplicity of our referral process, involving a phone call with one of our Managers or Directors, and continues through our supporting role as a central communication point for stakeholders, reducing some of the demand that a complex case can place on Child Safety Officers.

Complex Care is often contracted at a point of crisis for the child or family, as such we recognise that a timely response is often fundamental to safely contain a situation or maintain a placement at high risk of breaking down. For this reason Complex Care aims to ensure that we always have the capacity within our team of therapists to remain responsive, and in most cases we are able to have a therapist on the ground working with the family within the same week we receive approval for an intervention to commence.