Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Essay

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Essay

Exposure to childhood traumatic events is a predictor of various psychological and behavioral disorders, including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). According to Shafi et al. (2019), approximately one in four preschool-aged children grapple with psychological stress and social-emotional issues that act as precursors to later psychological and behavioral disorders. Consequently, various non-pharmacologic interventions focus on intercepting the impacts of traumatic events to stop the exacerbation of these mental and behavioral conditions. One of the most profound non-pharmacologic strategies for reducing the effects of trauma in children is dyadic developmental psychology (DDP).

Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP) is an attachment-oriented therapy conceptualized by Drs. Daniel Hughes and Arthur Becker-Weidman. This psychotherapeutic model emphasizes meaningful relationships between children, parents, and DDP practitioners to provide children with increased safety and facilitate recovery from traumatic experiences. According to Golding (2020), practitioners and parents can enhance safe relationships with the affected children by adhering to the tenets of the PACE attitude: playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy. In this sense, they should stay curious about the children’s emotional experiences, demonstrate acceptance and empathize with children’s predicaments, and maintain meaningful relationships through playfulness. The prerequisites for the successful implementation of the dyadic developmental psychology (DDP) model include cultivating a safe environment for children, developing relationships, ensuring comfort and co-regulation, empathizing with children’s predicaments and reflecting on their emotional needs, bolstering resilience by providing social resources, and recognizing the trauma and loss that children need to recover.

Although the dyadic developmental psychology (DDP) model is essential in facilitating recovery from traumatic events in children, critics cite the lack of a comprehensive manual or scientific justification for its applicability. The primary concern is the flaws that manifest due to the assumptions that psychologists can recapitulate steps of the DDP model to correct the emotional condition of another child. From a personal perspective, these criticisms are justifiable because the DDP intervention applies age regression therapy to identify past events, memories, and trauma that affect children. According to Brennan (2021), the age regression aspect of the dyadic developmental psychology model is unethical and controversial because it can uncover “false” memories and exacerbate emotional distress. As a result, this strategy could be ineffective in addressing the effects of childhood trauma in older children.



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Brennan, D. (2021). What is age regression therapy? https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-age-regression-therapy

Golding, K. S. (2020). Understanding and helping children who have experienced maltreatment. Paediatrics and Child Health, 30(11). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paed.2020.08.002

Shafi, R. M. A., Bieber, E. D., Shekunov, J., Croarkin, P. E., & Romanowicz, M. (2019). Evidence-based dyadic therapies for 0- to 5-year-old children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00677

DDP has been criticized for the lack of a comprehensive manual or full case studies to provide details of the process. In addition, although non-verbal communication, communicative mismatch and repair, playful interactions and the relationship between the parents’ attachment status and that of a toddler are all well documented and important for early healthy emotional development, Hughes and Becker-Weidman are described as making “a real logical jump” in assuming that the same events can be deliberately recapitulated in order to correct the emotional condition of an older child.

Based on the readings in this unit, do you share the same criticsm? Provide rationale for your answer.

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