Background Experience and Specialism

 Catherine Eveness: Lead Practitioner

I am a HCPC registered Social Worker with over 15 years experience in working in adoption and fostering and a parent to neurodivergent children. I have both professional and personal experience of adoption and a wealth of life experience that means I prioritise making supportive relationships with families. I have worked asa Fully Certified Theraplay Practitioner since December 2016.

Academically I have always had a keen interest in child development. I gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work in 2005 at Bristol University. In Social Work practice I worked within a family placement team setting for over 15 years, with children who are placed in foster care as well as supporting children and their families throughout the adoption process. 

I undertook Theraplay Level 1 training in 2011 and since gaining such powerful and rewarding feedback from families who found using the techniques facilitated change in challenging relationship dynamics, I integrated principles into my work. I delivered Theraplay Principles workshops to adoptive parents and foster carers, education and social care professionals over the years in Social care roles. I used Theraplay® informed practice with families in their homes and in education settings. Since becoming fully Certified in December 2016 as a Theraplay®  Practitioner, I set up Theraplay South West as a website hub for families and professionals seeking therapeutic support. I have now joined the supervision and training practicum with Theraplay® UK.

In 2018, I started the process of training in Sensory Attachment Intervention with Eadaoin Bhreathnach. Since this time I have integrated sensory attachment approaches into my work with families. I am now qualified to deliver Just Right State Programmes and I am very passionate about supporting children and their parents to understand what helps them to regulate.

I am a passionate about children and their families being able to access high quality therapeutic support with a preventative focus and values centred in positive neurodivergent identity. I am also committed to ensuring that children have an opportunity to develop attuned trusting relationships with key adults either as carers or teachers outside of their family dynamic. I have delivered training in schools and settings and I am committed to raising awareness around trauma informed approaches to meeting children and families needs. 

Gemma Hale

I am a HCPC registered Social worker with over 20 years experience of working with children and families. I started my career working with children, gaining a Diploma in Nursery Nursing in 1998. I moved into Social work as a family support worker for families and Children in Need in 2003. I obtained a BSc (Hons) in Social Work in 2009. Since qualifying I have worked as a Children in Care Social Worker, Supervising Social Worker for Kinship Carers through to Adoption and Post Adoption Support where my specialism and passion now lies. 

I am passionate about working therapeutically with children, carers and families to help them build strong connections and develop relationships. I have trained in DDP Level 1, Theraplay Level 1 and 2, Group Theraplay and I am qualified as a Foundational Theraplay Practitioner. I am certified Theraplay Informed Practice to families. I have also trained in other attachment programmes such as Baby Bonding and the PEEP Reflective Parenting Programme. 

I have spent time delivering Therapeutic parenting programmes to parents who have adopted, and running groups for adolescents, children and families where children have been adopted. I have vast experience providing post adoption support and advice to families, incorporating PACE and Theraplay Informed Principles in all work that I undertake. 


Kirstie Hutchinson: Lead Devon Practitioner

I am a HCPC registered Social Worker working on an independent basis and I have worked in children's services for over 9 years. I am a Foundational Certified Theraplay Practitioner. I currently offer Theraplay Informed Practice to children and their families which is either in an individual or group setting, as well as Theraplay Informed Practice workshops to schools and professionals. I work across all ages and have a strong focus on building attunement and attachment. I have undertaken a variety of different assessments and multi-agency working around the needs of the child. I continue to offer this as an Independent Social Worker, taking a keen interest in Prospective Adopters Reports. 

I started my career working in registered Children's homes where I expanded into management and then into Social Work. I have a great deal of understanding, knowledge and experience of children and families who have experienced trauma, who present with complex needs and behaviour, inlcuding learning difficulties and significant health needs. 

Before becoming an Independent Social worker I specialised in Adoption and took a keen interest in Life Story Work and therapeutic parenting. I follow the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy model where I have completed the DDP Level 1 Training; an effective model to support children who have experienced significant developmental trauma. 


Ali Cliffe: Lead BANES practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor.

With over 20 years experience of working with children with additional needs as a respite carer and in Education settings, I am currently a Lead Theraplay Practitioner with responsibility for strategic development at Bright Start Children's Centre in Bath. This role involves giving peer support and Theraplay Interventions alongside being a Theraplay Trainer and Supervisor. 

I have recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Child, Adolescent and Family Well-being with the Tavistck and Portman which has developed my skills in working psychoanalytically and systemically with children and families. I am passionate about the need for relational support to recover from relational trauma. Theraplay is an ideal modality to work with families by building respectful, empathic and attuned relationships within which family relationships can blossom. 


Carly Barrett-Greening: Lead Dorset practitioner and supervisor. 

I have been working with Children and families field of work since 1996 with over 22 year experience. I initially qualified as a Welfare Officer in 1999 and studied psychology, counselling and management before managing day care services within Dorset from 1998-2002. I aspired to empower families and children with disabilities in this role. I qualified as a Social Worker in 2002 and I have over 16 years of experince in working within the children's mental health and child protection sector. My passion for direct therapeutic support with children in care led to a qualification as a Children's Yoga teacher with the Special Yoga Foundation in London. Appreciating the value of working with children with sensory needs within yoga grew from work with children who have experienced trauma. More recently I have joined the Practicum to become fully certified in Trauma Centre specialist training, in Trauma Sensitive Yoga. This aids the healing of somatic sensory feedback within individuals bodies related to trauma. 

In 2012 I acheived a Post Graduate Degree at Bristol University specialising in Children and Young Peoples Services where I took part in Julie Selwyn's Phd studies, reseraching direct therapeutic work with children and families. In 2013 I went onto working for Families for Children Trust Adoption Charity, as a specialist therapeutic Social Worker. I have undertaken Therapeutic Life Story work training with Adoption UK and I have developed a therapeutic programme of support for families across Dorset and neighbouring authorities. 

I was taught to deliver an eight week stress reduction Mindfulness and Yoga programme for Young People's Mental health. Since 2013 I have been delivering the 'Mindful Yoga for Young People's Emotional Health Programme'. In 2013 I also undertook Level 1 DDP training with Julie Hudson and went onto to complete Level 2 DDP in 2016 and I am currently working towards becoming a fully certified DDP practitioner. Since 2016 the Adoption Support Fund have approved the programme as an in scope intervention for funding.

In 2016 I established Wave Connections to meet the needs of therapeutic services in Dorset and the surrounding local authorities. Wave Connections hosts Level One Theraplay and MIM Training as well as Kim Golding's Nurturing Attachments training programmes. 

In 2017 I worked part time in assisting with the formation of Aspire Adoption, the creation of one of the first five regional adoption agencies in England. I also provide besopke training on attachment in the classroom and therapeutic parenting. I have also undertaken the 'Just Right State' programme with Eadoin Bhreathnack and gained full Certification as a Theraplay Therapist in 2018. 






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