CPD Adoption Course - The Fundamentals of Working with Adoption (4 Days)
This CPD course is specifically designed for anyone who works with adoptive families, individuals or children and young people in a facilitative, therapeutic, assessment or helping role. The 2020 course will take place in Woking later this year, the dates and venue will be updated in due course. If you're interested in this CPD Adoption Course please contact me via the Contact page.


Feedback from the previous course


The previous CPD Adoption Course was held at WWF Living Planet Centre in Woking. Attendees from a wide spectrum incuding therapists, adoptive parents and therapeutic professionals successfully completed both course modules, and here’s some of their feedback;



“Thought provoking relevant course, introducing new material that can be used in addition to existing work”


“The balance of experiential and theoretical was just right for me. Able to be vulnerable and feel safe, enabling a depth of learning on this course”


“Really enjoyed the course, presentation and contents. Gave space for exploring”


“I liked the way all was accepted, worked with and flexibility of facilitator to go with what was there and needed expression, extremely containing and holding”


“It was an excellent balance of theory and creative input, and really energised me”


“With flair Raphael delivers his training in depth, with knowledge and flexibility”


“This course has been amazing, the theory is so much more useful in Adoption than other approaches and should be compulsory for all those working in Adoption!”


“A rewarding and fruitful experience, delivered in a professional and entertaining way”


“The course was fascinating, a vast subject covered in a coherent and sensitive way”


“So much information presented in such a varied way, very memorable thank you”


“I learned a lot about myself as well as the Adoption content. It was interesting, challenging and great fun. Thank you”




Adoption changes everything forever for everyone involved with everyone within the adoption triad suffering multiple losses. There have been significant changes in adoption over the past two decades, and the Adoption & Children’s Act 2002 was an attempt for legislation to catch up. Adoption is supposed to offer children a safe and nurturing environment to enable positive growth, while at the same time give adoptive parents and especially in the case of childlessness, the opportunity to become parents and offer a permanent, secure home. However there is an additional layer of complexity due to developmental trauma experienced by children who are being adopted, and this can increase the risk of later adoption breakdown.


Adoption fundamentally affects children, the birth parents and their families and the adoptive parents and their families, all of whom have their own individual processes. These internal processes are influenced by how an individual interprets and makes sense of the information they receive through the senses. Information processing and memory systems are unique for each person as they are an integral part of each person’s attachment strategies. Understanding this enables for more effective and appropriate therapeutic intervention and care planning. This course will integrate the only evidence-based and comprehensive developmental theory of attachment, the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment & Adaptation (Crittenden, 2003).


Children living in a threatening environment albeit physical, sexual, emotional or neglectful adapt to function and protect themselves within the family. Removal from the birth family challenges the child’s way of protecting themselves, and self-protective behaviours can be seen as bizarre, odd, malicious, manipulative, controlling or clingy within the non-threatening adoptive home. The adoptive parents’ attachment behaviours can also become the new threat for the child. Children in adoptive families are not always seen or understood within this context, and this can lead to a perpetuation of feelings about themselves which were formed from their earlier experiences.


Professionals and those who are in a position to help can fall into the trap of pathologising or diagnosing, which can lead to adoptive parents and families believing that the child is the problem. In turn adoptive children can become a repository for many negative feelings and beliefs. Many children and adoptive families who have received help have fed back that problems are exacerbated by traditional methodologies which are used to understand the child’s behaviour.


As well as pathologising the child, parents who already feel de-skilled in their parental role can become demonised. This can occur due to the lack of knowledge and experience of the complex nature of developmental attachment processes, for both the child and parents. It is not helpful or sufficient to solely label the child or adult as ambivalent, avoidant or disorganised (Main & Solomon 1986). Instead what is needed is a fuller, more helpful and useable method of understanding how each family member protects themselves as each member has their own way of protecting themselves, and it is this interplay that needs to be understood. Work with adoptive families is about how to bring them together while facilitating the re-organising of the child’s and parents’ self-protective strategies to be more able to successfully co-create their life worlds. This course will be exploring issues of developmental trauma and how this leads to the development of self-protective attachment strategies.


This four day course can be a stand-alone CPD course and there is an opportunity to build on the fundamentals of working with those affected by adoption with further CPD courses that will specifically focus on working with children, working with adolescents and a third module on working with adoptive parents, working with adult adoptees, working with birth parents and a module for social workers on post adoption assessments for families.


Who is this CPD Adoption Course for?


This course is designed for anyone who works with adoptive families, individuals or children and young people. Participants can be working with individuals, families or groups of all ages in a facilitative, therapeutic, assessment or helping role including: Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses, Child therapists, Play therapists, Art therapists, Drama therapists, Movement therapists and Psychoanalysts. Due to the attachment foundation of the course it may be helpful for those interested in the latest attachment science.


The course will have some experiential elements that will require participants to make use of aspects of self and share their own personal experiences. As the course may evoke emotional material, participants are encouraged to have access to adequate support when needed.

Raphael Lopez de Soto | Psychotherapist | CPD Adoption Course
What are the aims of this Adoption course?


  • To enhance awareness about how attachment styles and protective strategies of children and parents interact and co-create what happens within the family system.

  • Clarify the legislative and legal framework of working with adoptive families.

  • Explore the different types of adoption and how these impact those involved and the most common adoption practices in the UK.

  • Explore and examine the multiple losses experienced by the child, birth family and adoptive family. 

  • Gain an understanding of the how current attachment theory has developed since Mary Ainsworth.

  • To examine how each self-protective strategy can manifest. 

  • Gain an understanding of the adoption process from the perspective of the birth parents, child, the adoptive parents and social worker. 

  • Learn how to assess and plan effective interventions with adoptive families.

  • Make use of live supervision and share experiences of working with adoptive families.

  • Enhance understanding of the self-protective functions of narratives and how these are used to make meaning and perceive the world.

  • Learn how to make use of theory to inform practice.

  • Examine and identify practice challenges and opportunities when working with adoptive families.

  • Learn how memory systems and information processing are an integral aspect of attachment.



About the course trainer

One of the main intentions of the trainer is to provide a space in which transformational adult learning can occur, where learning has a life of its own and has an energetic capacity to transform both the learner and the teacher (Chapman Hoult, 2012). As such the learning space is welcoming, and values a wide range of methods, practices, theories and life experiences.


Raphael Lopez de Soto is a specialist child, adolescent and family psychotherapist and expert witness. He has experience of working with individuals, families, couples and as a group therapist and facilitator. He has worked in the NHS, primary care, education, specialist inpatient environments and family centres. Raphael works with adults and young people who are involved in the criminal justice system and with adoptive families and children in foster care who have experienced early life trauma or abuse. Raphael has developed family therapeutic interventions that are attachment focussed and do not isolate any member of the family, and these have proved effective when working with children and adults who have experienced abuse.


Raphael has worked in adoption and permanency, post adoption team, within a local authority and brings both a social worker and therapist perspective. He has also been involved in child protection Section 47 investigations and has supervised both front-line child protection social workers and specialist practitioner social workers. Raphael works independently with individuals, adoptive families and children in foster care and with local authorities. He undertakes parenting capacity, sibling and risk assessments and forensic assessments and develops and runs bespoke training for therapists, foster carers and social workers.


Raphael has trained with Dr Patricia Crittenden and continues to study the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment & Adaptation. Raphael has carried out research into child trauma and dissociation and continues to research this area.


Course details, how to book & price

If you's like to find out more about this CPD Adoption Course please contact me via the Contact page