How do we think about dysregulated children?
Working with dysregulated children within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic, has provided us with the opportunity to develop both skill and expand knowledge in this domain. Our challenge has been to familiarise ourselves with the literature and using this as a foundation integrate our systemic approach of the Bower Place Method.
It is generally agreed that the capacity to control the expression of emotion, neither exploding nor imploding, develops in early childhood and has life –long implications. Authors have researched both intrinsic and extrinsic factors and recognise that each interact with the other. There is little doubt that children are born with their own level of reactivity to their environment a feature of temperament, which is present at birth and is a relatively stable. The child’s capacity to regulate emotional reactivity is a result of increased cognitive control including attention, inhibitory control and executive function. However, no child grows up in a vacuum and from birth are in relationship with carers. Studies have demonstrated that securely attached children internalize effective emotion regulation strategies within the relationship which can then be applied outside in other contexts. It has also been shown that maltreated children demonstrate poor emotion regulation and understanding.
Bringing together both the inside and outside we hypothesise a circular process where by a child with a reactive temperament is born into a regulated or dysregulated family. The more dysregulated the family the less the child learns to regulate and the more out of control is the family. This cycle spirals more rapidly the less regulated the parents are. However, a highly reactive infant may well spiral the family into dysregulation. In time the cycle grows until the family seeks support from helpers or their child’s behaviour draws in wider system. The process that initially occurred between child and family is then replicated between the family and helpers with the system itself becoming dysregulated around the situation which then further escalates the family’s experience of being out of control. Just as the child may internalise and become withdrawn, anxious and inexpressive or angry and inappropriately expressive, so do parents and those engaged to help.
Working with these children and families requires a broader systems perspective which takes these patterns into account. A neutral stance is adopted whereby no-one is seen as solely responsible, yet each person is expected to take proper responsibility to effect change dependent on age and relationship.
Appointments are available
Fees & Charges
We are able to provide a Bulk Billing service by a psychologist and Medicare accredited Mental Health Social Workers for clients who hold a Mental Health Care Plan from their GP.
We also work with clients covered by NDIS support plans.
Clients who are not covered by either a Mental Health Care Plan or the NDIS are able to access services within the Complex Needs Clinic at a low fee rate of $60 per 90 minute session.
Bower Place has a wide range of qualifications & other training opportunities available including: