BoysTown’s Expressive Therapies Intervention (BETI) is a trauma and attachment informed creative arts and play therapy intervention. The initiative is targeted at young children with emotional and behavioural problems stemming from exposure to traumatic life and family experiences, including attachment trauma. It aims to improve participants’ emotional and social wellbeing and competence; behavioural adjustment; quality of attachment relationships with parents; and self-concept/self-esteem. To support the achievement of these objectives, the intervention is integrated within case-managed support programs for disadvantaged families.
This report describes BETI’s therapeutic model and presents the findings of a two-year evaluation including analysis of the following client outcome data:
- pre and post intervention assessments using the Child Behaviour Checklist
- parent surveys, and
- therapists’ end-of-therapy reports.
Together the findings suggest that BETI, delivered in the context of holistic family support programs, contributes to improvements in the quality of preschool-aged children’s attachment relationships with their caregivers and helps to address a range of emotional and behavioural impacts of developmental trauma. These findings are especially noteworthy in view of the wealth of research regarding the impacts of developmental trauma and insecure attachment on normal development and long term social and emotional wellbeing.