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Healing from Tots to Teens

Published: 09.11.15

Bryan Post received a standing ovation after delivering an engaging talk for almost four hours at Adoption UK’s sold-out annual conference, the theme of which was 'Healing from Tots to Teens’.
Healing from Tots to Teens

Bryan, one of America’s foremost adoption experts and founder of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy, captivated the 300-strong audience as he began by talking about the critical areas of the brain for love and attachment and how this can be affected by trauma in early life.

Watch Bryan's interview from the Conference here.

Hear what some of our members thought of the annual conference by clicking on the links below:

Interview 1

Interview 2

He told how most people are able to turn on oxytocin (the anti stress hormone) in our brains through a positive thought, or a smile or cuddle - but if you “don’t have it in early life, you don’t have it”.

Bryan believes that when a child who has experienced trauma misbehaves it is because they are stressed and this is a result of them not having enough oxytocin in their brain.

One of Bryan’s key messages was that any therapy, or technique, that is confrontational, aggressive, threatening, blaming or fear-based will ultimately not be effective for creating healing environments for attachment challenged children.

He went on to highlight the importance of parents also being able to calm their own stress.

“Oxytocin is what makes love possible and love is the only thing that heals. If you can’t calm yourself down you won’t be able to calm your child down.”

Despite the serious content of Bryan’s message, his speech was far from dry as he amused the conference with a liberal smattering of colourful anecdotes from his personal, family and professional life.  

Bryan likened Adoption UK to a lighthouse and closed by saying: "The education around adoption is so important. It’s critical to helping families become successful and for adopted children to have a sense of who they are and their ability to contribute to the world. For families without these services and the support that organisations like Adoption UK provides...they would be ships in the ocean without a lighthouse in the night. Adoption UK, in working with adopters, is doing something amazing."

Earlier in the day Adoption UK’s Chief Executive Hugh Thornbery told members at the charity’s AGM that it had been a “successful but challenging” year for the charity. He went on to point out that October 2015 saw a 30-year high in the numbers of children entering the care system so it was ‘perverse’ that the fall in adoption decisions has been so great.

He added that there are hard decisions ahead for Adoption UK but we will now “focus on a tighter set of priorities for adoptive families”.