Connect2Counselling recongnised the significant contribution of parents in the wellbeing of children.

Every parent needs to maintain their own self-care in order to ensure their children’s needs are fully met. Self-care is even more relevant for parents with children who have complex and challenging needs.


We have a specific interest in providing therapeutic services to parents of children with additional needs e.g. adoptive parents and foster carers and parents who have children with challenging behavioural, social, educational, physical and psychological need.

Connect2Counselling provides specialised, tailored therapeutic support. As finance may be limited for such parents we will provide an affordable service based on individual circumstances.


Children with a traumatic start in life due to neglect or abuse require a different kind of parenting namely ‘therapeutic parenting’ to help their children overcome the gaps in the neuro pathways and missing structures of development which interfere with healthy attachment and affects all relationships. Children experience emotional, psychological, social, behavioural and educational challenges.

A child transitioning from foster care to adoption is a very traumatic process for all involved and as the child’s welfare is paramount the adults need to be well equipped and supported in order to best help the child. 

Services are often inadequate and significant numbers of placements break down, which means multiple moves for children. It is hardly surprising that parents inherit a legacy for which they can be ill-equipped. The daily struggle of bringing up children with the complexities of developmental trauma and attachment difficulties can manifest in feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth and, in some instances, vicarious trauma.


Out of a growing concern for the plights of adoptive parents in Northern Ireland, Connect2Counselling developed a small-scale project and qualitative research study with a sample of adoptive parents who received counselling.

The project highlighted the day-to-day reality of the significant challenges facing adoptive families. It also revealed that while adoptive parents are providing an invaluable service, they don’t feel valued for their contribution. An alarming lack of effective support for both children and parents was also evident.

All participants in the project reported finding the counselling intervention helpful. There is no more compelling evidence of the need for a comprehensive support service for adoptive families in Northern Ireland than the voices of the adoptive parents themselves.

We hope to build on this project by ensuring a way forward that would include a counselling service for adopters modelled on the project.