Juniper Tree Therapy

Juniper Tree Therapy is a small team of Occupational Therapists based in Yorkshire. We support children and young people, along with their families and key professionals. We work predominantly using a Sensory Integration and Sensory Attachment Intervention Framework; this means that we are trained to understand the sensory systems, the sequence of neurological development, and the impact of developmental trauma on this. Developmental trauma may include abuse, neglect, medical trauma, forced migration, or a number of other experiences.

We consider the child or young person and the family members and professionals who are within their life. We provide assessment, intervention, training and consultancy to support co-regulation with key adults, enriched environments to meet their specific sensory and attachment needs, and meaningful occupations to promote the well-being of the child and their key adult.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Juniper Tree Therapy hold children or young people at the centre of their approach, and consider the needs and difficulties experienced by their families, Foster Carers, School Team, Social Care Teams, and other Professionals. Using Sensory Integration and Sensory Attachment Intervention as our models of reference, we provide assessment, intervention, consultation and training, based on the specific needs of the individual.  This may be focusing on the needs of the child, focusing on the needs of the adults who are caring for them, or both. We individualise our approach to ensure that we are responsive to what is needed in each individual scenario. Our approach is proactive in nature.

We support those who have been impacted by developmental trauma of any kind – relational, medical, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, forced migration – and those who are caring for them. We seek to provide the knowledge and experiences to be able to identify our own patterns of managing stress and enrich these to make them as adaptive and as effective as possible, whilst also recognising our own limitations, and when we need further help or support. Our approaches utilise the body, identifying nurturing, calming and soothing sensations and experiences, or alerting, organising and pleasurable experiences. We consider how to enrich our environment to provide regular opportunities to this throughout our day, to support our resilience through the interruption of stress. The child and the adult are both considered within this framework.

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What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities are working to support those who have experienced or are caring for those who have experienced any kind of developmental trauma. We want to inform, empower and educate parents, foster carers, teaching assistants, social workers, youth workers, and probation workers, to help to protect them from risk of vicarious trauma, and support them to be aware of their own regulation needs, and how these can be met.

We want to provide early intervention to reduce the need for individuals to seek support or to respond in a crisis. We want to support individuals to have a toolkit, which considers their sensory systems, their stress patterns, and their regulation which helps to hold and protect during difficult times.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

We are currently working with organisations which are under significant pressure to provide their respective services to children and young people, and have challenges in many forms; resource challenges, budgetary challenges, training challenges, and personnel challenges. Our training and support is aimed towards the wellbeing of staff based on key principles of regulation and reflection. This helps to sustain wellbeing, resilience, and longevity of those who are supporting and caring for those most in need.

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