Mahmoud Hassan is an adoption competent certified through the Sylvia Thomas Center here in Hillsborough County. Mr. Hassan has had extensive experience in working with kids who have been in the foster care system and who are seeking a prospective adoptive family as well as post-adoption related services in the form of providing adoption training and individual clinical counseling.
The main therapeutic modality that Mr. Hassan employs for children in the foster care system and post adopted children is Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Children who have been traumatized and who have been exposed to multiple moves, and/or removal from biological parents can potentially suffer from attachment related disorders and/or symptoms of PTSD. Counseling involves forming and maintaining a trusting therapeutic relationship, helping families to foster a sense of "attunement". Emotional attunement between the parent and the child encourages emphatic responsiveness between the adoptive parents and their adopted child. Prospective families and children are encouraged to utilize emotional proximity which helps to have foster closeness on an emotional level.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy allows for parents to try to become fully immersed in their prospective children's capacity to tolerate negative emotions and reflect these negative emotions back to the children with unconditional positive regard, warmth, acceptance, gentle voice tone, touch and nurturance.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy progresses through 5 stages.
- The initial engagement phase.- Rapport Building, Therapeutic trust , "Do No Harm", Active Listening, History Gathering
- Maintaining the working alliance- Educating Parents, Allowing For legitimate concerns to be addressed, processed and reflected; Employing The empathic response model along with IMAGO communication skills to flow between various members of a prospective adoptive family and/or a post-adoptive family.
- Working through negative emotions and past trauma- This phase of therapy is delicate. The child is to illicit deliberate references to past attachment figures and memories to create a scene of intense emotion In order to have the parents provide nurturance, affection, playfulness and empathy in order to help the child gain better coping skills for negative emotions.
- Integration- Allowing the family to serve as the "co-therapists" for the child by facilitating PLACE; Playfulness, Loving atmosphere, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy; the adultís emotional regulation must serve as a model for the children.
- Ending treatment- gently phasing out of treatment based on adherence and successful completion of established treatment plan goals.
Parents are also encouraged to find the meaning behind some of the negative behaviors of their adopted child. Mr. Hassan teaches and models the concept of PLACE while integrating it in the dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy developed by Daniel Hughes. The PLACE model involves playfulness, being loving, accepting, being curious and having empathy. The PLACE model provides essential components towards successful emotional attunement between a parent and a child. Adoption training and adoption specific therapy involves a review of history, a review of any protective service reports and other documents that assist in exploring the factual and emotional events of the child's life.
Mr. Hassan employs role playing techniques as well as psychodrama that enacts various conflicts that end door discussions that may potentially occur in the household. This intervention is necessary to bring the past into the present for examination and having the client understand the meaning behind any negative behavior. Attachment facilitating parenting is another service provided by Mr. Hassan. This can focus on increasing responsibility and freedom at home. Clients are also encouraged to develop a cohesive autobiographical narrative. As the child explores how the past is alive in the present and re-visits the trauma, a coherent picture of the client's life emerges. Integration of the trauma and the reduction of splitting as hidden memories of trauma are brought to the surface.
Mr. Hassan believes in the "Continuity of Care Model" where there is contact with Case Managers, Psychiatrists/Pediatricians and relevant care providers provided appropriate releases of information are signed.