Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Babies and Toddlers: Practical Strategies for Early Intervention to Support Recovery

Delivered by

Christina Enright


Format options

In Person | Online

Duration options

4 hrs | 6 hrs (1 day)


This training can be adapted to a diverse range of contexts, and further bespoke elements can be added on request.

Content Summary

Adverse experiences may start at any stage of a baby’s development including pre-birth. What happens in a mother’s body and nervous system during pregnancy also happens to the baby. If they experience high levels of fear and lack of safety and care, even in the first weeks of life, infants begin to adopt self-protective strategies in the face of overwhelming stress, in order to survive and to cope.

Infancy is a crucial time for the development of safety and also what is known as foundational regulation (regulation of the nervous system and body). In adverse environments these development milestones are compromised. Due to their limited mobility and so incapacity for escape, for tiny babies dissociation may become a way of coping with high levels of the fear they experience. This can lead to mistrust of adults, disconnection from emotions and may hamper the later development of an authentic sense of self. In order to support recovery, it is important to understand the impact of trauma on infants and toddlers, the signs we should look out for as well as specific approaches to support babies and toddlers to recover.

Learning Outcomes

This training will offer foster carers and adoptive parents an opportunity to learn about the following:

  • A short overview on healthy infant and toddler development
  • Why it is easy to assume that babies and toddlers don’t get traumatised and that they are okay unless we recognise the signs
  • How trauma affects babies and toddlers
  • The signs and symptoms of trauma in babies and toddlers
  • The importance of intervening early when there has been severe abuse and neglect
  • Therapeutic parenting approaches to support traumatised babies and toddlers to recover from trauma


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Bespoke Training

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Training delivered by

Christina Enright

RN, BSc Psychology, Dip in Family Therapy, MA Child Psychotherapy, Dip Clinical Supervision.

Over the past 17 years, Christina has worked as a psychotherapist with children, adolescents, birth parents, foster carers and adoptive parents. This followed on from 20 years working as a nurse in the NHS. Her experience includes the development of a multidisciplinary clinical service for families experiencing trauma and attachment problems who were reluctant to engage with main-stream social care and mental health services. From 2015-2017 Christina provided trauma consultancy to the clinical team developing a children’s service within the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in the UK.

She also delivers training on child development, trauma and attachment both within the NHS and other education and social care systems across the UK and Ireland.  Her special interest is in early childhood development and the impact of trauma on a child’s developing capacities, functioning and behaviour. From her experience working with children who have endured developmental trauma characterised by neglect and abuse, she has found it necessary to use a comprehensive integrated approach in order to address the multiple complexities which such children present with.

Christina returned to live in Ireland in 2016 and currently works as a Developmental Trauma and Attachment specialist providing training, assessment and clinical interventions on behalf of Tusla Child and Family Agency and in independent practice with birth and adoptive families.