Children playing on a beach at sunset

Overcoming Trauma Through Connection & Relationships

Training and consultation for professionals who support children and families

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Who am I?

Dr Billy Smythe

I am a Clinical Psychologist and Trainer, Consultant and Practitioner in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). 

I specialise in supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma in relationships, loss and separation and I was a Clinical Psychologist for 12 years in the NHS and trauma psychology services before making the move into independent practice in 2021.

What is DDP?

DDP is an approach to therapy, parenting and professional practice first developed by Dr Dan Hughes. When children experience developmental trauma, loss and separation their core sense of safety in relationships is harmed and they have missed out on opportunities to build security. DDP offers way of helping these children feel safe and start to trust in relationships. DDP is about developing healthy relationships and creating new stories of connection, strength and resilience within families.



I provide training for professionals in all aspects of trauma, DDP and the central DDP attitude of PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy). As a DDP Trainer I provide DDP Level One and DDP Level Two trainings as well as bespoke trainings that are tailored to the needs of the group and offer both an understanding and an experience of PACE in action. My DDP PACE training is supported by the DDP Institute.

Consultation & Development of Services

I work closely with numerous Local Authority, NHS and Regional Adoption Agencies and independent services in the UK. I help organisations bring DPP principles to life and embed DDP as a model and framework for practice at all levels. I support organisations to build confidence in practice that is reflective, compassionate, open and can keep relational connection at heart - even when circumstances are challenging.

I offer regular consultation for teams and groups online and in person. My passion is developing on-going relationships with organisations and providing consultation at a systemic and strategic level. As an experienced DDP Consultant, I am pro-active and focussed on building in-house skills and long-term sustainability. I have guided services along the journey of deeply embedding the culture and practice of DDP and to become recognised for their great practice, for example, Adoption Central England are a DDP Certified Organisation with DDPI.


I offer supervision that supports with clinical and therapeutic interventions with children and families and DDP specific supervision that develops and supports professionals train and become DDP Practitioners and Consultants

Sunset with waves

About My Work

For over a decade I learnt so much from the children and families I got to know in therapy. Whilst this was the most enriching and rewarding time, I also recognise how working with distress and trauma is hard and challenging too. In recent years, I have altered my focus from DDP therapy to the system of professionals that support children and families where trauma is making life difficult.

This continues to be inspiring work. I am in awe of the way the professionals that I support stay true to their values, hold onto empathy and continually work to build connection - even when services and the system can feel depleted, overwhelmed and in a state of threat.

Whilst DDP is not a complete antidote to broader issues, the consultations I facilitate offer workers the opportunity to slow down, to re-balance, to share heartfelt stories and make sense of complexity together. Workers re-connect with the DDP model, helping them build skills and confidence and maintain compassion. This in turn is incredibly beneficial for the children and families that they support. I am grateful that a model exists that validates regulation, relationships and meaning making. DDP is more than just providing workers with training, it needs nurturing too!

I am passionate about offering a PACE-ful experience to workers and demonstrating that this way of working - together and with families – is entirely possible and should be the mainstream!

Dr Billy Smythe


Staff are overwhelmingly positive about the regular DDP consultations they attend. They say they were helpful in anchoring the service through change and providing staff with a regulating, reflective space, which supported them with the impact of challenging circumstances and complex work. The consultations were described as helpful in keeping the trained staff connected with the theory’s principles and in supporting them to consolidate skills and translate principles into practice in their roles

Ofsted, inspection report, December 2022

Billy was a fantastic trainer, really engaging, passionate about DDP and inspiring. I could see him using PACE in the training with us

I was fascinated and encouraged by how well the needs of deaf people were catered for on this course... It felt very natural and normal and did not feel like anyone was being treated differently

Consultation offers a safe and supported space to explore issues of challenge and situations which are stuck and to be reminded of and practise connection through a DDP lens

Working with Billy during my DDP practicum journey has been an incredibly enriching experience for me. His dedication to my growth and development as a practitioner has been evident from the beginning; his guidance and support has nurtured my learning and he always creates a space which feels comfortable and safe. Billy’s genuine passion, and his empathetic approach, combined with his skills in exploring and navigating complex scenarios has been invaluable

Connect With Me

Children playing on a beach at sunset

If you are wondering about working together or would like to think about training please feel free to drop me an e-mail and get in touch