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Course Cost:
July 06, 2019 10:00 am until July 06, 2019 5:00 pm

CCMH, 2-18 Britannia Row, London N1 8PA, UK



"Anger seemed to be his only way to enter into a relationship."

'These children stop being sad. They are not safe enough to be sad.' (Dan Hughes 2017)

First and foremost, presenters will explore how to respond in the moment to a child’s or teenager’s explosive outbursts, damage to property, verbal or physical abuse, defiance and answering back, poor impulse control, and those who seem to actively enjoy hurting and hating. Such children can de-skill and exhaust those around them. Without key relational tools people so often confirm these children’s view of themselves as worthless, ‘a monster’ or ‘scum’.

Interventions exploredmwill include ensuring the child/teenager feels psychologically safe with psychologically aware emotionally regulated adults, who are able to de-escalate rather than get angry themselves. In light of this, we are delighted to have top speaker Alistair Burnett, from the behaviour management and relational change organisation Pivotal Education (Director: Paul Dix, author of When the Adults Change, Everything Changes).

Presenters will also address many of the key reasons why children and teenagers relate to the world and other people primarily through anger. They will therefore give particular focus to the impact of watching domestic violence, of living with unworked-through trauma, emotional neglect or ungrieved loss, of being disciplined through harsh punishment, and/or being bullied. All these life experiences can repeatedly trigger the brain’s RAGE system until, ‘Emotional states become personality traits' (Bruce Perry). Finally, presenters will explore many creative ways in which the child’s/teenager’s painful past can be successfully addressed so they move from blocked trust to trust, and feel safe enough to move from angry reaction to reflection on their life, to grieve, and accept comfort and solace often for the first time.

Benefits from attending this conference

  • Understand the psychological dynamics of angry behaviour
  • Learn how to be with screaming, shouting, hitting, biting, swearing, and answering back etc.
  • Understand the underlying causes of ‘angry about everything’ in order to relate to the child/teenager from a far stronger place of empathy and confidence
  • Learn ways to enable challenging children to use their intensity in creative rather than destructive ways
  • Learn how to form meaningful connections with the most defiant, controlling and disruptive of children/teenagers
  • Understand how to address the unmet psychological needs that so often underpin angry or violent behaviour
  • Learn to recognise when explosive outbursts point to unprocessed trauma or loss and what can be done
  • Take away practical tools and techniques for responding effectively to emotional storms in children and teenagers
  • Learn how to stay emotionally regulated with the most dysregulated child or teenager


Alistair Burnett

Alastair Burnett

Senior Trainer, Pivotal Education. Alastair has taught across a range of inner London comprehensive schools for twenty one years. Having initially trained to be a PE teacher in Gloucestershire, he chose to complete his teaching practises in East London and became hooked on the challenges and reward of being an inner city teacher. For the past six years he has been Deputy Headteacher at a comprehensive school in South London, where he led on Behaviour, Values, Inclusion and Safeguarding. Alastair is proud to have served in a challenging and diverse community school and has extensive experience of leading student support team, staff culture and working with students with complex barriers to learning. Alastair was a governor of a Lambeth PRU with whom he ran a successful partnership of student reintegration back to mainstream. A Pivotal visit to his school in 2013 convinced Alastair what he already believed, that teachers need to be the change they wish to see in their students. Leading on culture and systems, the Pivotal Curriculum became central to the outcomes the school desired for its students.

Dr Margot Sunderland

margot sunderland

Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health, London. Honorary Visiting Fellow at London Metropolitan University, Associate member of The Royal College of Medicine and Child Psychotherapist with over 30 years’ experience of working with children and teenagers. Author of over 20 books in the field of child mental health. What Every Parent Needs to Know (Dorling Kindersley) won First Prize in the British Medical Association Medical Book awards 2007 (Popular Medicine section). Originator of ‘Helping Where it Hurts’, a therapy programme for troubled children in North London schools.

For more details about Dr Margot Sunderland:

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David Taransaud


UKCP Reg. Psychotherapeutic Counsellor for adolescents. Has over 15 years experience working with challenging youth in the most deprived boroughs in London. Frequently presents workshops across the UK and abroad on how to connect, empathise and form a genuine working alliance with troubled and troubling young people. Works as a foreign consultant in Karachi, Pakistan. Independently set up an Art Therapy service in north Uganda in an orphanage for former child soldiers and young people affected by conflict and trauma. His travel journal is available on youtube:  Author of several books on working with traumatised teenagers: You Think I’m Evil: Practical strategies for working with aggressive and rebellious adolescents (2011). I, Monster: Positive ways of working with challenging teens through understanding the adolescent within us (2016). The Rage for Life (2017): A psycho-educational resource for professionals working with young people who have experienced abuse or witnessed domestic violence.

Published books include:




CCMH, 2-18 Britannia Row, London N1 8PA, UK