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A whole school approach to understanding complex developmental trauma

Mears, Jack


Jack Mears


Paul Walton

Joanne Beckett


This portfolio thesis consists of three parts: a systematic literature review, an empirical report and supporting appendices.
Part one is a systematic literature review exploring looked after children’s psychological experiences of education across the UK. A systematic search identified 14 studies. A narrative synthesis of the findings revealed 4 themes: (1) Relationships with Peers and Professionals, (2) The Feeling of Safety and Belonging, (3) The Importance of Equity, and (4) Stereotypes and Discourses. The narrative which emerged from the synthesis was summarised and discussed in the context of future implications for clinical practice and future research.
Part two is an empirical research paper which used a qualitative methodology, Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine the operations of discursive constructs of children who have experienced complex developmental trauma via interviewing teachers. Analysis revealed 3 popular discourses: (1) trauma informed, (2) educational, and (3) individualistic. The findings are discussed and implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
Part three consists of the appendices which support both the systematic literature review and empirical research paper. The appendices also include a reflective statement and epistemological statement.


Mears, J. (2022). A whole school approach to understanding complex developmental trauma. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords Clinical psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychological Health, Wellbeing and Social Work, The University of Hull
Award Date May 1, 2022


Thesis (1.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2022 Mears, Jack. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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