Mending Hurts

Promoting recovery from trauma

Mending Hurts is the KCA model for promoting recovery from trauma by enabling people to notice what they, or other people, do in their most effective interactions with vulnerable and traumatised people. When we notice ourselves do something well, we become more conscious of our activity and more competent in it.

'We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body.'

Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

People in a state of toxic stress need to connect with a safe and trusted person to:

  • stabilise their disrupted nervous system,
  • integrate internally so their brain and nervous system are working optimally
  • adapt so that they reconnect to the world around them.

The Mending Hurts Model provides an observable sequence of activity that demonstrates that we are effectively meeting these needs in people who are in a state of toxic stress while promoting recovery from trauma.

Key to being able to apply Mending Hurts is the ability to recognise behaviours as indicators of need – the need for stabilisation or integration or adaptation. Understanding the impact of overwhelming toxic stress and trauma on the human brain and nervous system, is therefore fundamental in being able to recognise and respond to the needs of vulnerable and traumatised individuals.

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'It has helped me have more of an understanding of a way a child is dealing with stress and behaviours associated with this. It was explained in a way no-one had explained it and a way I actually could relate too and understand.'

Participant of KCA training from Cambridgeshire County Council, February 2021

To support practitioners we have developed a range of resources to support the application of Mending Hurts:

  • Mending Hurts workbook: a resource to support practitioners to apply Mending Hurts to their day to day practice, their settings and their communities.
  • Needs, Interventions and Outcomes: a practice tool for use in working with vulnerable children and young people to promote secure attachment, and recovery from trauma. Provides examples of physiological, social and emotional, and cognitive interventions that can support Mending Hurts.
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'It taught me the reason why some people act in the ways they do and how we can help them overcome their trauma.'

Wiltshire Police Officer attending KCA workshop, February 2021

Interview with Kate Cairns