1st Edition

The Therapeutic School Approach How to Embed Trauma-Informed, Attachment-Aware Practices to Improve Outcomes for All Children

By Shahana Knight Copyright 2025
    280 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    280 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    The Therapeutic School Approach offers teachers and school leaders a step-by-step guide to embedding a trauma-informed approach that is tangible, practical, and brings the underpinning science to life in a way that is relatable and relevant. Placing a keen focus on moving towards a more inclusive way of working, it advocates for a culture that puts wellbeing and mental health at the core of teaching and school life.

    This whole school approach gives readers the tools needed to support children when they are dysregulated by reframing ‘difficult’ behaviour and focusing on emotional intelligence and self-regulation strategies to help children flourish in school and beyond. The book evidences the ‘why’ behind the approach, exploring childhood trauma, attachment theory and stress, and explaining how these factors are impacting children today. It then introduces the ‘how’, looking in detail at trauma-informed responses, behaviour policies, relationships, and the power of the environment. Chapters leave the reader with a wealth of practical strategies, as well a full understanding of key theory so they can champion trauma-informed approaches in their work.

    With real life case studies and scenarios woven throughout, this empowering book challenges perspectives, raises awareness, and inspires the reader to re-evaluate the norm to make a true difference to the children in their care. It will be essential reading for primary school teachers, head teachers, SENCOs, and support staff who want to put children’s wellbeing at the core of their practice.

    Acknowledgements and thanks



    Part 1: The ‘Why’: What We Really Need to Know


    1. My Story

    2. Understanding the Buzzwords ‘Mental Health’ and ‘Wellbeing’

    3. Why Things Need to Change

    4. Stress, Trauma and the Brain

    5. Understanding Attachment in the Context of the Classroom

    6. Re-defining Behaviour Management


    Part 2 – The ‘How’: What You Can Do to Make a Difference


    7. The Therapeutic School Approach

    8. The Therapeutic Teaching approach

    9. The Therapeutic Teaching Steps

    10. Creating a Connection and Regulation Policy

    11. Therapeutic environments and Therapeutic Classrooms




    Shahana Knight is a childhood trauma and behaviour specialist, and the Founder and Managing Director of TPC Therapy, a mental health service which supports schools, care agencies, and national charities through whole organisation courses, therapeutic interventions, and bespoke wrap around support. Shahana’s expertise is in helping people to embed trauma informed, attachment aware approaches in a practical, tangible way that make an evident significant difference to children’s lives. She has a background in child therapy, psychology and education and grew up experiencing adversity and trauma herself. This lived multifaceted experience underpins her work. She is not afraid to question the norm and is dedicated to raising children’s emotional intelligence, self-belief, and mental health.

    “Shahana’s book is a revelation in child-centric education, blending personal insights with actionable strategies, offering a compassionate roadmap for educators and mental health professionals alike.  As someone who has long-admired her work, I am thrilled to see Shahana’s  invaluable insights reaching the widest possible audience.” - Pooky KnightsmithChild Mental Health Expert

    "This book is a remarkable story of Shahana’s personal and professional journey.  Documenting all aspects of her work; from the people themselves (considering stress, trauma, mental health and well-being, to name but a few) to the environments  in which these people work (the therapeutic classroom, connection and regulation and whole-school/setting approaches).  The book is a real treasure trove of useful information, elements that challenge your thinking, actual examples and practical advice.  Throughout the book the real-life examples and scenarios to frame the discussions along with opportunities to reflect upon your own practice.  This book will be useful for anyone working with young people, families and professionals alike, but also stands up as a great read whatever your profession or role in life.  A real triumph in practical, evidence-based story telling that has a direct impact on those involved. Very much recommend reading." - Gareth D Morewood, Education Advisor, Studio III, previously a Secondary SENCo

    "This is a crucial book for everyone involved in education. Shahana Knight shares her expertise, centring mental health and wellbeing at the heart of the teaching profession and supports the reader, through taking a critical stance,  to evaluate their own practice.  This is a powerful read which brings new knowledge and understanding  to trauma informed education and will certainly impact on the lives of many children in our schools." - Roger McDonald, Associate Professor, University of Greenwich

    "This book is essential for any school leader or educator looking to create a truly nurturing and supportive learning environment for their pupils. It goes beyond academics, delving deep into the importance of a child's mental health and wellbeing. Shahana paints a compelling picture of a 'therapeutic school' where children's emotional needs are acknowledged and addressed. This involves understanding how trauma, stress, and attachment styles can impact behaviour and learning. The book highlights the importance of staff development, equipping them with the tools to respond to pupils in a therapeutic and emotionally safe way, fostering a culture of self-reflection and continuous improvement, and ensuring that every child feels supported to thrive. I highly recommend this book to anyone dedicated to creating a school that truly reflects the needs of today's children." - John Magee, Founder of Kindness Matters and Author of The Happy Tank