Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatized Children and Young People: Theory and Practice

Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatized Children and Young People: Theory and Practice

Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatized Children and Young People: Theory and Practice

Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatized Children and Young People: Theory and Practice

Synopsis

"Based on work carried out by staff at a therapeutic community over a number of years. Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatized Children and Young People provides a clear and comprehensive link between theory and practice. The author shows how practice in residential child care, fostering and other areas of work with children can be developed in a way that is thoughtful and underpinned by a sound theoretical base. An invaluable record of working with emotionally traumatized children, this book is an in-depth account of a 'thinking culture' which provides continual opportunities to respond to children's needs in innovative ways - these include useful suggestions on a range of key issues including education and play, primary provision, sexuality and aggression." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The developing self has fundamental needs that must be discerned by parents and carers. Infants begin their lives dependant on others to recognize and then realize their needs and wishes. Without this experience over time, they have little chance to become and know themselves. It is not, as Franklin Giddins once observed, that two heads are better than one. Rather, it is that two (or more) heads are needed for one. the infant is vulnerable to both a lack of empathic response from his carers and to intrusive assault, especially where adults use the infant as a receptacle for their own excesses or unmet needs. in the absence of empathic response to the infant's communications, emotional and psychological growth in the child is severely endangered.

The chapters in this book represent the empathic immersing of many therapeutic workers in the recorded experiences of a community of children who had suffered deprivation and abuse during the early months and years of their lives. This weekly group reflection sought to support the children's 24-hour care, the therapeutic aim of which was to set free and revitalize atrophied maturational processes in order that development could continue.

Maturational processes, of course, do not unfold solely and inevitably within the child but presuppose relationships. It is essential therefore to remember that the difficult or challenging behaviour of children is adaptive to the relationships into which they were born. Where a crying child meets, over time, no concerned response from his carer, or receives, instead, physical abuse, he will not recognise and feel his own sadness or pain. Emerging feeling states will constitute a source of danger and will need to be ignored or attacked, as they were by his carers.

Professionals refer sometimes, by way of shorthand, to 'unintegrated children', or to those with 'attachment disorders'. in such understandable attempts to give order to an otherwise bewildering presenting sequence of challenging behaviours, our language can in fact create new problems. We may speak as if the child's difficulties reside only within him. This becomes more than a linguistic issue when it begins to have implications for our capacity to remain hopeful about change or to maintain confidence in our own ability to be of value. At worst, we may commit ourselves, almost, to a vain search for modern variants of (and experts in) suppression or exorcism . . .

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