Psychotherapy with looked after children: some common themes and technical interventions

Robson, Lucy (2014) Psychotherapy with looked after children: some common themes and technical interventions. DPsych thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

Looked After Children (LAC) were previously thought to be too damaged to use psychotherapy, however practice has moved on and LAC are increasingly making up a larger proportion of psychotherapist’s case loads. The literature in this field consists predominantly of individual case studies focusing on the internal worlds of LAC. Although the experiences of psychotherapists working with this cohort have started to be thought about, this research uses Grounded Theory to explore the collective experiences and technical considerations of seven psychotherapists who were interviewed about their work with LAC. This approach enables a systematic exploration of this type of work and provides a more comprehensive understanding of current practice. The research reveals that it is possible to find specificity in the psychotherapeutic work being done with LAC and it both confirms previous ideas in this field as well as producing new insights. The categories produced by Grounded Theory enabled a theory to be developed about the work psychotherapists do externally with the network of adults surrounding the child and internally with the individual child in therapy. The external work is divided into problems in the network, the value of work with networks and the impact of this work on the individual relationship with the child. Internal work with the child is divided into a) making and pacing interpretations, b) whether to work with the transference and maternal transference, c) countertransference responses to deprivation and stretching boundaries, d) challenges to analytic neutrality and e) positivity. Overall the material has important implications for practice as psychotherapists feel they are often more flexible, warm and active with LAC. This research helps us to re-think what psychotherapy is for this cohort and encourages psychotherapists to feel that it is their psychoanalytic understanding, rather than strict analytic traditional approaches which can help reach these children.

Item Type: Thesis (DPsych)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2014 15:27
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:47
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/70

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