Referrer engagement in family therapy in the context of child protection: A process study

Haviv-Thomas, Galit (2019) Referrer engagement in family therapy in the context of child protection: A process study. DSysPsych thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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Abstract

This study aimed to identify the significant processes involved in a systemic approach in which the referrer is involved in family therapy when working with families that have safeguarding concerns and who are known to the social care system (Tier 3). The Referrer Engagement Method, is a collaborative approach to work with both the family and referrer. The overall aim of the research study is to show whether this approach improves their therapeutic alliance and the family’s motivation for change. I conducted a focus group with five experienced referrers and seven semi-structured individual interviews with four new referrers. All referrers were from Children's Social Care, one from the voluntary team (Early Help) and the others from the statutory. Grounded theory was used to analyse the individual interviews and thematic analysis to analyse the focus group. The codes were combined. The analysis of the referrers’ accounts identified four significant processes in the approach: Naming power, Opening dialogues, Engaging the system in the room, and Working collaboratively. The referrers saw the families start to take ownership of their changes. Observing and participating in a systemic interview influenced the referrers to expand their practice with families. Some referrers noticed their relationship with the family improved. Referrers found some aspects of the approach challenging in balancing risk and engagement. Working collaboratively was found to create an important space for reflection The study raises implications for the further development of the approach and its application in other contexts, and contributes to ideas about the challenges for social workers working in child protection.

Item Type: Thesis (DSysPsych)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy. Click on 'Organisation' in the Related URLs below to see other titles and abstracts of doctoral systemic and family therapy research carried out on the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy at the Tavistock.
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Protection
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Abuse & Neglect - Psychology
Couple & Family Therapies > Family Therapy - General
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
Related URLs:
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2174

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