How do Child Psychotherapists understand their role when working with children under 5 years old, their families and the professionals around them?

Riddiford, Anna (2021) How do Child Psychotherapists understand their role when working with children under 5 years old, their families and the professionals around them? Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust/University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

Objectives: A small scale qualitative study to explore (i) child psychotherapists’ understanding of their role when working with children under 5’s and their families, within their teams and with the professional networks tasked with supporting children under 5 and (ii) the notion of a child psychotherapists’ ‘role’ within the context in which they are working. Method Seven qualified and ACP registered child psychotherapists who were currently and frequently engaged in work with children under 5 years old took part in semi structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results An examination of the notion of child psychotherapists’ role when working with children under 5’s, their families and the networks around them produced five key themes: ‘work’, ‘task’, ‘position’, ‘duty’ and ‘lived experience’. Conclusions The findings of the research suggested that child psychotherapists working with under 5’s view their role as nuanced and multifaceted. The research also indicated that the psychoanalytic lens used within clinical work extended outside of clinical work and was employed by clinicians in interactions within their teams and in the wider network. Additionally, cross over was observed between the psychoanalytic notion of the role of the mother in mother-infant dyads, the role that the clinician took up within their clinical work and the role that clinicians played when working with individuals or networks of professionals supporting children under 5. This suggested that the management and containment of and capacity to think about anxiety, particularly that of an infantile quality, took place in all aspects of the role of a child psychotherapist. Too, the findings draw attention to the particularities of the skill set and knowledge base held by child psychotherapists, enabling them to play a unique role, not only in direct clinical work, but within their teams and within the network around them too.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Essex for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Groups & Organisations > Occupational Groups
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2636

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