Psychotherapeutic work with families with life-threatening maternal illness

Chinoy, Freni (2015) Psychotherapeutic work with families with life-threatening maternal illness. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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This exploratory research study describes a child and adolescent psychotherapeutic clinical service offered to children/adolescents and their families with mothers with a life-threatening illness. The clinical service itself was also exploratory in nature. The research objectives of the study were (i) to explore whether this form of clinical work could be beneficial for such families in relieving distress and supporting their development; (ii) to discover the factors at play within and between the family members using an adaptation of Grounded Theory research methodology; and (iii) to add to the knowledge base for adults – family members and professionals – relating to, and dealing with, such children and adolescents. Descriptions and discussion of the therapeutic input and research study are given. Symptoms, which included emotional, behavioural, psychological, learning, and interpersonal difficulties, decreased in all the children/adolescents who were offered clinical treatment within an outpatient multidisciplinary Tier 3 Child and Adolescent Service (CAMHS). Six themes were identified across the cases and these were named: Engagement, Parental Concern, Impact of Mother’s Illness, Defences, Sustaining Factors and Feeling Different. These Themes are discussed in the light of relevant published research. A literature review was undertaken and focuses on: epidemiological context; children’s understanding of death; impact of parental bereavement in childhood; the mourning process; anticipatory grief; psychoanalysis: mourning and trauma; children’s play and drawings as communication; and psychosocial therapeutic services. The thesis has particular relevance for child and adolescent psychotherapists and other mental health professionals who work within hospital and hospice settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
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 Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Children, Adolescents and their Families
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Children, Adolescents and their Families, Life, Threatening, Hospital, Hospice, Terminal Illness
Subjects: Emotions, Affective Psychology > Grief/Mourning/Loss
Families > Mother Child Relations
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Family Therapies
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Research, Tests, Assessments > Grounded Theory
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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