Creating a link between CAMHS and children's centres in a deprived area: A case of setting up a Work Discussion Group

Zacharia, Eleni (2020) Creating a link between CAMHS and children's centres in a deprived area: A case of setting up a Work Discussion Group. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust/University of East London. Full text available

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This thesis explores the process of setting up a Child Psychotherapy-led outreach service in Children’s Centres (CC) in a deprived urban setting. Our team decided that setting up Work Discussion Groups (WDGs) for CC staff would be the best starting point towards engaging and sensitising frontline workers to early signs of mental health problems. This research focuses primarily on exploring both CC staff and Child Psychotherapists’ (CPs’) experience of participating in this initiative. Semistructured interviews were conducted and then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), coupled with a psychoanalytic understanding, to shed light into the lived experience of the participants in this project. The author draws attention to CC being containers for significant child and parental anxieties. The CC’s increasing safeguarding role is a concerning finding of this study as it is particularly stressful for CC staff and has implications for their practice. The study - in line with existing literature- highlights the importance of time and a consistent ‘therapeutic presence’ in CC. Understanding the culture of the institution and taking into account the impact of deprivation and financial insecurity are essential aspects to be considered when designing and implementing an intervention in a deprived community. Powerful dynamics that give rise to unconscious attacks on the outreach worker, splitting between good and bad services, paranoid anxieties and lack of trust are likely to occur. CC staff struggle with managing safeguarding concerns while they tend to focus more on parents’ difficulties and developmental issues and less on children’s emotional wellbeing and attachment to their carers. The author suggests that CC staff could benefit from working closely with CPs and from participating in WDGs on a regular and voluntary basis, so that they can be better equipped to think about children’s emotional states.

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 East London for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, University of East London
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adolescents - Psychotherapy
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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