Working relationally with looked after children: the role of residential therapeutic carers

Ferris, Eleanor G. (2013) Working relationally with looked after children: the role of residential therapeutic carers. D.Clin.Psych. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

Section A is a literature review evaluating the role of Therapetuic Care Workers (TCWs) and Therapeutic Foster Carers (TFCs) working relationally with a sub-group of Looked After Children (LAC) who are highlighted as having intense emotional and behavioural needs. These LAC are thought to benefit from living in specialist, therapeutic placements where carers work relationally. However, to date, there is no known review evaluating relational residential interventions or the role of TCWs and TFCs. Therefore, literature exploring the theoretical underpinnings of the work, and the emotional impact and protective factors involved in the carer role is considered. Implications for future research and clinical practice are suggested.
Section B describes a qualitative study which explores how TCWs experience their role and their perceptions of the potential benefits for LAC. A qualitative design using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) was applied.
Methods. Nine TCWs currently working in one of two therapeutic communities were interviewed.
Results. Five master themes were identified: ‘Therapeutic group living’; ‘Importance of carer-child relationships’; ‘Working with the unconscious’; ‘Personal meaning of professional role’, and ‘Children’s progress’. Participants considered that forums for reflection were crucial to their ability to think clearly and analytically about the children, and utilised psychodynamic concepts to gain insight into the children’s inner worlds. TCWs’ increased self-awareness was central to this process. Participants also reported experiencing their role as emotionally challenging. One focus of reflection was on the small steps of progress the children were perceived to achieve.
Conclusions. Overall, the findings suggested a synergy between relevant theory, descriptive accounts of therapeutic childcare, and TCWs’ perceptions of their role. New information regarding the personal investment of TCWs and internalisation of the framework of practice was identified. Further research is needed to extend the evidence-base. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: looked after children; therapeutic communities; attachment; relational approaches; therapeutic care workers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV0701 Children
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0790 Mental health services. Mental illness prevention
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ0499 Mental disorders. Child psychiatry
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Mrs Kathy Chaney
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 12:43
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2017 13:35
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12271

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00