This book includes a wide range of interested observers and practitioners in the field of children in care and adoption, focusing on a core aspect of their emotional well-being and mental health. It focuses in particular on psychoanalytic, systemic and attachment theory approaches to the question of "belonging": can these children allow themselves to belong to their new families, and also can these new families allow themselves to belong to these children? Highly innovative clinical work with these children in various settings is discussed alongside chapters that provide thought-provoking commentaries from practitioners surveying the often extremely disturbing societal and systemic landscape for the emotional lives of these children.
The book is written to be accessible to clinicians, practitioners, researchers, policy advisors and students of all disciplines who have an interest in or brief to work with fostered and adopted children. It is hoped that the book will be used for teaching purposes on courses qualifying professionals across the child development, mental health and social care spectrum.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"All children need to know that they belong. In this extraordinarily rich collection of chapters, expert authors from a wide range of professions and theoretical persuasions explore this great and often unmet need amongst the most troubled children and young people in society, and reflect on how to respond in helpful and healing ways. This book will help to establish the whole theme of belonging as an area of focus and concern both in professional practice and in academic discourse."
- Adrian Ward, author of Leadership in Residential Child Care and formerly consultant social worker at the Tavistock Clinic
"Written by a multidisciplinary group of professionals, this book should become a basic text as it is essential reading for all parents, social workers, and therapists working with a child experiencing attachment, trauma, separation, and loss. The book shows how a child and his or her caregivers’ primitive protections against anxiety prohibit intimacy and dependency, and how understanding the projected feelings evoked in the adults and the child can lead to a sense of belonging to one another and avoid ruptured relationships."
- Jeanne Magagna, former Head of Psychotherapy Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
"This is a well-timed contribution to the field of social care and psychotherapy. Towards Belonging is full of practical examples, useful concepts, and philosophical riches located within real practice settings that are cognizant of, and affected by, state and social policy contexts. The book is a rallying call for the recognition of the complexity of practice at a time when financial cuts create restrictive practices that pervade mental health and social care services. What impresses in each contribution is the author’s commitment to engage with head and heart in finding ways to help children to belong."
- Jim Wilson, consultant systemic family therapist and author of Child-Focused Practice: A Collaborative Systemic Approach and The Performance of Practice: Enhancing the Repertoire of Therapy with Child
Table of Contents:
Series Editor’s Preface
About the Editor and Contributors
1) Towards belonging: conceptual definitions—Andrew Briggs
2) Some reflections on “towards belonging” for children in care: guided journey or “wandering lost”?—Richard Rollinson
3) Towards belonging: the role of a residential setting—John Diamond
4) Establishing a sense of belonging for looked after children: the journey from fear and shame to love and belonging—Jim Walker
5) From owning to belonging—Jenny Sprince
6) Belonging inside: a child in search of herself—Becky Wylde
7) The smell of belonging—Lesley Maroni
8) Fostering relationships for looked after children—Sara Barratt
9) Existential yearning: a family systemic perspective on belonging—John Hills
About the Editor:
Andrew Briggs is Head of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, and an organizational consultant with many years experience working with senior managers and teams within public sector and not-for-profit organizations delivering services to adopted and children in care. He is a visiting lecturer to Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation Trust for courses on public sector leadership and management, and was a former Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Kent Institute for Medical and Health Studies, University of Kent. He is the author of many peer-reviewed papers on aspects of child and adolescent psychotherapy and editor of two books in the Karnac Tavistock series: Surviving Space: Papers on Infant Observation (2002), and Waiting to be Found: Papers on Children in Care (2012).