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Unformatted text preview: Child and Family Social Work 2001, 6, pp 209–217 © 2001 Blackwell Science Ltd INTRODUCTION Many practitioners who work with children and fami- lies will at some point have experienced the difficulty of engaging parents in addressing problems over their troubled children. Defeated, angry, disappointed or puzzled, it is hard for parents to be told that what they do with their children may radically affect how the child behaves. They are sensitive to feelings of being blamed, and often think that professionals place too much responsibility on them for their children’s behaviour, rather than focusing on helping the child to change (Campion 1995). This paper draws on the findings of a small scale pilot process and outcome study in order to demonstrate that play therapy undertaken with an individual child may contribute to improving both parents’ parenting skills and their sense of well-being, if they are appropriately involved in the therapeutic input. The overall purpose of the study was to develop a methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions undertaken by trainee child therapists. For the purposes of this paper, however, we focus on one finding of the study, namely that indi- vidual therapy may be helpful in bringing about changes in the family system, including parenting behaviour. We briefly consider some of the literature on parent training programmes, before describing the methodology of the study.We present our findings on changes in family functioning and illustrate these through three case examples.We discuss the different ways in which individual work with children may have a positive impact on their parents’ way of handling and responding to them. These findings support our main argument that engaging parents in a broadly col- laborative effort may be facilitated by a primary initial attention to their children. PARENTING PROGRAMMES Parenting programmes have developed over the last two decades either at the primary level of interven- 209 Helping parents by working with their children in individual child therapy Kate Wilson* and Virginia Ryan † *Professor of Social Work, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, and † Senior Tutor, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, Heslington, York, UK Correspondence: Kate Wilson, Centre for Social Work, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK Keywords: child therapy outcomes, parenting, play therapy Accepted for publication: March 2001 ABSTRACT The paper describes a small scale pilot process and outcome study that was undertaken at the University of York. The study is based on accounts of treatment interventions with children conducted by trainee play therapists studying on the University’s programme in non-directive play therapy. These are being used to develop a method- ology for evaluating the effectiveness of non-directive play therapy as an intervention for distressed and maltreated children. The focus of this paper is on one finding of the study, namely that play therapy...
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course MHS 6803 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of Central Florida.
- Spring '11