In this workshop Margaret will describe a group used in the Early Childhood Unit at Redbank for carers and children with strained relationships and history of trauma. Children and parents/carers attend the group together, and the group offers a supportive space for carers and children to interact as part of the whole group activity, and for carers to reflect on their experience of brief play sessions held during the group time. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the concepts and to practice some of the skills used in the group.
As new understandings about trauma have emerged so has an exciting array of innovative techniques. Until now, the focus of these techniques has remained largely on individuals and exploiting their relationship context is often an untapped resource. What are the best ways to manage relationship dynamics and harness them for good outcomes? Using video tape and case examples this presentation considers how large scale traumatic events affect groups of people and it identifies principles and goals that can also apply to individuals.
The family therapy field has long recognized a common pattern of a soft /hard split that develops in response to parenting a symptom bearing child. One parent adapts to the anxiety about the child with increased nurturing and the other shifts to a complimentary position of increased discipline and limit setting. This reciprocity appears to happen automatically in many families faced with the challenge of a child’s symptoms and gradually intensifies as each instinctively reacts to the other’s interaction with their child.
Many couples present to a session wanting help because of a lack of connection and intimacy with each other. When a traumatic incident has occurred, working through intimacy issues can be more complex and overwhelming for the couple and Therapist alike. At times there can be a dynamic where one person in the couple has higher needs in response to the trauma. Sessions can become easily unbalanced and neutrality can be difficult to maintain.