The assumption that human difficulties are within the person who shows the symptom means that service delivery systems are organised around this presumption. Clients are seen within designated services that are labelled by age, gender or symptom category and both assessment and intervention tend to be directed to that individual. A different way of conceptualizing human difficulties is that they are generated in the pattern of interaction between people and perpetuated in relationship. Logically, intervention is then targeted to relationship rather than the individual ‘symptom bearer’.
This is particularly important in working with children with complex difficulties. The complexity may lie in the nature of the presenting problem, for example suicidality or sexualized or extremely violent behaviour, and in the relationships in which the symptoms express themselves. The more systems, family members and helpers involved, the more potential there is for fracture and disagreement and the more complex the matter becomes. In many cases it is impossible to resolve the presenting difficulties until questions about who has the responsibility for the child and problem, and the authority to effect appropriate change, are clearly resolved. Taking this perspective means that it no longer makes sense to cut up the system into pieces and attempt to address matters on an individual basis. The adage ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ aptly describes this understanding.
Upcoming workshop – Emotional Dysregulation
“A neuro-political approach to therapy with emotionally & behaviourally dysregulated children, adolescents & families”
A one-day workshop, combining clinical expertise, knowledge and training within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.
15th March 2019 – 9.30am to 5pm.
Cost $190 for full day training with Senior Practitioners in the field and Bower Place Directors Catherine Sanders and Malcolm Robinson