Every GP and Health Practitioner has had the experience of contact with a parent or carer who is concerned about the wellbeing of a child and at a loss about what to do to help. What exactly can be done?
Most often parents and carers in this situation find that GP's and Health Practitioners advise that a referral to someone else should be made - maybe to a CAMHS service or a Paediatrician or a Psychologist. Maybe to a local counselling service.
What you may find yourself being drawn into is discussions about diagnosis and disorders.. You may find yourself supporting referrals to a number of different people as part of this process - which can take months and years.
Sometimes these referrals may prove helpful. However too often the parent-carer can find themselves on a long waiting list, or seeing someone for an intervention that involves only a brief intervention followed by a discharge or further referral onto someone else. This is a process that fuels escalation...
However here is something that is too often missed. One of the sensitive issues that is often not discussed is Relationship Health. Why should this be I wonder?
A stressed parent may think that you are implying that they are causing all the problems. This will not go down well. However if a child has some additional needs and sensitivities then the adult is going to need some advanced insight and skills. This is the issue that is getting missed.
I have a professional view that diagnosis of disorders in children is not appropriate UNTIL everyday adult-child relationships are first in a reasonably healthy and confident place. This is because problems in relationship health can have a lot of resemblances to the challenges that are often described with disorders. In this situation a misdiagnosis can exacerbate the problems.
This sounds challenging and radical. It is quite challenging. It is quite radical but I am not a particularly radical person. This is not about blaming parents or professionals. However after years of practice in this field I do think that we need to do some new thinking about how we guide people who are asking for help.
Training in the I Matter Framework aims to help you have a clearer way of making sense of the difficulties that you are regularly being asked to respond to with greater clarity of formulation. When resources are tight it really matters that energy and time is directed in the right places because the decisions and guidance that you offer families can have really long term impact.
To get you started you could review
Or you may be interested in
The I Matter Intensive
The Pillars of the I Matter Framework
This training will equip you to be more effective in supporting children and their families.
Assessing Relationship Health Needs at School
Revisiting Home-School Relationships
Building Connections with Parents and Why This Matters
Working with Parents who are Anxious and Challenging
Parenting Skills Development - Who is Responsible?
Relationship Health and Children's Mental Health
Relationship Health and Children's Physical Health
Relationship Health and Crime
Relationship Health and Education Outcomes
This site is newly set up and I want it to be as helpful and relevant as possible. Do you have a question or challenge about supporting parents and carers that you would like ideas about? If so, please share it!
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Dr Cathy Betoin
Clinical Psychologist, Teacher, Parent
May 15, 21 02:22 AM
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