International Centre News 1st August 2020

Welcome to our August edition of the IC/TCJ news. This is our second edition of the TCJ focusing on life in residential and foster care with children and young people across the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Herd, CEO of mental health social enterprise Orb8 opens this edition with her paper ‘Anxiety in a Time of Pandemic, Finding a Place for Understanding’ which reflects on the management of anxiety within the context of COVID-19. She questions social responses to those who are seen to flout lockdown rules. Jane calls for understanding rather than recrimination, and reminds us of those who may communicate their anxiety through anti-social actions, due to them facing extreme pressures in their home environments.

In his first of two articles ‘Agents of ChangeKeith White writes about social experiences such as COVID-19, and shares examples of how learning from such situations can positively modify people’s thinking and behaviour. He extends this idea to acknowledge how working within a therapeutic relationship can bring about change for the child, but also reciprocal change in ourselves.

His second piece reminds us that ‘Necessity is the mother of Invention’ and how his own residential community ‘Mill Grove’ has had to adapt to life under COVID-19. These adaptations have included the embracing and regular use of video conferencing to bring the extended community together, and how social distancing has influenced a move to outdoor learning on the Mill Grove site, which has improved the range and quality of play and learning for resident children and families.

This theme of adaptation to COVID-19 continues in the first of  two pieces from St. Christopher’s ( The first article is ‘Maintaining therapeutic relationships through lockdown’ by Rhiannon Thomas. Rhiannon explains the dilemmas of her team who are used to being present in the workplace, have been finding creative ways via video conferencing and live therapeutic art based sessions to work with the anxieties of both children and staff across this time. The second article ‘’How do foster carers help young people with trauma’, is taken from the St Christopher’s website. Sarah McLaughlin shares the work of ‘Sharon’ a foster carer who explains how support from a therapeutic parenting specialist, enabled her to manage the complex behaviours of the three girl siblings, who were placed with her.

Dr Belinda Hopkins writes about ‘RESTORE‘ – a lens through which to look at what children in care, and those supporting them, may need in this time of crisis.

Our final article brought to you by Nicky Hilton from the Planned Environment Therapy Archive. Nicky writes: As we continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic around the globe, society has had to find better, more open ways for us all to discuss mental ill health. So for this issue’s article from the PET Archives we look to Howard Jones and his 1950’s article on the mental health of teenagers. You can find out more about Jones’ life and career on our online catalogue


Forthcoming International Centre events for your diary:

The International Centre for Therapeutic Care and Institute for Recovery from Childhood Trauma
Present an online conference on November 6th 2020 from 10 – 2 pm.

Cost: £20 or £10 early bird booking by October 15th

‘Trauma Informed Practice: Using a BioPsycho-social Model to promote recovery from trauma’

Learning Objectives:

  1. Hear about the latest neuro-developmental research
  2. Gain improved understanding of the importance of adopting a biopsychosocial model to promote trauma recovery
  3. Learn how to use a neurodevelopmental model to inform therapeutic interventions
  4. Learn about the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to trauma recovery.

This event is still in the planning stage, but we are confident of a good range of speakers, and we will be sending out an e-shot with an Eventbrite booking in the Autumn.


International Centre Research Group: Thursday November 26th

Booking details will be sent out in the Autumn

Presentation 1 and discussion: ‘That Sort of Girl…’ Approved Schools for Girls in England and Wales, 1933-1973 by Jessamy Carlson

A presentation centred on Approved Schools for Girls, a Home Office approved institution for children between the ages of ten and seventeen, which operated in England and Wales between the Children & Young Persons Acts in 1933 and 1969. It examines the girls’ schools, a comparatively understudied section of the schools, using Burford House, Gisburne House and the Princess Mary Village Homes, plus others, as the case studies.

Themes emerging in the research currently include:

  • The gendered use of ‘care or protection orders’
  • The experience of the girls committed to Approved Schools
  • The presence of under 10s in the Approved School system
  • Change and continuity in the language of social care of girls in the 20th century
  • The challenges of researching in mid-20th century social care archives

Jessamy Carlson is a PhD researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex where she is supervised by Prof. Pamela Cox. Currently in her long second year, she is undertaking archival research into the Approved Schools for girls at present at various archives in England. She is a qualified archivist and works in London.

Presentation 2 and discussion: Fliss Cadbury will talk about her research based at the Philadelphia Association. She is charting the changes in how we speak and think about psychological distress and disturbance as well as the ways in which it has been managed and treated.

Fliss Cadbury: I  am a Cambridge based psychotherapist and have worked in fairly diverse environments, including Cambridge University Counselling Service, the Emmaus community and the Complex Cases Service at Fulbourn psychiatric hospital. At the moment, I see people via my private practice and do occasional work for Girton College. I trained at the Philadelphia Association in Hampstead  and was joint chair of the PA houses committee for three years.

The PA have run community households (not exactly therapeutic communities, but close) since the 60s when RD Laing and others became interested in community, philosophy and psychotherapy as alternatives to the psychiatric treatments on offer at the time. The first and probably best known was Kingsley Hall, which was intended to offer asylum to those in emotional or psychological distress. There have been many households over the years but currently the PA run two houses in London – there are two house therapists to each house and six or seven residents and they hold house meetings three times a week to encourage residents to reflect on whatever happens to arise out of living together. Personal therapy is encouraged and art therapy is offered free.

My aim with this project is to record interviews with the ex residents and house therapists of one of the houses, from 1973 when it was first established, until 1980. I will then try and map the personal experience of my interviewees onto the changes in the ways in which we speak and think about psychological distress and disturbance over that time, as well as the ways in which it is managed and treated. I have chosen to do this project as part of a p/t History MRes at Goldsmiths’s in London.

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