International Centre News April 2020

A warm welcome to our 1st April edition. To keep you buoyant through these challenging times we bring you a feed of stimulating and informed papers.

The mission of the International Centre is:
‘To share models of therapeutic care, and to extend the influence and insights gained from our member networks, in order to improve services and outcomes for traumatised children and young people, their families and communities’.

We open this edition with a paper by Bob Hinshelwood and Luca MingarelliWho do you think you are? – adolescent groups and everyday life’. The paper was written for the 2012 conference of the ‘Rosa Dei Venti’ therapeutic community organisation in Italy. This paper highlights and explores the core developmental issues of identity and maturity in adolescents, with a focus on the dilemmas raised for workers who often experience a rejection of their care, when working with traumatised adolescents in specialist therapeutic settings.

Colin Maginn writes about ‘a modest proposal to help children in public care’. This article opens with a light touch, but quickly reminds us of the seriousness of implications for policies and practices which mitigate against the use of human contact and touch for children in care. He comments; ’The absence of human touch for a maltreated child is likely to strike at their emotional core’.

Keith White offers his two regular pieces from his work at Mill Grove. His first, ‘the silence’ explores just that – the value of staying attuned to the other through quiet attention and reflection, and his second piece ‘the therapeutic potential of fairy stories’, is a reconnection with the book ‘The Uses of Enchantment’ by Bruno Bettelheim. Keith reminds us of the importance of the opportunities created for the emotional development of children through symbolic story-telling. He comments on fairy tales; ‘they speak about a child’s inner pressures in ways that she understands unconsciously, while at the same time offering examples of both temporary and permanent solutions to the pressing difficulties’. Maybe we need to rediscover the power of such stories for children, in an increasingly virtual world.

Jen Galloway, archivist at the Planned Environment Therapy Archive, unearths another fascinating piece ‘A children’s court for Bullies’ by Robert Laslett who was a lecturer in Education, at the Dept for Special Education, University of Birmingham. This paper comes from Special Education: Forward Trends, Vol 9, No.1 which was published in April 1982.

We finish with a short update on developments and events at The Mulberry Bush Third Space by Marya Hemmings, Project Manager.

Please do keep sending us your papers and news for publication.

John Diamond

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