Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood in Care - 22nd June & 6th July

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Event description
A new GAPS workshop delivered by Stephen Mills

About this event

Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood in Care

A workshop delivered over two sessions

Part 1 - Tuesday 22nd June 9.15am - 12.30pm

Part 2 - Tuesday 6th July 9.15am - 12.30pm

(Participants will do some reflective work between sessions and return for the second session with their discoveries)

In these two workshops participants will consider how in everyday language and practice social workers construct and reconstruct children involved in the care system. The workshops are drawn from presenter, Stephen Mills' recent research.

Why is this subject important and relevant? - Because it is in adults’ professional language and practice that children in care and their needs are ‘made’.

Who is it relevant to? - Social workers and others working with children in care.

What will the workshops enable me to do? - You will notice how in your everyday language and practice you (and your colleagues) are (often unconsciously) constructing children/childhood and care.

What have these ideas got to do with care? - Professional language and practice not only construct children, they also construct the care that children can receive.

These two workshops will provide participants with opportunities to:

  • engage with current research in the field
  • take part in reflective conversations
  • consider connections between theory and practice
  • reflect on their own caring, ethical, and relational practices.

Session 1

  • Stephen will present aspects of his thesis using examples from both theory and practice.
  • Participants will have opportunities to discuss the research.
  • Using the discussion as a springboard participants will have opportunities to reflect on how they are ‘constructing’ children in both their own individual practices and with colleagues in multi-agency networks around the child.
  • Participants will have opportunities to reflect on how professional constructions of children also construct children’s ‘needs’ for care.

Between the first and second session participants will be invited to ‘notice’ how their own (and others’) language and practices construct and reconstruct children in care, and to bring these examples for discussion.

Session 2

This session will:

  • offer participants the opportunity to reflect on their own use of language and how it has the power to shape children’s lives.
  • show through discussion of practice examples how everyday professional language and practice contains (often) invisible constructions of children, childhood, and care.
  • show how these constructions may at times limit wider and potentially more ethical possibilities for constructing children and their care.

		Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood in Care  - 22nd June & 6th July image

Stephen Mills is a systemic psychotherapist currently working in the NHS as an Associate Lecturer and Doctoral Supervisor for candidates on the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice at the Tavistock in London. He has spent several years working in CAMHS teams, most notably with children in the care system. His own doctoral thesis is concerned with the way child/hoods in the care system are constructed, the role that professional networks around the child play in these constructions, and the implications these constructions have for the care children receive.

Examiners of Stephen’s thesis said it demonstrates a ‘strong ethics of care for children’, an ‘impressive range of relevant knowledge across a range of disciplines’, and a ‘strong practitioner perspective’.


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Organiser GAPS

Organiser of Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood in Care - 22nd June & 6th July

GAPS is a registered charity promoting relationship-based approaches, and psychodynamic and systemic thinking in social work. We receive an income from our ownership of the Journal of Social Work Practice which we use to fund activities for front-line social work practitioners and managers – such as one-day workshops and seminars, as well as our annual essay award for social work practitioners and students.  

In 1980s, a group of social workers interested in working with psychodynamic ideas established GAPS (Group for the Advancement of Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy in Social Work) and the Journal of Social Work Practice. Since that time, GAPS has promoted the importance of relationship-based approaches in social work, and therapeutic, psychodynamic and systemic perspectives – perspectives that are central to the editorial policy of the Journal of Social Work Practice, which is owned by the GAPS membership.

Journal of Social Work Practice
This ISI ranked, refereed Journal publishes four issues each year and, as such, it is one of the few social work journals that is centrally concerned with promoting the importance of working therapeutically with the children and adults. The Journal has a wide international readership and editorial correspondents, and attracts regular contributions from abroad. Every issue includes papers that are drawn from a wide spectrum of therapeutic interest, including book reviews, commentaries and conceptual themes that explore psychodynamic and therapeutic ideas and ways of working. Also, the Journal regularly publishes special editions where the focus is on specific themes - such as the importance of relationship-based approaches; the importance and impact of defences in social work; work with children; work with adults; etc. The Journal is published and distributed by Taylor and Francis; members are sent four copies of the Journal a year, and can also access a range of other benefits and resources.

If you have a question or would like more information about GAPS or our events, please get in contact with the Project Co-ordinator, Hannah Pepper by email or by phone 07714 237107

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