Work Discussion: Learning from Reflective Practice in Work with Children and Families

Editor : Margaret Rustin, Editor : Jonathan Bradley

Part of The Tavistock Clinic Series - more in this series

Work Discussion: Learning from Reflective Practice in Work with Children and Families

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'Work Discussion brings together a combination of close observation of, and personal and interpersonal responses to, the minutiae of the work setting and its dynamics, both internal and external. Such a model depends on the development of hard-won capacities, and the descriptions offered here, both by students and by experienced staff, fully demonstrate the immense relevance of the approach, both to training and to a wide variety of work situations. The book first outlines the process of the method itself, followed by descriptions of a range of settings, both in Britain and abroad, in which that method has been successfully applied. The contributors draw on experiences across age, culture, and race in, for example, schools, hospitals, residential homes, in a prison, and in a refugee community. The final chapter explores the implications of work discussion for research and policy-making more generally. Many of the situations narrated here are extreme, whether in terms of disturbance or of vulnerability, but these pages offer often moving insights into how effective the method can be and how truly impressive a developmental model it provides.'
- Margot Waddell, from the Series Editor's Preface

Reviews and Endorsements

'This is a superb collection, showing from [the perspectives of] both trainee and trainer how real learning is surprising, disturbing and exciting when subjective experience is taken seriously. It's a wonder that the Tavistock's gift to public service development has been kept under wraps for so long.'
- Sebastian Kraemer, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Whittington Hospital; Honorary Consultant, Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust

'How do we help the helpers? Those of us who have worked with troubled individuals and families know how important it is to have both time to reflect with others and the right spaces to do it in. It is the process of talking through that enables practitioners to go on going on - holding them and offering the moments of reprieve. This book shows how work discussion can offer that space for reflection - a must read for practitioners working with children and families.'
- Mary MacLeod, Chief Executive, Family and Parenting Institute

About the Editor(s)

Margaret Rustin is a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, London, where she has been Head of Child Psychotherapy since 1986. She has pioneered and supported the extension of training in psychoanalytic observational approaches to training across the United Kingdom and in a number of other countries. She has coauthored, with Michael Rustin, Narratives of Love and Loss and Mirror to Nature, and has co-edited Closely Observed Infants, as well as Psychotic States in Children and Assessment in Psychotherapy.

More titles by Margaret Rustin

Jonathan Bradley is a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist in the Adolescent Department at the Tavistock Clinic, where he is the Child Psychotherapy Head. He is the Organising Tutor of the PG Dip/MA in Psychoanalytic Studies offered by the Tavistock Clinic and the University of East London. A two-year Work Discussion Seminar has always played a prominent part in this large course. He is author of Coping With Life (addressed specifically to adolescents). He is the Editor of the revised 'Understanding Your Child' series, published by Jessica Kingsley. He is interested in the processes involved in group learning, and he has worked as a staff member in group relations events, both at the Tavistock and the Leicester Conference.

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