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Engaging the non-offending parent in a process of change Dr. Karen M. Nielsen, Registered Clinical Social Worker & Dr. Ann Marie Dewhurst Registered Psychologist.

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Presentation on theme: "Engaging the non-offending parent in a process of change Dr. Karen M. Nielsen, Registered Clinical Social Worker & Dr. Ann Marie Dewhurst Registered Psychologist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engaging the non-offending parent in a process of change Dr. Karen M. Nielsen, Registered Clinical Social Worker & Dr. Ann Marie Dewhurst Registered Psychologist

2 Two Stories Cindy’s Story Cindy’s Story Crystal’s Story Crystal’s Story Reflect on your initial responses to the two stories. Write this down and park it for now. Reflect on your initial responses to the two stories. Write this down and park it for now. What are your initial reactions to mom in each of the stories. What are your initial reactions to mom in each of the stories. Physical Physical Emotional Emotional Cognitive – thoughts and beliefs Cognitive – thoughts and beliefs Professional Professional

3 After disclosure Non Offending parent Child’s needs & demand Mandated Systems’ Needs & Demands Partner’s Needs& Demands Social System’s Needs & Demands

4 However… Three agendas Three agendas Therapeutic – to help support and protect the child. Therapeutic – to help support and protect the child. Investigative – to find out “what happened” and decide parental competencies. Investigative – to find out “what happened” and decide parental competencies. Judicial – to assist the judicial system to stop and charge the offender. Judicial – to assist the judicial system to stop and charge the offender.

5 Creating Resistance Where the agendas conflict the Investigative and Judicial agendas are privileged. Where the agendas conflict the Investigative and Judicial agendas are privileged. Parents understand this. Parents understand this. This can support resistance. This can support resistance.

6 Non-offending Parental Responses Working With Nurturing Expressive Seeking Engaging Collaborative Ambivalent Questioning Lost Unsure Frustrated Helpless Stressed Confused Distancing/ avoidant Working Against Angry Overwhelmed Defiant “antisocial” Defensive Hopeless Rejecting / avoidant

7 Defining Resistance Opposition to somebody or something. Opposition to somebody or something. Refusing to accept or comply with something. Refusing to accept or comply with something. Attempt to avoid damaging effects. Attempt to avoid damaging effects. Attempt to maintain power or control. Attempt to maintain power or control. Force opposing another force. Force opposing another force.

8 Fear People are often afraid of what they don’t know or understand. People are often afraid of what they don’t know or understand. People are often afraid of what they might lose or what they might have to do. People are often afraid of what they might lose or what they might have to do. People are not always confident in their ability to make change. People are not always confident in their ability to make change.

9 Fear and Resistance

10 Understanding the non-offending parent’s context Non- offending parent Financial situation Overall level of functioning Past trauma experiences Family structure Power Dynamics In family Social Supports Cultural Context Resiliencies

11 Expanding Context Adherence to female stereotype Being a mother is life goal Being a mother is life goal Need a man Need a man Belief in Prince Charming and Happy Ever After Belief in Prince Charming and Happy Ever After Lack of voice and power Lack of voice and power Unsupportive environments Financially unstable and under funded Financially unstable and under funded Constant moving and changing home environments Constant moving and changing home environments Negative peers or partner’s negative peers Negative peers or partner’s negative peers Physical isolation – rural, no car, etc. Physical isolation – rural, no car, etc.

12 Expanding Context Lack of education/underemployed/overworked Lack of positive mentors & supports Poor & / or distant relationship with mother Poor & / or distant relationship with mother Absent or abusive father Absent or abusive father Abandonment issues with significant care givers Abandonment issues with significant care givers Limited social connections Limited social connections

13 Expanding Context Trauma experiences Early childhood sexual and/or physical abuse Early childhood sexual and/or physical abuse Witness to domestic violence Witness to domestic violence Battering experiences as adult by one or more partners Battering experiences as adult by one or more partners Emotional neglect and absence of experienced nurturing Emotional neglect and absence of experienced nurturingAddiction Drugs and alcohol Drugs and alcohol Gambling Gambling Internet chat rooms Internet chat rooms Mental health issues FASD FASD Depression & anxiety disorders Depression & anxiety disorders PTSD PTSD Eating & sleeping disorders, dissociative coping patterns, etc. Eating & sleeping disorders, dissociative coping patterns, etc.

14 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Physiological = health, food, sleep Physiological = health, food, sleep Safety = shelter, removal from danger Safety = shelter, removal from danger Belonging = love, affection, being a part of groups (including a couple or family group) Belonging = love, affection, being a part of groups (including a couple or family group) Esteem = self-esteem and esteem from others Esteem = self-esteem and esteem from others Need to know and understand Need to know and understand Self-actualization = Self-actualization = achieving individual potential. achieving individual potential. transcendence = helping others achieve their potential transcendence = helping others achieve their potential

15 Understanding a Parent’s context helps by… allowing us to understand important sources of resistance. allowing us to understand important sources of resistance. When we have a better understanding of the source of resistance we can: When we have a better understanding of the source of resistance we can: build alliances to overcome what is troubling the parent. build alliances to overcome what is troubling the parent. avoid engaging in power struggles that keeps people stuck. avoid engaging in power struggles that keeps people stuck.

16 Push & Pull Pushing = forcing someone to act where they have no option but to obey. Pushing = forcing someone to act where they have no option but to obey. Based on another having authority that impacts the needs of the person. Based on another having authority that impacts the needs of the person. The level of threat is perceived as high and real. The level of threat is perceived as high and real. Pulling = creating conditions that they chose themselves. Pulling = creating conditions that they chose themselves. showing them how something else will be beneficial to them. showing them how something else will be beneficial to them. They decide rather than just you deciding. They decide rather than just you deciding.

17 Example of pushing & pulling Kids taken into care (push) Kids taken into care (push) Won’t come home until you change (push) Won’t come home until you change (push) Push to comply Push to comply Compliance for conformity sake (push) Compliance for conformity sake (push) Seek to engage on shared understanding of safety (pull) Seek to engage on shared understanding of safety (pull) Resist acceptance of the major theme of person is problem (pull) Resist acceptance of the major theme of person is problem (pull) Externalise the problem (pull) Externalise the problem (pull)

18 Push Short term option. Short term option. Creates fear Creates fear Create the crisis in some cases Create the crisis in some cases Requires the least effort from external sources. Requires the least effort from external sources. Works best in situations where you just need to get people moving. Works best in situations where you just need to get people moving.

19 Pulling Creates desire rather than fear Creates desire rather than fear Involves changing how the person perceives the world such that they want to change Involves changing how the person perceives the world such that they want to change Involves learning about: Involves learning about: what the person wants what the person wants how they decide what they want. how they decide what they want.

20 Starting to Pull Where and how you’ve lived influences how you understand reality – experience matters. Where and how you’ve lived influences how you understand reality – experience matters. The words you use can be liberating or limiting – our reality is reflected in our language. The words you use can be liberating or limiting – our reality is reflected in our language.

21 Starting to Pull We have to have a model to move to before change can happen. We have to have a model to move to before change can happen. stories of change help to model change. stories of change help to model change. The stories we experienced influence our ability to see possibilities and have hope. The stories we experienced influence our ability to see possibilities and have hope. When we shift our viewpoint within our own stories we see new options for alternative truths. When we shift our viewpoint within our own stories we see new options for alternative truths.

22 Helper’s viewpoint Return to your reflection and the two stories Return to your reflection and the two stories Has your reaction changed Has your reaction changed What biases might you have when working with these women? What biases might you have when working with these women? Which woman would you find easier to help? Which woman would you find easier to help?

23 Lets take a break 10 minutes please 10 minutes please

24 Interventions

25 Non-offending Parental Responses Working With Nurturing Expressive Seeking Engaging Collaborative Ambivalent Questioning Lost Unsure Frustrated Helpless Stressed Confused Distancing/ avoidant Working Against Angry Overwhelmed Defiant “antisocial” Defensive Hopeless Rejecting / avoidant

26 Resistance is not futile Resistive Non-offending Parents Resistive Non-offending Parents Have experience resisting. Have experience resisting. Resistance is how they have survived. Resistance is how they have survived. We do what we know. Coping strategies previously called upon return and are sometimes amplified. We do what we know. Coping strategies previously called upon return and are sometimes amplified. It may not be efficient but it is better than no response. It may not be efficient but it is better than no response. Are survivors of abuse themselves and are coping with PTSD Are survivors of abuse themselves and are coping with PTSD Are often socially isolated with few positive supports. Are often socially isolated with few positive supports.

27 Our Role Reframe resistance as a rational response to a potentially damaging situation. Reframe resistance as a rational response to a potentially damaging situation. Identify beliefs about “damage” Identify beliefs about “damage” Identify parent’s understanding of “help” Identify parent’s understanding of “help” Develop a mutual understanding of the “problem”. Develop a mutual understanding of the “problem”.

28 Our Role Reframe the abuse to support action by the non- offending parent: Discuss how abuse happens (offence progression). Discuss how abuse happens (offence progression). Debunk myths about sexual abuse perpetrators and victims. Debunk myths about sexual abuse perpetrators and victims. Discuss how good people can do bad things: Discuss how good people can do bad things: Offender’s motivation. Offender’s motivation. Non-offending parent’s responses to disclosure. Non-offending parent’s responses to disclosure. Non-offending parent’s choice of partner in first place. Non-offending parent’s choice of partner in first place. Discuss what natural consequences to abuse might be and why they are important. Discuss what natural consequences to abuse might be and why they are important.

29 Understanding Trouble Trouble Hibernates Trouble Enters and settles in Trouble shows its face Coping with trouble’s wake

30 Break out Brainstorm how you might help Cindy or Crystal define “trouble” in their situations? Brainstorm how you might help Cindy or Crystal define “trouble” in their situations? Brainstorm how you might externalize trouble with Cindy or Crystal? Brainstorm how you might externalize trouble with Cindy or Crystal?

31 Intervention Model Accept and validate the non-offending parent’s story. Accept and validate the non-offending parent’s story. Look for connections to alternative stories and themes Look for connections to alternative stories and themes Validate the parent as “expert” in their life story. Validate the parent as “expert” in their life story. Consider “trouble” from all perspectives Consider “trouble” from all perspectives Externalise “trouble” so that it can be considered by all involved. Externalise “trouble” so that it can be considered by all involved. Offer alternative understandings of “trouble” so the story can be re-written with hope. Offer alternative understandings of “trouble” so the story can be re-written with hope. Offer alternative understandings of how change happens and what change can look like. Offer alternative understandings of how change happens and what change can look like. Focus on empowerment. Focus on empowerment.

32 Intervention Therapeutic Stories Therapeutic Stories I know this other woman who… I know this other woman who… Another client I know … Another client I know … Listen to major themes in the presented story. Listen to major themes in the presented story. Invite the major story. Invite the major story. Invite sub-plots to be told. Invite sub-plots to be told. Listen for a variety of themes and dynamics to arise Listen for a variety of themes and dynamics to arise

33 The Backpack Story

34 It’s not true – Harry / George wouldn’t do that… Ask about beliefs Ask about beliefs Can good people do bad things? (separate person from the problem) Can good people do bad things? (separate person from the problem) Ask about experiences with change? Ask about experiences with change? Can people change after making big mistakes? (normalize change processes, educate regarding recidivism & treatment, generate hope) Can people change after making big mistakes? (normalize change processes, educate regarding recidivism & treatment, generate hope)

35 The Miracle Question

36 Engaging Motivation Express Empathy Develop Discrepancy Develop Discrepancy Developing a dialogue exploring life with and without “trouble” Developing a dialogue exploring life with and without “trouble” Roll with Resistance Roll with Resistance Avoid power struggles – Judo v. Karate Avoid power struggles – Judo v. Karate Accept and validate the parent’s starting story. Accept and validate the parent’s starting story. Support Self-efficacy Support Self-efficacy

37 Transforming Resistance Clarify the dominant stories Clarify the dominant stories Look for alternative stories where themes of action, cooperation and collaboration exist. Look for alternative stories where themes of action, cooperation and collaboration exist. Negotiate what aspects of the story needs to be changed and in what order. Negotiate what aspects of the story needs to be changed and in what order. Find agreement. Find agreement. Create change strategies highlighted in alternative stories part of a more dominant story – one of hope rather than resistance & despair. Create change strategies highlighted in alternative stories part of a more dominant story – one of hope rather than resistance & despair. Clarify what might need to happen for more change to occur on the shared goals. Clarify what might need to happen for more change to occur on the shared goals.

38 Contact Information Karen M. Nielsen, Ph.D. karenn@athabascau.ca karenn@athabascau.ca Ann Marie Dewhurst, Ph.D. valerian@telus.net valerian@telus.net Valerian Consulting 9412 91 Street, Edmonton, AB T6C 3P4 Phone: 780-485-5119 Fax: 780-485-5191


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