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Emanuel, L. (2002). Deprivation × 3: The contribution of Organizational Dynamics to the ‘Triple Deprivation’ of Looked-After Children. J. Child Psychother., 28(2):163-179.

(2002). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 28(2):163-179

Deprivation × 3: The contribution of Organizational Dynamics to the ‘Triple Deprivation’ of Looked-After Children

Louise Emanuel

The author describes her experience of setting up a therapeutic service for ‘looked-after children’ in a social services department, and the change of approach from a focus on individual therapy to consultation and liaison with the network. The idea that children in the ‘care system’ suffer a triple deprivation when the ‘double deprivation’, as described by Henry (1974), is compounded by organizational difficulties, is explored. Material is presented of work with foster-parents which helped to prevent placement breakdown. The ways in which disturbing emotional states of clients are re-enacted within the organization are discussed. The author suggests that the paralysis in a social services system, which can lead to ‘drift’, resembles the ‘collapse of strategy’ of babies displaying a ‘disorganized/disoriented’ attachment response to a frightened or frightening mother. The need for a ‘secure base’ for social workers and their managers is stressed if they are to provide the same for their clients.

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