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Hadley, D. (2012). Narrative and structure in consultation. J. Child Psychother., 38(3):335-351.

(2012). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 38(3):335-351

Narrative and structure in consultation

David Hadley

This article explores the process of consultation to professional networks, teams, groups and individuals concerned with the mental health of children and young people in the care system, and those adopted. Frequently there are significant elements of early trauma suffered by the young people and disruption in the professional organisation. The article describes the way in which clients’ narratives are brought together by, or impact upon the professional network around them. It then formulates a structural framework to assist thinking, often an early casualty when dealing with traumatic events. This is founded upon Bion's concept of container/ contained, Steiner's concept of ‘psychic retreats’ and Armstrong's application of this to organisations. The undermining of language so that it becomes unserviceable for emotional development is considered as the source of disruption of narrative thought. This necessitates the use of physical images, or models, as a basis for understanding.

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