Editorial: Special issue: Psychodynamic and systems theories perspectives on residential child care

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

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    Welcome to this special issue on psychodynamic and systems theories perspectives on residential child care. Psychodynamic in fluences have been waning over the last several decades, both generally (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2005) and in residential child care settings (Mann, 2003; Sharpe, 2006). Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, has gone from being equated with Copernicus and Darwin in popular magazines of the 1950s (Menand, 2017) to currently being depicted as a cocaine-addicted charlatan who falsified his case studies in a current, popular biography (Crews, 2017). Behaviourism and social learning theory have become more prominent (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2005 ), both of which offer a more positivist interpretation of human nature (Moyn, 2016). Yet there is a strong, international consensus regarding the centrality of relationships in providing good residential child care (Kendrick, Steckley, & McPheat, 2011), and neither behavioural nor social learning theories offer much illumination for making sense of how mind-bogglingly difficult these relationships can be. Practitioners need support to ask and tentatively answer two, fundamental questions: ‘what is happening for the young person in order to make this relationship work and what is happening for me, the carer in order that this relationship works?’ (Sharpe, Daniel, & Degregorio, 2007). Psychodynamic and systems theories offer such support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)365-372
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018


    • residential child care
    • attachment
    • psychodynamic theory
    • sytems theory


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