Indirect treatment of fostered and adopted children
Angie Hart and Helen Thomas.
Fostered and adopted children often show a large array of psychosocial problems and are conceptualized as having attachment disorders. It can be necessary to engage such children in direct mental health treatment, in addition to interventions set up to deal with their problems through agencies such as Education and Social Services. In order to protect children from a multitude of treating professionals, thereby potentially further weakening the emerging parental attachments, a model is proposed of indirect treatment of children, with the adoptive parents as co-therapists. This elevates the status of parents and is controversial in child mental health work as it challenges traditional hierarchies. We refer to this model, based on a single case study, as Parent Co-Therapy (PCT). It is proposed that this may be a suitable treatment model for fostered and adopted children, particularly in the early years of placement. The model has the potential to strengthen the children’s attachments to the parents and vice versa, with a concomitant reduction in symptomatology.
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