a humanistic approach to therapy in which clients attempt to pull together all aspects of personality into a unified whole
Gestalt means ‘whole’; we’re interested in the whole inner world of the child including bits which have been split off; we want to make the child whole by facilitating integration (e.g. it’s OK to feel sad or angry as well as happy). The notion of ‘projection’ in central to therapists from these backgrounds who work with children. If a child projects an image of themselves as ‘bad’ then you can enquire about their other ‘good’ side too. If the child continues to project an image of themselves as ‘happy’ when you know they’ve just been taken into care then you can ask : ‘Is this how you’re really feeling or is this how you’d like to be?’
These are ideal approaches with children who have been neglected or abused and need to express themselves.
What is an eco map?
Ecomap is the map of our life-world as seen by us. Child (or adult) is at the centre and they choose who or what to include or exclude and how to represent them, and the nature of the relationship can be shown by broken lines, hearts, question marks etc. This child is in care but where is the mother / social worker / foster mum? It is a good idea to re-do them : they are snap-shots and will usually change as our inner or outer world changes. Don’t be surprised if a child is closest to their pet or a distant relative or even a dead parent.
What is a life map time line?
Linear way of representing a child’s life
Born 2000 School 2005 Court 2006
What is a life road map?
a flow chart of a child’s life with boxes and pictures; the arrows can be drawn as roads or railway lines;
What is a life story book?
For children who are in care it is standard practice to create photo-albums of their previous life with birth family and temporary foster families. SWs also have to track down the official records for that CYP I.e. birth certificate, baptism certificate, medical records, school records. SWs and birth parents write later life letters (or tapes or videos) for children who are adopted. Foster carers and adopters can provide a memory-box for a child where special things can be kept long after a child has outgrown them e.g. teddy-bear, old blanket, books. You can add to this over time if there is ongoing contact with birth relatives. Memory boxes are often stored away for long periods of time as children get on with their busy lives; but they become treasure troves when the child gets curious about his origins which happens at various stages. Memory boxes, life story book and photo-albums are usually kept by foster carers or adopters because children have been known to destroy them in a fit of rage : SWs should keep a copy on file especially in the age of CD ROMs.
People have real existential crises in later life if they have no memories and/or no official records of their existence. This question of identity is a life-long one which gets revisited at crucial stages such as marriage, having children and grandchildren, disability and death.
What is a genogram?
Genograms, used to describe and gain insight into relationships and roles within the family unit;