Re-embracing Containment and Holding Environments: A fresh take on a fundamental element of practice Laura Steckley SIRCC/Glasgow School of Social Work Bringing Back Innovation and Creativity to Social Care Social Care Ireland National Conference 9-10 March 2011
Both Bion and Winnicott applied their respective models to the relationship between therapist and client, stressing the importance of metaphoric containment or holding as part of the process of healing and recovery.
These concepts have been subsequently applied to a range of relationships and settings, including education, social work and consultancy.
This concept can also be applied to the more complex network of relationships amongst and between staff and children in residential child care.
Involves directly addressing via verbal interpretation
Also involves the use of daily activities, transitions, leisure time, and even the physical environment towards the…
… development of a containing atmosphere in which children feel (over time) accepted, respected and understood.
Containment— the role of a therapeutic milieu A therapeutic milieu can assist the client in holding or containing her painful emotions, allowing her to express internal conflict in a way that can bring about a greater sense of personal responsibility.
Ruch, G. (2008) 'Developing "containing contexts" for the promotion of effective work: The challenge for organisations', In B. Luckock and M. Lefevre (eds), Direct Work: Social work with children and young people in care, London, British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
Rich, C.R. (1997). The use of physical restraint in residential treatment: An ego psychology perspective. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 14 (3) 1-12.
Ward, A. (1995). The impact of parental suicide on children and staff in residential care: a case study in the function of containment. Journal of Social Work Practice, 9 (1), 23-32.
Winnicott, D.W. (1965). The maturation process and the facilitating environment. London: Hogarth.