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Exploring the script: what might we mean by a developmental orientation

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Keynote from SIRCC 2018 by Dr Laura Steckley and Dr Ruth Emond

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Exploring the script: what might we mean by a developmental orientation

  1. 1. Exploring the Script: what might we mean by a developmental orientation RUTH EMOND, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING LAURA STECKLEY, UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE
  2. 2. Hope for the session  How might the idea of script or narrative help us?  Who should a developmental orientation be for?  What might a developmental orientation be like?
  3. 3. Developmental orientation in the here and now  Emotional Regulation  Speech and Language  Self efficacy  Internal working model  Generativity Vs Stagnation  Cortisol levels  Social Relationships • sweaty hands • racing heart • shaky voice • self doubt • imposter syndrome
  4. 4. Thinking about Script  Dialogue  Action  Set  Instructions for actors and directors
  5. 5. Ways of Understanding ‘Script’ Life is a drama  Sense of who we are dependent on the world around us  Seeking acceptance from the ‘audience’  Given status (part in a play)  Given role (script)  There is nothing that can’t be redefined Being ‘given’ a script  What meaning we give to events that happen to us  Each have unique scripts that shape how we experience events  Created in childhood  Thoughts about as themes – based on what others have told us about ourselves or the world, what we can and can’t do.
  6. 6. Knowing, Being and Doing (Lefevre 2015) BEING KNOWING DOING
  7. 7. Past, present and future
  8. 8. How might it help? Relationships– developmental orientation is as much to do with us as the children we serve Attention - to who we are in the work (our own past and its impact on present) Appreciation - knowledge is contested and ever growing Resistance - to deficit-based or pathologising approaches Meaningful integration - of theory and practice, keeping ‘the doing’ from becoming purely instrumental Need - knowing, being and doing acting together to be effective A developmental orientation doesn’t really mean anything if it isn’t central to who and how we are as people.
  9. 9. Being hurt and let down age three Understanding it age fourteen
  10. 10. A familiar model Development does not occur in a vacuum
  11. 11. Narrative Noun 1. A spoken or written account of connected events; a story. [… ] 1.3 A representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values. Oxford English Dictionary
  12. 12. Narrative Instinct ‘Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand’. (Monbiot, 2017)
  13. 13. Narratives: Some considerations  The micro and the macro  What we bring – our own values, beliefs and experiences  The narratives around us  Who’s telling the story; who’s shaping the narrative?  Who has power; who has voice?  Layers of narrative Personal narratives, public narratives, collective narratives (alternative)
  14. 14. Tools Employed in Narratives  Language  Metaphor  Imagery
  15. 15. Language: An illustrative example in relation to benefits and the welfare state In a comparative study of British, Danish and Swedish newspapers (1750 each from 2004-2009), Albrekt Larsen found:  10% focused on benefit fraud;  19% focused on benefit abuse;  43% were negative generally; …in UK tabloid and broadsheets Chancellor of the Exchequer Spending Review Statement October 2010 ‘[…] nor can fraud in the welfare system be tolerated anymore. We estimate that £5 billion is being lost this way each year. £5 billion that others have to work long hours to pay in their taxes. This week we published our plans to step up the fight to catch benefit cheats….’ (Church Action on Poverty, 2010)
  16. 16.  The National Fraud Office Annual Fraud Indicator of January 2010 states that £30.5bn of fraudulent activity took place in the previous year in the UK, with benefit fraud accounting for £1.1bn.  Incidentally, the same source states that tax fraud accounts for £15.2bn. (Church Action on Poverty, 2010) (Citizen’s Advice Scotland, 2013)
  17. 17. Public Perceptions Around Benefit Fraud (Baumberg et al., 2012) False Disability Claims False Unemployment Claims All out-of- work benefit fraud Average Person’s Perception 30% 35% 25% Those who thought a majority of claims were false 16% 20% 14% Actual figures for False claims/fraud 1.1-1.2% 3.4% 2.0%
  18. 18. Narratives around residential child care?  Language  Metaphor  Imagery
  19. 19. So what might it mean to re-write the script towards a more developmental approach?  Holding in mind the interplay between layers  Prizing the everyday  Maintaining a commitment to continual learning  Living a commitment to a way of being
  20. 20. An example: The Development of Shame, Guilt & Empathy (Dent & Brown, 2006) Shame:  humiliating feeling of worthlessness;  Internally focused;  Infants begin to experience shame between 7 – 15 months of age;  A natural part of development. For experiences of shame not to be damaging, infants must experience disruption repair:  Re-establishing of harmony and connection in the relationship.
  21. 21. Pervasive Shame Without disruption repair, children are left with the flooding of feelings of worthless, being to blame, being bad. This tends to be intolerable and unmanageable. Frequent experiences of being left with uncontainable shame results in pervasive shame.  Hostility & aggression  Shutting down
  22. 22. Guilt Guilt (sometimes referred to as being ashamed):  Is outwardly focused on feelings about one’s behaviour towards others;  Is linked with the capacity for empathy;  Develops around 3 years of age. Children who have pervasive shame are not able to develop the capacity for guilt
  23. 23. Shame & Guilt Shame  Disruption repair Guilt  all contribute to the development of a conscience Shame  no disruption repair  Pervasive Shame  inhibited ability to feel guilt or empathy
  24. 24. Vicious Cycle of Pervasive Shame Harmful pain-based behaviour Child has to defend against shame Carers try to elicit guilt Pervasive shame reinforced; child has to defend further Child with pervasive shame
  25. 25. Translated to an RCC context: an adult and child caught in the vicious cycle of pervasive shame. What might be the scripts? Child?  Surface lashing out or shutting down  Deeper feelings and beliefs Adult?  ‘Professional response’  Deeper feelings and beliefs How might these be influenced by bigger narratives at organisational and societal levels?  Practicalities like staffing or shift change  Expectations around control  Narratives around abuse, professionalism, children in care.
  26. 26. Disruption repair (the Still-face Experiments)
  27. 27. Translated to an RCC context, what might be the scripts? Child?  Why won’t you see me; hear me?  I’m unworthy of being seen, heard, understood. Adult?  I can see you’re distressed but I don’t know what to do.  I must get this right How might these be influenced by bigger narratives at organisational and societal levels?  Practicalities like staffing or shift change  Expectations around control  Narratives around abuse, professionalism, children in care.
  28. 28. So what might it mean to re-write the script towards a more developmental approach?  Holding in mind the interplay between layers  Prizing the everyday  Maintaining a commitment to continual learning  Living a commitment to a way of being
  29. 29. References  Albrekt Larsen, C. (2013). Negative portrayals of welfare recipients in the UK press are in contrast to the positive stories which dominate Swedish and Danish mass media. Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/11/15/negative-portrayals-of-welfare-recipients- in-the-uk-press-are-in-contrast-to-the-positive-stories-which-dominate-swedish-and-danish- mass-media/  Baumberg, B., Bell, K., & Gaffeny, D. (2012). Benefit stigma in Britian. Retrieved from https://wwwturn2us-2938.cdn.hybridcloudspan.com/T2UWebsite/media/Documents/Benefits- Stigma-in-Britain.pdf  Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  Church Action on Poverty. (2010). Set the record straight, Mr. Cameron [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/news/osbornefrauderror  Citizen's Advice Scotland. (2013). Myth-busting: The real figures on benefit fraud. Retrieved from https://www.cas.org.uk/features/myth-busting-real-figures-benefit-fraud
  30. 30. References  Dent, H. R., & Brown, S. (2006). The zoo of human consciousness: Adversity, brain development and health. In K. S. Golding, H. R. Dent, R. Nissim & L. Stott (Eds.), Thinking psychologically about children who are looked after and adopted (pp. 68-97). West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  Lefevre, M. (2015) Integrating the teaching, learning and assessment of communication with children within the qualifying social work curriculum. Child & Family Social Work, 20 (2), pp.211-222.  Monbiot, G. (2017). George Monbiot: How do we get out of this mess? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/09/george-monbiot-how-de- we-get-out-of-this-mess
  31. 31. Contact Ruth Emond hre1@stir.ac.uk Laura Steckley Laura.L.Steckley@strath.ac.uk

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