Sunday, January 5, 2014

A 10 Step Approach to Create an Attachment Toolkit for Parents Dealing with a Sub-Optimal Relationship With Their Child

Over the past few years I have worked with a number of families where the relationship between the parent(s) and their child had been sub-optimal. Often the underlying reason for this was due to attachment issues. Typically what I have done in these cases is worked with the clients to understand the issues and eventually develop what I have been calling an Attachment Toolkit.

Based on feedback from clients, I have now developed an easily understood 10 step approach aimed at creating and implementing this Toolkit.

The Attachment Toolkit outlines a number of approaches and ideas for how the parent(s) can better manage their relationship with their child. These are focussed on either reinforcing a secure attachment relationship, or repairing an insecure one.

The Toolkit is developed based on client specific examples of interactions between parent(s) and child that will have been identified in my intake form and discussed with the Parents. It will outline suggestions for how to handle these differently in the future.

The 10 step approach is outlined below.

Session
Interaction
Attending in Counselling Room
Activity
Note
1a
Face to Face 
Parent(s)
Initial meeting where I meet the parent or parents, understand the background and introduce my assessment form. This is where the parent answers a series of questions about the child and their relationship with him or her.
1b
Parent Fills out the form.
N/A
The parent(s) fills out the form. The form covers areas such as
·          The Child’s behaviour.
·          The Parent’s relationship with the child.
·          The Parent’s experience of being parented.

Filling out the form takes from one to one and a half hours.

It process of filling out the form helps the parent to think through their relationship and its history.

The parent(s) then post this assessment form to me.
This has to be done by both parents.
2
Analysis time by Sheila.
N/A
I read and assess the forms to understand   the parent child relationships, both conscious and unconscious. This is so that I can focus my subsequent questioning and discussion in order to highlight issues and areas to address early in the programme.
3
Face to Face
Parent(s)
I review the form with the parent(s) and ask further clarification questions.

I take the Parent(s) through some initial verbal suggestions on how to deal with the child based on the interaction to date
4
Face to Face
Child & Parent(s)
Initial session with the child and parent
5 to 8
Child (Potentially parent(s) also for some sessions)
The exact structure of sessions 5 through 8 are determined based on the previous sessions, the child’s age, the presenting issues and other factors. Typically the child will be in all of them. The parent(s) may also attend some or all or part of these also.
9
Analysis time by Sheila.
N/A
I prepare a toolkit of approaches and ideas for how the parent(s) can manage situations with the child on an ongoing basis. These are focussed on either reinforcing a secure attachment relationship, or repairing an insecure one.

The toolkit will be based on client specific examples of interactions between parent(s) and child that will have been identified in the assessment form and discussed in previous sessions. They will outline suggestions for how to handle these differently in the future.
10
Face to Face
Parent(s)
I take the parent(s) through the toolkit and answer any queries. I also discuss with the parents what form follow up support may take.

I recommend a minimum of two follow up sessions over the subsequent month with the parents.

Depending on other factors additional counselling for the child might be appropriate.

If you would like more information on this, please leave a comment or get in Contact.

All the best,

Sheila


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