Ecp28_3 inside_ecp28_3 inside

Living psychology: The ‘emotional
warmth’ dimension of professional

Children and young people in public care are arguably the most vulnerable group in our society and, despiteconsiderable support and financial expenditure, the outcomes for these children have remained stubbornlypoor. While the worthy intentions of government initiatives over recent years are not in question, it is clearthat there is a need for a new theory-led, evidence-based model of professional care and support. This paperpresents a psychological perspective which links early childhood experiences with restricted life outcomes. It argues that it is parental rejection (sometimes accompanied by abuse and neglect) which is a majormediating factor in the often-restricted life outcomes for many of these children. The ‘emotional warmth’ approach to professional childcare enables a visiting applied psychologist to empower residential and foster carers to provide high quality parenting, sensitive support for post-traumastress and a deeper understanding of the (often hidden) signature strengths of these children and youngpeople. The inclusion of these three components in a support plan is likely to promote positive emotional,social and academic development of children in public care. The major role of the applied psychologistconsultant in the emotional warmth model is discussed and appropriate outcome measures for thisapproach of childcare are considered. ‘Foster and residential care is a complex activity.’ (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence/Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2010, p.9) ‘We believe that the greatest gains in reforming our care system are to be made in identifying and removingwhatever barriers are obstructing the development of good personal relationships, and putting in place allpossible means of supporting such relationships where they occur.’ (House of Commons, 2009, p.27,para. 29) THEemotional, social and academic prob- There has been no shortage of recom-
mendations for helping these children and papers about educational psychologists’ work with, or related to, such children. Reviewing 2009) which noted the potential of ‘social the literature on children in residential care, Nissim (2006) concluded: ‘the youngsters Germany, a model which was later endorsed concerned are among some of the most disadvan- in the joint NICE-SCIE (2010) report.
taged, damaged and vulnerable members of our However, consistently positive outcomes for a society, and their needs are extreme and complex’ variety of interventions have so far proved to (p.275). In a similar vein, for foster care, Guishard-Pine et al. (2007) have stated that have pointed out in their review of education- ‘many children within the foster care system are at based interventions and their disappointingly significant risk of mental health problems because of small impact on the attainments of pupils their history of harsh treatment and neglect’ (p.79).
who are in public care. While official statis- Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 The British Psychological Society, 2011 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare tics, like those released for England and client group. Exemplars here would include early intervention, child-focused initiatives like school-based nurture groups designed GCSEs at Key Stage 4 it has not been possible 2010), parent and teacher activities to build to attribute this improvement to any partic- up the resilience of these children (Dent & ular intervention, since similar gains have occurred in the general school population.
Guidance initiative which enables parents to attune more closely to the needs of their children in care and those in the general child (Kennedy, Landor & Todd, 2010a, population of their peers has remained the outcomes which they experience, a wider imperative when set against the emotional intervention perspective is clearly needed. Such cost to the children and young people them- selves (and to society at large) since far too who have had negative, early life experi- ences, the carefully planned and specifically- less, jobless, friendless and deeply unhappy.
post-trauma stress and enable them to grow claimed success for specifically-targeted and develop personally and socially, as well approaches designed to help this vulnerable Figure 1: Outcomes for children looked after by Local Authorities in England and Wales
matched with data contained within the National Pupil Database.
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Emotional warmth: A wider view?
‘…rejection is not simply one misfortune Explanations as to why looked-after children among many, nor just a bit of sad drama – it fail to develop emotionally, socially and strikes at the heart of what the psyche is academically have often focused on what is designed for.’ (Baumeister, 2005, p.732) quality care and schools which neglect to address their educational needs (see Jackson specific form of positive response – accept- & Martin, 1998, and Jackson & McParlin, ance – from parents and other primary care debate the merits of such explanations, their 2004, 2005). When this need is not satisfacto- rily met, children worldwide and regardless concerned and for the allocation of scarce ethnicity or other such defining factors, tend Secretary of State for Education, clearly aggressive, dependent or defensively inde- perceived the public care system as failing its pendent, impaired in their self-esteem and children: ‘it is inexcusable and shameful that the care system seems all too often to reinforce this early mostly unstable and holding a negative view disadvantage’ (Department for Education of the world that they live in (Rohner et al., and Skills, 2006, p.3). Since the publication 2004). The main features of the PA-RT are research has supported the PA-RT explana- initiatives (for example, ‘virtual head tion (see Rohner, 2004; Rohner et al., 2004, teachers’ for looked after children) in an investigations in this area) but the implica- tions of this work seem to have been over- As an alternative theoretical explanation looked or ignored in UK policy making and for the pain-based behaviour and poor life planning for children who have experienced rejection by their parents in one form or authors of this paper have argued that it is ‘rejection’ in general and ‘parental rejec- tion’ in particular (rather than failing care presents a challenge to the uncritically- and education systems exclusively) that are accepted, current view that their poor educa- the most significant contributors to the flat- tened life trajectories of these young people (Cameron & Maginn, 2005, 2008). The back- ground to such a claim is discussed in the restricting, emotionally-damaging or self- worth reducing effects of the care andeducation systems. Instead, they have their Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory
roots in the quality of the affection bond have been long aware of the negative effects of psychological abuse, rejection and exclu- sion on individuals or group members, it is only relatively recently that satisfactory For applied psychology practitioners, one explanations of the accompanying negative important and illuminative aspect of PA-RT is the finding that parental rejection doesnot only consist of a specific set of overtly Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare Figure 2: A summary of the main components of Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory
(Rohner, 1986, 2004).
Main themes from Parent Acceptance–Rejection Theory:● Children and young people need parental acceptance, not rejection.
● If the child or young person’s need for acceptance is not met, emotional problems result.
● Such emotional problems appear to be universal, across the human race.
● Rejection can be clearly evident or the child can perceive rejection: both types of rejection can generate emotional difficulties in the child or young person. ● Many of these emotional problems result in dysfunctional and self-defeating behaviour which ● Other factors are involved in the adjustment of children, but parental acceptance-rejection has been shown to be a particularly powerful mediating factor between early experiences andlater emotional development.
ical pain and the pain of rejection (DeWall et al., 2010). They found that acetaminophen beliefs that are held by the child or young reduced neural responses to rejection. In short, paracetamol did lessen the pain of perceive significant rejection are likely to feel ever-increasing anger, resentment and neurological link between social pain and other destructive emotions that may become survival of the species depends on the bond convincing explanation for the detrimental between infant and carer. The ‘Dynamic- effects of ‘parental rejection’ on educational Maturational Model’ of attachment (Crit- and life outcomes of looked after children.
tenden & Dallos, 2009) offers an optimistic that ‘physiological processes responsible for detec- tion and regulation of physical pain were co-opted respond positively to sensitive and respon- to sense and respond to emotionally painful events, such as being rejected or excluded’ (p.3). They list ‘healing’ attachments with committed caring studies that report decreased sensitivity to physical pain following separation from care- givers among rat pups, young mice, calves experiences, such as parental rejection, to Physical evidence that social pain piggy- backs on those areas of the brain which react to physical pain is provided in neurological world together with the pain and distress experienced by children in public care and pose for carers and their support profes- physical pain and social rejection arguing that ‘for both caregiver and infant to feel pain upon separation ensures social connection and ture is the absence of specific implications thus offspring survival’ (p. 891). DeWall and for promoting parent acceptance behaviour his colleagues carried out a series of experi- and avoiding passive, negative or uninten- ments to test the connection between phys- tional parental rejection. Rohner (2004) and Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Rohner et al. (2004) do, however, offer two 1. The Pillars of Parenting. A procedure general principles of parenting derived from ● Helping parents and other caregivers to young people through the eight Pillars of communicate acceptance to children.
culturally-appropriate ways to avoid behaviours that indicate parental coldness and 2. Adaptive emotional development. A system which empowers carers to supportchildren and young people in their Emotional warmth and professional
The starting point of the ‘emotional warmth’ model of professional childcare described in this paper is the importance of the relation- ship between each individual young person and their carer. A new priority becomes the empowering of residential and foster carers 3. Signature strengths. A strategy for teaching with the knowledge and skills to understand and respond appropriately to the emotional, behavioural and attainment difficulties that are exhibited by the children in their care.
utilise these effectively in their everyday 4. Living psychology through consultation. access to the knowledge base of psychology through regular child focused consultations applied psychologists to provide on-going with a qualified and experienced consultant advice and support for residential/foster psychologist. Second, in support of the on- the-spot learning which takes place in the consultation sessions, the continuing profes- employing the emotional warmth model.
sional development of the caregivers is then The individual action plan for each child, supported by a programme of training in the which results from these group consultation sessions, lists activities which carers and warmth’ model. This programme (which can lead to a formal qualification) covers attach- intend to carry out to meet the child’s ment theory, authoritative parenting, adap- parenting needs, support the child though tive emotional development, the effective strengths. Therefore, the emotional warmth strengths, involving young people in deci- approach is designed to bring about positive child and carer’s progress and development.
fulfilling lives and to avoid the fate of too warmth’ approach to professional childcare many children in care: homeless, jobless, and the psychological theory and research friendless and incarcerated. In the case of which underpin this approach can be found the latter outcome, it is estimated that over a quarter of the prison population have been in care (Social Exclusion Unit, 2002).
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare The Pillars of Parenting
parents and foster ‘parents’ to identify and Words shape the way we see the world, and agree what ‘good parents’ should do.
completely as ‘parenting.’ Children in care have often been disadvantaged by the termi- nology used. ‘Looked after’ implies a passive dependent on the needs of each individual receiving of some ‘looking after’ behaviour child at any given time. The child is the by adults, while ‘caring’ is devoid of the viewed as a set of tools to provide a trans- which comes with the ‘parenting’ process.
parent structure for everyone working with the child. While the eight pillars are not hier- ‘parenting’ for particularly vulnerable archical, and individual pillars may some- times overlap to some extent, their structure the skills and knowledge of parenting cannot is designed to help caregivers, who are often be left to trial and error, but need to be unpacked, analysed, understood and imple- Vocational Qualification Level 3 in England, mented so that even in challenging circum- Wales or Northern Ireland (Qualifications stances, the ‘professional parents’ will know equivalent elsewhere, to make sense of the consultant, carers can select one pillar (occa- people in their care and to agree purposeful sionally two) which is particularly relevant to the parenting needs of the child or young person at that point in time. For each of the eight pillars, there is a menu of parenting together with a sample of carer activities activities, from which the group of carers can which could support each pillar, while Figure choose and discuss and agree the two or three 3 contains an extract from the action plan activities which are the most appropriate for for ‘Renae’ whose behaviour can often be supporting the child or young person in the thoughtless, random and (unintentionally) previously selected pillar. In the case of a dangerous for children and carers alike.
children’s home, all the carers would agree tocarry out these selected support activities Adaptive emotional development
A simplified and carer-friendly description of themselves, while foster carers would involve a child’s emotional journey through devel- other family members in these activities.
theory and research, the Pillars of Parenting extended in the ‘emotional warmth’ model are closely linked with many of the specific to include the type of support and manage- outcomes of the Every Child Matters outcomes ment required by traumatised children and Skills, 2005), especially in the areas of are attempting to make sense of, or find ways mental and emotional health, personal and of living with, the traumatic events which have occurred in their lives. (See Table 2 for an overview of the three phases of the Cairns significant life changes and challenges.
The selection of each of the eight ‘pillars’ carer activities which can support children Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Table 1: A summary of the Pillars of Parenting and some of the staff behaviours and
tasks which support these. Seán Cameron & Colin Maginn (2008)
Primary care and
Making close
Positive self-
Why? See Ziegenhain
Why? For more
Why? A useful
Why? See Maslow
Examples of support
required from
Examples of support
care staff
required from
care staff
Examples of support
Examples of support
required from
required from
care staff
care staff
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare Self-management
A sense of belonging
Personal and social
● Resilient individuals ● Research and responsibility
Why? For details of
Why? See Lewis and
Why? Personal social
Why? See Dent and
Examples of support
required from
care staff
Examples of support
required from
care staff
Examples of support
required from
care staff
Examples of support
required from
care staff
recognise ‘stranger danger’ from helpful adult behaviour.
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Figure 3: Case example. Meeting ‘Renae’s’ parenting needs through the
Pillars of Parenting.
The pillar which was chosen as a priority for Renae at this point was Pillar No 8: Developingpersonal and social responsibility. Selected support for 13-year-old Renae would involve theresidential carers in the following:● Encouraging Renae to ‘assume positive intent’ for the behaviour of her carers, their friends and the other children in this home (rather than negative intentions).
● Discussing the importance of different types of relationships (e.g. work, leisure, sexual, etc.) and how to make relationships with peers that will last.
● Helping Renae to think about her future aspirations.
● Teaching Renae the concept of ‘building up social capital’ – for example, doing something for a friend or a member of the foster family, helping someone in need, or ‘showing willing’: all these without expecting immediate reward.
It is worth noting here that the selected pillar of parenting and the accompanying supportactivities chosen by carers are likely to change over time as Renae’s needs evolve and herresilience and emotional adjustment increase (or decrease).
Table 2: A summary of the Cairns model of trauma and loss, together with some good
practice suggestions at each phase. (Adapted from Cairns, 2002.)
Some examples of good practice suggested by carers
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare Of course, some highly resilient children young person moving through their current emotional phase. In Box 1 there is an extract adversity in their individual ways, but most from an action plan drawn up for 13-year-old children in care are likely to require sensitive ‘Renae’ who as well as exhibiting self- support from carers to begin the emotionally demanding task of modifying the impact of overview of post-trauma stress is particularly useful since it can help residential and foster phase of the Cairns model, together with the carers to view a child’s often-disruptive accompanying staff support activities, are likely to change over time as Renae’s needs evolve and her adaptive development grows.
lish a safe and stable environment where the child is able to talk about and learn more and encouraging them to form healthy rela- tionships with the young people in their care trauma (stabilisation), to deal with the often- has an important role to play in the ‘healing’ conflicting feelings which accompany such information, to process, control and manage ‘Most of the therapeutic experiences do not take any resulting psychological or physiological place in ‘Therapy’ but in naturally occurring reactions (integration) and, finally, to support healthy relationships. The most effective the child in re-establishing social connected- treatments to help child trauma victims is ness, developing personal efficacy, achieving anything that increases the quality and a satisfactory level of emotional adjustment number of relationships in the child’s life.’ to the negative events which have been expe- view of the future (adaptation).
sense of the young person’s journey through provides carers and consultants with a menu of post-trauma stress activities from which psychologist’s role is to bring a wider and carers can determine the specific phase that deeper understanding of the trauma process and to use clinical skills to pick up on any atypical trajectories in the young person’s two or three activities which will provide the most appropriate support for the child or Box 1: Case example. Supporting ‘Renae’ through post-trauma stress with the
adaptive emotional development component of the ‘emotional warmth’ model.
The residential carers felt that Renae’s adaptive emotional development needs currently lay
between the Stabilisation and Integration phases of Cairns’s model. Key activities for all carers
were discussed and agreed as follows:
● Reassuring Renae that all the carers in her children’s home were friendly, kind and good at
listening to children’s worries as well as their happy stories.
● Establishing a closer relationship between Renae and all the carers, but especially her ● Trying to understand the source of Renae’s current unhappy and withdrawn behaviour.
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Signature strengths
strengths can be employed in everyday life.
Seligman (2002) believes that each person In the case of a looked after child, the uncov- possesses several signature strengths. These ering and utilisation tasks could be carried are strengths of character that a person self- out most effectively in a discussion between a consciously owns, celebrates and, if possible, incorporates into daily contexts, such as person, and then shared with other carers, school, work, relaxation activities, relation- teaching colleagues or family members.
ships and hobbies. Focusing on the signature These significant adults in the life of a child or character strengths of children and young in care would then use this information to provide opportunities (or would look out for and energy for everyone involved. In partic- appropriate windows of opportunity) which ular, it can shift carers’ perceptions of a young allow the child or young person to employ person from ‘problems’ to ‘possibilities’.
A list of signature strengths (which might include a love of learning, a sense of fairness, the ability to use humour in everyday life andenthusiasm) can be found in Seligman Living psychology through consultation
(2002) or Linley (2010), but some of the less obvious ones, which may apply particularly ‘emotional warmth’ model is the everyday contribution of those residential or foster ● Curiosity and interest in the world. Curious children and young people. Monitoring and themselves, the world they live in and the training and professional development, all ● Practical thinking. This strength often quality care. Responding to a child whose behaviour can be perceived as deliberately frequently reject or exploit acts of kindness, ● Courage. Included here are both moral considerable conviction as well as informed (asking for help with one’s own fears and side, tackling the challenges of providing emotionally warm caring in their encounters ● Discretion. An important strength which with difficult and rejecting children, of tuously that might be regretted later on.
trauma stress process and of enabling them ● Gratitude. This involves being aware of strengths effectively, all demand that resi- dential and foster carers require a combina- ● A sense of purpose. Developing ambitious, informed professional expertise. While these but achievable, aspirations for the future direct contact carers have amassed detailed knowledge about the children in their care, After the signature strengths of a child or it is an ‘indirect contact’ or consultant psychologist who is able to draw upon the knowledge base of psychology, and who can provide carers with the much needed insight Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare Table 4: Case example: Building on ‘Renae’s’ signature strengths to promote personal
and inter-personal competence.
Renae has two big signature strengths – humour (there are times when she is unhappy when shebecomes withdrawn and non-communicative, but she is also able to make people laugh) andcreativity (she can sketch, enjoys street dance and is good at gymnastics). Possible activities which carers agreed would allow Renae to use these strengths more effectivelywere as follows: ● Build in a few ‘sketch sessions’ with Anwar (a social work student on placement in the home) ● After supper on Friday, staff member would introduce ‘Renae’s stand-up comedy time’ and invite her to start off a series of jokes told by the children and staff.
● Provide opportunities for Renae to display some of her finished drawings publically. ● Investigating the possibility of helping Renae to join and settle into a local dance club or a into children’s complex problems, offer in the case of the children’s home, selected sections and actions from the consultation discussion of the sophisticated strategies notes are then transferred into the care plan required to help children and young people for the particular child or young person. By to deal with problems resulting from rejec- way of illustration, through this process ‘Renae’s’ parenting needs (Figure 3), In their review of consultation effective- support for post-trauma stress (Box 1) and personal/social development (Table 4) are ‘well-constructed models (of consultation), all addressed. In short, this is an integrated articulated from sound theoretical bases may approach to supporting ‘Renae’ in all major be superior to those without clear concep- tual frameworks’ (p.349). In this regard, the specific tasks of the applied psychologist in a sents a different approach to the more tradi- residential or foster care group consultation The total time involved in a group consul- carers to support the child or young person.
tation session focusing on one child or young The goal of group consultation is to enable the carers themselves to provide support for hours. At the end of the consultation session, and management of problems in the context the psychologist consultant produces notes of in which the child or young person is having each session. These contain a clear descrip- difficulties (see Dent & Golding, 2006 for a tion of the agreed management strategy for discussion of this issue). Residential and self-defeating behaviour, the activities agreed foster carers are ideally placed to carry out by staff for supporting the chosen pillar of such context-based work since opportunities parenting, the agreed strategy for supporting the adaptive emotional development of the through the sensitive management of those child and a list of activities which will enable the child or young person to utilise signature strengths more effectively in everyday life.
These notes are distributed to all the residen- tial or foster carers who have taken part and, Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Table 5: Protocol for a group consultation session involving an applied psychologist and
residential team or foster carers’ group.
1. Discussion of big and modest successes achieved by staff since the last consultation session.
2. Update on agreed actions and outcomes for child or young person discussed at previous 3. Discussion of the behaviour management problems of today’s child or young person, as follows:● A pen portrait of the child or young person by the foster carer or key worker.
● A thumbnail outline of the child’s self-defeating behaviour(s).
● Discussion of the Antecedent (A), (Background) (B), Consequences (C) and (Communication*) (+C) factors surrounding the problem. ● Consideration of how to change the key A, B and C factors and how to teach functional +C skills (see Cameron and Maginn, 2009 for an account of the ABC+C approach to behaviour management).
● Agreed action strategies for management and support.
● A plan for implementing, monitoring and evaluating the agreed action by carers.
● A written and shared summary of agreed action, provided by the psychologist consultant.
4. Discussion and identification of the child’s current parenting needs (using the Pillars of Parenting list and selecting from the staff support activities menu). 5. Identification and discussion of the child’s post-trauma emotional needs (using the Adaptive Emotional Development model and selecting from the menu of staff support activities).
6. Discussion of child’s assets and talents and consideration of the learning opportunities that 7. Meta-analysis of the session. Discussion of the process of the consultation process and consideration of its usefulness and possible areas for improvement.
* The Communication factor in point 3 relates to the question, ‘What is the child trying tocommunicate through behaviour?’ Possible messages here might include: revenge, or a need toescape from an uncomfortable situation, or immediate attention, or other reasons. (See Dreikurset al., 1982, for details of this important factor in understanding and managing self-defeatingbehaviour.) Measuring changes in vulnerable children
and self-defeating behaviour, a reduction (or a rise) in overt self-harming behaviour and applied psychologists can inform (and some- absconding, or a reduction or increase in the times challenge) carers by drawing on infor- reported frequency of intrusive thoughts, mation from psychology theory and research sleep patterns or night terrors. Records of to improve child care practice: they can also such gross behaviour changes are important.
enable carers to make changes to existing practice by evaluating the outcomes of their inform carers why these events are occurring efforts for the children and young people in and, equally important, what they are doing Of course, there are ‘hard data’ indica- emotional development and resilience.
tors of change and these can include: any attempting to measure pre- and post-inter- ment levels, an increase (or decrease) in the vention changes in a child’s life, including number of incidents of unwanted, anti-social external global measures such as improve- Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare behaviour or increases in cognitive ability/ IQ. The problem with general measures like these is that the answer to why the interven- effects of negative early life experiences.
tion led to the changes which occurred canoften only be speculated upon. While such Bespoke measures
gross measures are important, they tend to oversimplify or ignore the complexity of the should not only provide feedback to carers on problems of children and young people who the results of their efforts, but should also have been rejected, neglected and abused.
permit external validation of the success of employed to record the way in which looked commissioners might be satisfied with infor- recorded serious incidents, more sensitive measures are required to plot the process ofchange in children over a longer period. For Standardised measures
this reason, the ‘cobweb diagram’ was created both to measure and illustrate the child’s or Children (Briere, 1996) has been chosen to young person’s response to positive parenting and post-trauma stress support (see Figure 4).
including anxiety, stress, depression and carers to assess the progress of a child or dissociation, anger and sexual concerns.
young person on a five-point scale on each of This information is particularly important, the eight Pillars of Parenting. As an example, especially since the ‘emotional warmth’ approach is designed to reduce the level of development on Pillar 4 (emotional compe- developmental trauma and to promote adap- well as measuring pathological aspects of experienced applied psychology consultants children’s homes before the final version of the five point scales for each of the eight information on the strength characteristics pillars was finally completed. These carer which are associated with more successful ratings can then be plotted on the cobweb personal and social development, especially diagram which allows progress to be meas- sense of mastery, sense of relatedness and ured and noted over time. Different colours can be used to provide a visual display of improvements or deterioration over a longer discuss these findings and their implications residential or foster carers’ group consulta- baseline measurements for ‘Renae’ show tion session and is able to keep an ongoing that she is rated at Level 1 (the lowest level of development) in all the pillars, apart from different factors being measured. Eventually, emotional competence where she is rated at it is hoped that the results from a larger level 2. Three months later, ‘Renae’ has analysed and published, not only to evaluate the results from the ‘emotional warmth’ resilience. In the case of emotional compe- approach, but also to provide much-needed Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Figure 4: The cobweb record chart of a child’s progress and development over a
three-month period.
Box 2: The criteria used to evaluate progress and development on Pillar 4
(emotional competence).
The emotional competence hierarchy
Level 5:
Child is able to understand and accept own feelings and the feelings of others and to
respond appropriately to both.
Level 4: Child can understand, control and manage a range of own emotions.
Level 3: Child has knowledge of a range of emotions and is beginning to match appropriate
emotions to context.
Level 2: Child too often misinterprets the emotions of others as well as own emotional
Level 1: Child is unable to understand or control own emotions or has inexplicable changes of
mood or blames others for own moods.
Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 Living psychology: The ‘emotional warmth’ dimension of professional childcare A similar five-point cobweb scale is used of contemporary society. According to Fraser to obtain essential information on a child’s recognition that as well as competence in professional practice, an additional dynamic identify emotional progress, failure to make for professional development has emerged – progress or regression. It has been noted by capability – the latter being a characteristic one of the referees of this paper that the progress of a young person on the parenting constant change. It can be argued that the pillars is likely to be reflected on measures of emotional warmth approach to professional that young person’s journey towards adap- model. Such parallel links are most likely to ● It focuses on the psychological needs of be seen with Pillar 1 (care and protection) ment) and 6 (resilience) and the Integration ● There is a rationale, based in applied phase and Pillars 2 (close relationships), 3 (self-perception), 7 (a sense of belonging) and 8 (personal and social responsibility) emotional development and theutilisation of the child’s signature or Some reflections for applied
● The ‘good practice’ menu for the Pillars For children or young people who have not received adequate parenting and upbringing Strengths components are ‘owned’ by the violence, abuse and rejection, their progress direct contact care staff: the role of the often be a long, slow process which needs to professional childcare. Achieving a trans- knowledge and practice base and the prob- requires clinical, educational or develop- mental psychology practitioners to utilise sophisticated consultation processes and an in-depth knowledge of the discipline, so that they can provide carers with a deeper under- standing of problematic situations, offer Based on findings from their survey of prac- research-based, creative and effective ways of tices and issues relating to children in care in five local authority educational psychology proactive approaches to minimise the occur- Norwich et al. (2010) drew some practical conclusions, including the need to develop specialist roles for educational psychologists uing, self-critical and reflective stance that in supporting staff working with children in examines applied psychology practice within the context of the complexities and changes Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 28 No. 3 R.J. (Seán) Cameron & Colin Maginn Acknowledgement
tional psychology services need to clarify the The authors would like to acknowledge with distinctiveness of the kinds of contributions thanks the creative contributions which the senior management and care staff at Ingle- services, while welcoming opportunities to side Children’s Home, Sanderstead, Surrey develop joint work with other services and made to the early development of the ‘Pillars professionals’ (p.388). The role of the of Parenting’ component of the childcare applied psychologist (clinical, educational or developmental) which is outlined in thispaper highlights such a distinctive contribu- Address for correspondence
tion, since it not only relies on the consulta- Dr R.J. (Sean) Cameron
tion skills of an applied psychologist, but it paper is that emotionally warm caring can not only enhance the well-being of children and young people in care but can also lead to vastly improved life opportunities (seeLinley & Joseph, 2002). The emotionalwarmth approach to professional childcareprovides carers with the skills, knowledgeand support needed to meet the complexpsychological needs of these children andyoung people. It also offers applied psychol-ogists the personal and professional satisfac-tion of using psychology as a powerful forcefor positive change in the lives of childrenwho have been rejected, neglected andabused.
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