The role of presence when working with children and young people demonstrating harmful sexual behaviour.

Melody Cranbourne-Rosser, Mia Campbell, Lesley Pilkington, Nikki Carthy

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Working with children and young people (CYP) demonstrating harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) is complex and requires understanding of the dual identity of ‘victim’ and ‘victimiser’. Working with such experiences can impact on therapeutic processes, such as ‘presence’, a phenomenon manifesting from connection and moment-to-moment awareness. Research into presence generally focuses on working with adults. This study explored presence when working with CYP demonstrating HSB. Eight practitioners were interviewed focusing on their lived experiences of presence in terms of personal perception, cultivation, and influence on practice and sustainability. Interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, which resulted in two main themes: ‘presence and person’ and ‘presence and place’. Findings suggested that in addition to presence and the therapeutic relationship enhancing each other qualitatively, presence provides a platform of connectivity from which to engage, promotes working from a whole-person perspective and assigns deeper meaning to the work; cultivation requires opportunities to identify, enhance and embrace the phenomenon in order to promote self-awareness and utilise presence effectively with others; practitioner well-being and sustainability requires application of self-care strategies and robust workplace support; and the development of a safe and productive presence-informed service requires suitable processes and procedures to be established. These points are considered in terms of implications and future recommendations for practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventBACP Research Conference - Online
Duration: 16 May 20202 Nov 2020

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Research poster exhibition 2020


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