In contrast to the many outcome studies of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS), little is known about the underlying personal and relational dynamics of family crisis interventions. This article focuses on the core evolving dynamics of the changing self-presentations of a parent involved in an intensive home-based family preservation case of alleged child maltreatment. Three key family intervention sessions were videotaped and transcribed including both verbal and nonverbal behavior. The Listening Guide Method - a theoretically flexible, qualitative, relationally oriented method of in-depth interpretative analysis - served as our guide for this case analysis. In the processes of change toward a jointly constructed meaningful narrative on responsibility and self-care, two key elements emerged as playing a pivotal role: (1) the momentum of a potential referral of children to out-of-home care that precedes the start of an IFPS intervention and (2) the rhizomatic or root-like intertwinement of the voices of both parent and therapist with respect to the rationale for any involvement of society in the family. We argue that discourses on imminent placement in the context of family preservation deserve a genuine and valuable position in the initial discourse of a family therapist when entering a family in the context of crisis intervention. Both in understanding and driving any processes of change, we may need to reconsider our own willingness to step into the blending interplay of discourse and counter-discourse with our clients on the subject of our often drastic intervention. Consequently, we may read this narrative analysis as an invitation to reflect on the conceptualization of 'client readiness' in psychotherapy and to shift our thinking on preconditions for therapy from a client's readiness toward a therapist's attentiveness to listen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-192
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014

    Research areas

  • listening guide method, Qualitative Research, Narrative Analysis, family preservation, child maltreatment

ID: 2424975