Journal Article

The FACE YOUR FEAR Club: Therapeutic Group Work with Young Children as a Response to Community Trauma in Northern Ireland

David Stewart and Kirsten Thomson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 1, pages 105-124
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch165
The FACE YOUR FEAR Club: Therapeutic Group Work with Young Children as a Response to Community Trauma in Northern Ireland

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This paper outlines therapeutic group work with young children in response to acute community trauma in Northern Ireland. The children in question were the focus of a highly publicized dispute concerning access to their school. The work was carried out by NOVA, a Barnardo’s (Northern Ireland) trauma support service. Part one outlines the theoretical framework. It highlights the relevance of ‘continuous traumatic stress syndrome’ (Straker, 1987) in this context and its challenge to individualistic trauma accounts. Developmental considerations in trauma are also outlined and the role of protective factors is discussed. Consideration is also given to the socio-political context. Part two summarizes group preparation, process and perceived benefits. Process observations are made with reference to three key outcome themes: (i) reducing fear; (ii) increasing control; (iii) restoring connections. Perceptions of group benefit from pre- and post-questionnaires are then outlined with reference to implications for achieving these outcomes. Questionnaire responses highlighted four tasks and processes for effective practice in this context: (i) communication; (ii) emotional support; (iii) management strategies and (iv) meaningmaking. Further, active partnerships with the whole support matrix–parents, teachers and community–are highlighted throughout as central to good outcome.

Keywords: Continuous traumatic stress; trauma; groupwork; young children

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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