Journal Article

Combining Professional Expertize and Service User Expertize: Negotiating Therapy for Sexually Abused Children

Andrew Hill

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 2, pages 261-279
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm120
Combining Professional Expertize and Service User Expertize: Negotiating Therapy for Sexually Abused Children

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This article is based on a qualitative study of the relationships between professionals, parents and children in the context of children’s therapy after child sexual abuse. Specifically, the study took place in a therapeutic team in England that has developed various ways of involving parents in children’s therapy. One of the aims of the study was to develop an understanding of the complex triangular dynamics that result. In this article, concepts from discourse analysis are used to show how therapists talk about various types of ‘cases’. Therapy often follows a child protection enquiry and so professionals, parents and children must negotiate sensitive issues of blame and responsibility. Second, the article draws on sociological work on expertize to show how therapists employ ‘interactional expertize’ as they combine their own expert view of the child’s situation with the expertize held by the family, whilst being mindful of the imperatives of child protection. Only a successful resolution of these tensions can lead to a negotiated agreement over a plan for therapy for the child. It is suggested that this study highlights an example of the kind of interactional expertize that is well developed within social work and reflects its distinctive value base.

Keywords: child protection; parenting; sexual abuse; therapies; expertize

Journal Article.  7766 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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