Adopting a fresh approach to Working with Families


Adopting a fresh approach to working with families.

This two-day course is intended to assist Practitioners in evolving their skills for working directly with children and their families. It will pool the experience and ideas of both the Trainer (a long-term Family Worker), and course participants in expanding their toolbox; simple ideas to much more complex ones, but all practical and useful. All families are different, so the rich repertoire of approaches and ideas that we share ‘may just be the thing’ for a family that you’ve been struggling with.

This course is only for those Practitioners who work directly with families and are genuinely interested in developing themselves professionally.

As with all Catherine Rushforth and Associates training, this course is experiential and highly participative in nature. Applicants to this course should be aware that we will explore our own experience of family, including the ways in which this influences our work.

Application for this course commits each professional Practitioner to a personal level of exploration and disclosure within the privacy of the group, i.e. if you are not ready for this level of professional development, then this is not the course for you.

What we will cover…

  • To reflect on the rich diversity of family units, including the structure, dynamic, culture, communication and traditions of each unique family.
  • To focus on signals of true engagement between professional ‘helpers’ and family members, including the normal stages of building a relationship and signs of ‘testing, avoidance and/or ambivalence’ and much more concerning patterns of confrontation and violence.
  • To actively practice a range of strengths-based approaches to work with both children, their parents and/or wider family members that extends on the usual Practitioner ways of working.
  • To identify key theory and research as it applies to work with children and their families as a part of ‘Early Help’ package of support, targeted intervention as part of a ‘team around the family’ and work that focuses on building strengths/protective factors with children who may be at risk of significant impairment/harm.
  • To specifically highlight pitfalls in working with children and their families that may take Practitioners into dangerous territory including patterns of over-identification, difficulty in engaging and more…
  • To gain insight into personal motivation for working with children and their families, including the importance of being mindful and professionally honest, (including during Professional Supervision), in order to maintain high standards and safety for all.

During this 2-day course we will also:

  • Conduct a detailed exploration of attachment styles, looking closely at secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganised patterns, including the well-documented link between attachment and brain development;
  • Identify the ways in which these key dynamics of relationship between parent and child influence the pattern of interaction with others, including within the early years or school environment, within the community and in work with professional helping services;
  • Consider practical evidence of meaningful engagement between parents and practitioners, including behaviours that may indicate a ‘testing’ of the family: professional helper relationship;
  • Promote an awareness of practitioner’s early life attachment patterns and how this may effect them in their professional helping role;
  • Provide the opportunity for practising approaches to work with children and their families;
  • Explicitly note the interface between policy guidance and practical approaches to work with children and their families, including the Critical 1001 days Cross-Party Manifesto.