Building relational trust and hope: The experiences of counsellors in a service for birth relatives whose children have been adopted or taken into care

Lizette Nolte, Caoimhe Forbes

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Abstract

The profound and lasting impact of losing a child to adoption or foster care has been powerfully described, and the importance of offering therapeutic support to birth relatives is a requirement in most parts of the UK. However, little is known about effective counselling for this group. In this article, we report on the experiences of four counsellors and a project worker who offer counselling to birth relatives whose children have been removed following care proceedings. We present their reflections under four themes, namely: ‘It’s all about the person, it’s all about the relationship’; ‘Meeting clients where they are’; ‘Having a sense of achievement’; and ‘This work can really get into you’. These accounts offer valuable reflections for others offering counselling to birth relatives and their supervisors, as well as those who commission and design these services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalAdoption and Fostering
Volume47
Issue number1
Early online date24 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Articles
  • Birth relatives
  • birth parents
  • care proceedings
  • therapeutic engagement
  • therapeutic relationship
  • adoption
  • foster care
  • counselling

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