Supporting children and responding to families: Steps on the way to family change

Elizabeth Fernandez, John Paul Healy

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Members of all of the helping professions (psychology, education, social work, advocacy, etc.) seek to understand the nature of the helping relationship. What are the essential elements in a relationship between professional and a client that persuade the client (be it a child, a parent, or an entire family) into taking the courageous steps to change their behaviour, thoughts, or situation? Drop-out rates and non-compliance rates are very high; even when families are living in dire conditions, breaking through old patterns or environments takes courage and persistence. Helping professionals are charged with facilitating this courage to change, but the critical skills, techniques and qualities possessed by successful practitioners remain elusive. This book helps to fill this gap. Seven case studies in community centres in five different countries around the world, permit to identify the essential elements that helped families to find their way out of abusive or neglectful parenting patterns, estrangement from, and violence between, family members, isolation from their social support and community services, and other strains that result into poor outcomes for both children and their families.These seven case studies are prefaced by an overarching conceptual framework guiding an exploration of the essential elements of change in the helping relationship. The concluding chapter illuminates what appear to be the universal essential elements of change, as well as cultural differences in the helping relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentifying essential elements of change
Subtitle of host publicationlessons from international research in community-based family centres
EditorsM. Berry
Place of PublicationBelgium
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789033464683
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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