A few months ago, Footsteps to Futures’ Forensic Psychologist in Training, Richard Jones, wrote an in-depth look at what it means to be a Therapeutic Community in the world of residential child social care.
In this, he focused on exploring the true meaning behind being a Therapeutic Community (TC) and what one consists of, such as being a supportive
network to all the children who are living in the community. He also explored what setting up a therapeutic community meant for Footsteps to Futures Ltd.
Richard mentions that throughout his training and development he has found himself drawn to therapeutic approaches such as Compassion Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, both of which contributed to creating a TC that could be championed. He comments on how the home is now very focused about how thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect one another.
In the blog, Richard highlights that it’s essential that professionals and the workforce in the home do not use judgemental terms that children are sometimes referred to in publications and in the media. Children usually internalise and remember situations where they’ve been called these judgemental terms. This can lead to children blaming themselves and internalising thoughts and feelings. He wrote about how the culture of the home champions using non-judgemental and compassionate language when staff communicate with the children. This makes the environment in which the children live, one where they can thrive.
As well as exploring the term, Therapeutic Community, Richard provides real-life evidence and experience of why it’s important to provide therapeutic care for children in the home. He also asks the reader some probing and important questions about working in a Therapeutic Community.
In the blog, Richard reveals how Footsteps to Futures has become a therapeutic community, as well as building a conclusion on what it really means to become one. But also highlighting that it’s about developing what feels right for a child’s residential home, not just about what is the current accepted practice, which often falls below what the child needs to develop a natural pattern of thinking and behaviour.
He leaves you with an important question to ponder: wouldn’t you want to work in an environment where people are treated equally, respected and given numerous opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings about the running of the environment in which they reside?
Richard is committed to improving the life trajectories of children who reside in Footsteps to Futures, providing care on a level that is fit to be championed.