For me a typical day as a therapist at Kites starts with a clinical discussion with the Head of Therapy. He usually makes the coffee as I stumble in laden with my resource boxes, most likely slightly late. We then sit down to discuss any incidents that may have occurred since last week and try to have a space for thinking about what it must be like for the staff managing difficult behaviours and peer dynamics. I am then offered a space to specifically think about my allocated boys and how they are engaging with their individual and group therapy. As a psychodynamic psychotherapist it is vital that I have a space to think about the transferential and counter-transferential dynamics that may arise in such highly complex work. It is enormously helpful that he has years of experience and relevant case examples up his sleeve to throw light on what comes up in the work, encouraging me to think in varying ways and theoretical perspectives. At this point, we invariably go off on a tangent comparing stories with the enthusiasm I fear only fellow therapists will appreciate! We then realise we are running late…
We head off to one of the residential homes to participate in the weekly Case Discussion Safeguarding Meeting. The entire staff team attends the weekly meeting; Head of Children Services, the Residential Manager, the whole residential staff team, the Head Teacher at Kites’ on-site school, Head of Therapy and me. We review each of the boys’ risk management plans and catch up on pressing issues. With such complex work it is vital that the multi-disciplinary team come together to consider risks and vulnerabilities.
We then have a structured clinical discussion regarding one boy. We consider the boy’s journey and how their attachment history and trauma stories have contributed to their harmful sexual behaviours and relational patterns. The whole staff group will share their thoughts and feelings about the boy. Often it is clear that each member of staff is holding and containing an element of their story. We will then think creatively about the boys needs and how we might adapt our work to optimise the boy’s experience with us. It is a humbling to see the impact that the boys have on those that care for them on a day-to-day basis, us as therapists and the management team. There will always be someone who gushes about how much they like them, of course, we all do. Despite whatever behaviours brought the boys to Kites, they are all strikingly loveable, which of course fills us with hope for what we can enable them to achieve in their time with us and throughout their lives ahead. I notice that at the end of the meeting there is always a sense of mutual respect for the part that each member of the team plays in supporting the boy.
The rest of the day is spent in individual therapy with the boys I am lucky enough to work with. Each of the boys brings to therapy something different, a new stimulating challenge for me. An opportunity to apply my knowledge and work on my skills as a therapist. To give them an opportunity for a new developmental relationship with the potential for healing.