Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Mental health of looked-after children: embodiment and use of space

Callaghan, J., Fellin, L. and Alexander, J. (2015) Mental health of looked-after children: embodiment and use of space. In: Evans, B., Horton, J. and Skelton, T. (eds.) Play, Recreation, Health and Well Being. Singapore: Springer. pp. 1-20.

Item Type: Book Section
Abstract: Much psychological language uses metaphors of space and place to conceptualize human experience. In everyday conversation, people talk about needing “space to think” or “putting some distance” between our self and someone we find difficult. In psychotherapy, much emphasis is placed on the psychic geography of the “therapeutic space,” for instance, talk about maintaining boundaries, providing containment. Psychologists and psychotherapists use topographical models to envision psychological processes – like “levels of consciousness” (the conscious and the unconscious) – and use the language of movement and distance to make sense of our relationalities. And yet, psychologists and other mental health professionals have been surprisingly resistant to theorizing the importance of space and place in children’s daily lives and its implications for their mental health and well-being. This is particularly notable in research focused on children who are looked after away from home, where work on mental health has focused very strongly on the impact of being looked after on inner experiences of mental health and well-being, individualizing and pathologizing young people’s lives, but neglecting the importance of the impact of the many experiences of physical and material displacement that young people in care have. This chapter explores how the mental health of looked-after children is conceptualized and the implications of considering the importance of space and embodiment in looked-after children’s mental health and well-being. The importance of notions of “home” and “belonging” for young people in care is considered, and the implications of these for an understanding of their well-being, as well as their experiences of distress, are explored.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Looked after children, fostering, mental health, embodiment, space
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental health services. Mental illness prevention
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ499 Mental disorders. Child psychiatry
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV701 Children
Creators: Callaghan, Jane, Fellin, Lisa and Alexander, Jo
Editors: Evans, Bethan, Horton, John and Skelton, Tracey
Publisher: Springer
Northamptonshire and East Midlands: Health
Social Issues
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Centre for Family Life
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Group > Social and Cultural Research in Psychology Group
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Health & Society > Psychology
Faculties > Faculty of Health & Society > Psychology
Research Centres > Centre for Health Sciences and Services
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 29 December 2015
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 1-20
Title of Book: Play, Recreation, Health and Well Being
Series Name: Geographies of children and young people
Volume: 9
Place of Publication: Singapore
Number of Pages: 600
Language: English
ISBN: 9789814585521
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
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