Editorial

This issue reflects the variety of approaches currently offered to children who seek our 
help. It raises questions about our attitudes to children and how we expect them to lit into 
our current social arrangements.

The approaches to working with children vary from, models reflecting pre – and perina
tal experiences, systemic approaches based on family therapy, universal models of development of the psyche common to adults and children and child-centred methods of intervention based on the concept of play. The most challenging proposition is that children 
and adults share a common psychescape combining light and darkness and many shades
 in between.

Working with children does not fit easily into the commonly held model of the theraeputic contract whereby the client seeks out the therapist on his/her own initiative and 
reaches a mutually acceptable agreement about the parameters and goals of the relation
ship. Parents or other adults normally bring children to us and their continued attendance
 depends as much on the agreement of those adults as the wishes of the children. In 
exceptional cases where children need help and their parents or guardians oppose such
 intervention, the state in the form of a Health Board arranges through the legal system to
 have therapeutic help provided, further complicating the contractual framework.

We react in horror to the dreadful attitudes and treatment meted out to children in the
 past. It is not long ago since children were considered to be less than human and child 
rearing was based on hand-me down theories from animal training. However, despite 
all of us having gone through childhood, are we more enlightened or do we just have new
 methods of animal husbandry?

Recently the Swiss Government published a Report with the intriguing title, “Battery or 
Free- Range Children?” The title suggests that the modern trend in child rearing is more 
battery than free-range. (The nursery, creche, pre-school, after-school, child-minder,
 summer school, quality time etc. are all ways to subcontract the child-parent relation-
ships to worker bees). The British Government’s green paper on childcare strategy
 promises; “childcare at the push of a button”. Parents will be able to telephone a national hotline to help them find places in nurseries, playgroups and after
 school clubs for their children.


With the aid of technology we can create perpetual daylight and anaesthetise our guilt by
 limiting the dangers that children face by permanent monitoring and surveillance. 
Following each child/-minding scandal there is a demand to install cameras at home or
 in the creche to monitor child-minders so that parents can have on-line access from the
 comfort of their own workstations via the internet to see that baby is not being abused.

Are we helping children or helping them adjust to the requirements of Big Brother and 
Sister? There are some great benefits from working with children in psychotherapy. It
 can be like rediscovering what parenting and therapy are about.

This issue also includes tributes to our late editor, Alan A Mooney, and an article, compiled from his writings, reflecting his deep beliefs in the value of bodywork.

Our Autumn Issue will take The Therapeutic Relationship as theme and we welcome
 contributions on this topic.