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'Everyone Started Shouting': Making Connections between the Process of Family Group Conferences and Family Therapy Practice

Sally Holland and Mark Rivett
The British Journal of Social Work
Vol. 38, No. 1 (January 2008), pp. 21-38
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23722626
Page Count: 18
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'Everyone Started Shouting': Making Connections between the Process of Family Group Conferences and Family Therapy Practice
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Abstract

This article presents findings from a qualitative study of family group conferences (FGCs) in Wales, UK. The study examined the process of seventeen FGCs involving twenty-five young people, using semi-structured interviews, analysis of documents and collection of data on welfare outcomes. Young people were re-interviewed after six months. The article focuses on the data concerning reported communications between family members during the family meetings. These data are discussed in relation to similarities and differences between FGCs and family therapy sessions. The authors conclude that each method of intervention presents potential lessons and challenges to the other. FGC co-ordinators might wish to reflect on how to manage and prepare family members for the potential for expressions of emotion and disclosures of confidential information that might arise in a family meeting. Family therapy has a long history of successfully working with such processes. Additionally, family therapists may wish to reflect on the successful management of intra-familiar conflict and disclosure by many families acting without a therapist or other professional present in a FGC.

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