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The experience of life story work: reflections of young people leaving care

Buchanan, Anna 2014. The experience of life story work: reflections of young people leaving care. ClinPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Young people in care often lack basic information about their lives before care, the reasons for their entry into care and connection with their birth family. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2010) recommends the use of life story work for young people residing in local authority care in the UK, in order to support them to develop a coherent sense of identity. To date, there has been very little research on the efficacy or acceptability of this work from a young person’s perspective. The aim of this research was to explore care leavers’ experiences of life story work. Thirty-eight young people accessing local authority leaving care teams in South Wales completed a short survey to ascertain the perceived level of knowledge they had about their family of origin and to enquire about their experience of life story work. Nine of these young people participated in individual, semi-structured interviews that sought to explore their views about the life story work they had undertaken and the way in which they felt it had impacted on their sense of self. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the interview transcripts. Four super-ordinate themes relating to the experiences of life story work were identified: The need to know; Getting life story work right; Life story work: An emotional journey; and Life story work and the concept of family. The young people reported engaging in life story work to be a largely positive experience, and there was a degree of consensus on how the process of using this could be improved. All participants reported the value of contact with birth family members, especially siblings. However, life story work was felt to be useful by most, even when regular contact with their birth family was maintained. The clinical and service implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are proposed.

Item Type: Thesis (DClinPsy)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Life Story Work; Leaving Care; LAC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:46

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