Why won’t they behave? Why can’t they learn?

A short programme of FREE online talks on working with troubled children

  • Fri 13 May - Wed 6 Jul 22


  • Online

  • Event speaker

    Dr Chris Nicholson, Prof Sue Kegerreis, Arianna Pulsoni, Dr Norman Gabriel and Chris Tanner

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Dr Chris Nicholson

Join us for this series of free online talks delivered by lecturers and practitioners from the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies fdA/BA Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations programme.

Friday 13th May 4.30pm to 6pm. 

Understanding and Working with Self-harm.

Dr Chris Nicholson

Self-harm has been described as ‘a morbid form of self-help’ (Favazza, 1987).  But how can acts that manifestly hurt the self also be helpful? This talk will form an introduction to self-harm, what it is and what we know about it.  We will then look more deeply into the underlying reasons for self-harm, seeing acts of self-harm as forms of unconscious communication – using two case examples. After the presentation, Chris will run a workshop introducing the ‘self-harm spectrum’ through which you can share your experiences and ask questions.

Monday 14th  June, 4pm to 5.30pm

Why won’t they behave? Why can’t they learn?

Professor Sue Kegerreis

This talk will introduce you to some of the less obvious factors at work in children who are disruptive or difficult to manage, or who are inhibited in or resistant to learning.  This deeper understanding can help us find more productive strategies to help.  

Tuesday 21st June, 4pm to 5.30pm

Under Pressure: Therapeutic work in residential children’s homes?

Dr Chris Nicholson

The residential children’s sector is growing but there is little consensus about what a ‘therapeutic’ model of care looks like, and why both staff and the young people they cater for seem unstable, with staff under pressure leaving the work and children often moving from home to home.   In this talk, I will outline the main psychological factors that drive looked-after children to compulsively destroy their one hope – their placement and you, the residential care staff who provide it.  Drawing on psychoanalytic ideas of immediate contemporary relevance, I will show that the counter-intuitive  and self-obstructive behaviours and actions of deeply troubled children come down to painfully direct questions: Am I good enough?  Can I be loved? Do you want me?

Wednesday  29th   June, 4pm to 5pm

“Be Yourself”: Beyond the screen – a school intervention, using virtual Reality environment for assessment and prevention in Children and adolescents with early signs of body image disorder and gender identity difficulties.

Arianna Pulsoni and Dr. Norman Gabriel

Young people face ongoing uncertainty at a transitional stage in their lives and may be at greater risk of bullying, shame and idealised body-images during a period of accelerated and intensive use of social media. The BE YOURSELF school intervention is the result of carefully considering difficulties experienced by children and adolescents related to body image, body perception, body shaming and related cyberbullying, as well as feelings of “inhabiting the wrong body”. This innovative intervention aims to assess children and adolescents’ difficulties and to enable them to explore their emotions and develop potential  growth in a virtual space.

Wednesday 6th  July, 4pm to 5.30pm

Supporting the staff: creating the space to think.

Chris Tanner

This workshop is about how to support staff teams, and in particular how to unpack the stresses of the work, reflect on its different impacts ,  and recover the space to think. We will looking at case studies, at what psychodynamic theory can tell us, and putting some of it into practice.


Register your place

Entry is free and open to all but please register your place

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