Nurturing Families Project

It’s well accepted that adverse childhood experiences have a devastating impact on the child’s emotional development and life chances: a focus on creating stable and nurturing families is therefore a valuable preventative measure.


In our experience, it generally makes sense to provide counselling for the parent, as well as directly helping the child when appropriate. As one headteacher told us: “unless we see a change in the parent, we don’t see a change in the child.”


Parents in the most-affected families are often stuck: their mental health problems prevent them making the most of the helping agencies, while the unaddressed adversity and instability in their lives inhibits them from using counselling. To prevent further harm to the child, something has to change.


Working with partners, Flourish is piloting a new approach: the Integrated Therapist-Advocate Model. In this model, the parent is offered psychotherapy at the same time as the advocacy that they need to break the deadlock on practical problems relating to issues such as housing, poverty, benefits, health problems, neighbourhood safety, child’s education, etc. In a flexible and client-centred way, advocacy can lead to the parent solving their practical problems, while at the same time getting the emotional support and counselling to resolve their mental health issues. This leads to greater independence and a more nurturing environment for the children.


Our two pilot projects (in Hastings, Sussex and on the Wirral, Merseyside) have reported good success with our Integrated Therapist-Advocate model: for an interim report, please click HERE.

Young Woman Discussing Problems With Counselor
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