The LIFE Treatment

by Olivia Okonkwo & Dean Whittington



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 9/18/2022

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.5x11
Page Count : 68
ISBN : 9781728374079
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 68
ISBN : 9781728374062

About the Book

The LIFE TREATMENT book outlines how to enact a young person’s psychologically informed children’s home. “The book aims to generate a paradigm shift in the way that services that generate emotional recovery become embedded as a social norm.” This is an innovative exploration detailing how psychologically informed interventions can be used to facilitate emotional recovery within young people: those who are most marginalised in society to such an extent they have been rendered invisible. All of this is undertaken by drawing upon a phenomenological existential approach in assisting young people who enter the care system eventually flourish. By revitalising the standards of care within children’s homes (this being one of the first interventions within the field) LIFE is providing a new standard of care for young people. Simply by recognising the impact of inter-generational trauma shaping emotional well-being, the practitioners can focus on helping the young person obtain awareness. From this they can help them coproduce a life vision. By undertaking this approach, the young person can build a sense of ontological security, undertaken by building positive relationships. Furthermore, by enhancing a young person’s emotional literacy, they nurture their social interest to create more positive connections whilst also being autonomous.

About the Author

Dr Dean Whittington previously worked for 16 years as a psychotherapist within the addictions/self-medication field, initially based in Deptford SE London, and then latterly working across South London. In the process he devised the first BAME, Women and Men’s therapeutic drug services along with support for young people at school. This therapeutic work unearthed issues relating to trauma in childhood during the 1990’s, dynamics that later shaped adolescence and adulthood often hidden from mainstream services. Therapeutic insight became a way of understanding the young people’s behaviour as opposed to imposing labels, idealisations and projections upon them. In the therapeutic work undertaken with the homeless from 2006-2011, underlying traumatic issues were unearthed. This discovery provided the basis for the launch of psychologically informed environments, later used by the Dept of Communities and Local Government in a more truncated form. The basis of LIFE is a return to the more expansive holistic and phenomenological foundations of PIE; erased within the current ideations. This expansiveness is highlighted here: Emotional recovery and positive interventions require building on key individual strengths whilst working towards a life vision. All of this necessitates working through trauma whilst requiring constant reflexivity when entering the bath of steel. The impetus for the service is grounded upon praxis drawing from both theory and practice to think about how best to support everyone. As someone who is mixed ethnicity and grew up in various environments where I faced several predicaments, I eventually undertook a reflection on my experiences. I became aware for example that the people around me had assisted me with my emotional growth and from this reflection I began to see how other young people can also be assisted to embark on a similar trajectory: although no two journeys are ever the same. In thinking about how best to support young people I can see that working through early trauma and building a positive sense of the future are essential. As someone who is involved in setting up the service, my role is in building the container where the staff team can innovate whilst working with the young people to enhance their creativity. It requires working through their defences, needing significant patience in both building, and then sustaining trust. It also entails thinking about the long-term impact of inter-generational trauma, in particular, how this shapes the present-day worlds of individuals: providing the basis to reflect on how to change the young people’s internal scripts.