Working with complex and resistant families – 2 days


This is a two-day course which involves participants sharing their own experiences and also includes some role-play. For this reason numbers should be limited to a maximum of 16, and participants should have had some experiences of working in situations where service-user engagement has been questionable and/or problematic.


  1. To introduce participants to a variety of frameworks for thinking about ‘involuntarism’ and applications in practice.
  2. To provide opportunities to reflect on professional and personal fears, experiences of resistance (passive/aggressive/disguised) with a view to developing appropriate/alternative strategies.
  3. To reinforce the importance of systematic assessment and management of danger.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be offered the opportunity to:

  • Develop understanding of the basic literature/theory about ‘resistance’ and ‘involuntarism’ and the importance of using the literature to:
    • Understand the impact of strong emotions on cognitive processes.
    • Maintain appropriate emotional and physical boundaries when interviewing aggressive service users.
    • Limit the distorting impact of service user aggression on professional networks.
  • Explore a framework for thinking through ‘discrepant’ information.
  • Infer clarity about the limits of confidentiality in Child Protection work and the need to share and analyse information.
  • Understand the importance and use of procedures and contracts.
  • Gain practical skills/techniques which reduce the likelihood of physical aggression
    • Assertive rather than persecutory.
    • Authoritative rather than authoritarian.
  • Consider a framework for thinking about levels and possible outcomes of ‘resistance’.
  • Identify complementary strategies for recognising and dealing with personal and client stress.
  • Derive an increased awareness of the importance of supervision