An inquiry into child and youth care narratives of experience in children's mental health treatment




Solinski, Ronald John

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This study is concerned with the inter-subjectively co-constructed narratives of experience, for Child and Youth Care practitioners, in an agency-based school program which focuses on treatment of DSM diagnosed children. This school-based program is formally committed to a strength-based practice for treatment of mental disorder. A Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) diagnosis is required for admission to this program. This agency-based practice exists at the intersection of dissonant discourses of understanding, in the treatment of children’s mental disorder. In this study, a narrative methodology of inquiry, situated in a post-modern epistemology of understanding, was utilized to investigate the narratives of experience of four Child and Youth Care practitioners. Narratives are distinctive units of speech that are typically employed by the narrator to convey evaluative meaning in context. Narratives inquiry represents a useful means for understanding questions of experience, as people use narratives to organize and evaluate their knowledge and transactions with the social world. The narrative, as a reflection of intersubjective constructs of meaning, provides a means of understanding the individual or group through its conveyance of lived experience. The results of this study include four narratives, written in the first person, communicating the subjective experiences of Child and Youth Care practitioners in this unique practice setting. Each of these narratives suggests the importance of, and methods towards, finding ways for strength-based practitioners to practice in harmony in landscapes of deficit-focused understandings.



Child and Youth care, narratives, strength-based, social construction