Lika introduces Therapeutic Family Consultations for foster carers
At a glance
- How will Lika’s new Therapeutic Family Consultations work?
- How can these therapeutic consultations help foster carers?
- Who is in the therapeutic family consultations?
- What kind of issues can foster carers ask for help with?
- Does this replace supervision or any other support currently provided to foster carers?
From January 2022, Lika Family Fostering will introduce a new clinic to support our amazing foster carers.
We’re calling them Therapeutic Family Consultations and they’re an opportunity for carers to discuss any issues they’re having, or their young person is having, and to explore solutions together with a group of Lika’s therapeutic professionals.
These clinics are designed to be every bit as friendly, approachable and supportive as everything else we do at Lika. But they’re also a great opportunity for our carers (and their support networks) to pick the brains of the entire Lika professional support team at once, to come up with some approaches and possible solutions to whatever issues they’re having and to create positive change in the life of their young person.
The consultation clinic will be open every second Thursday and they’ll be led by me, Kate-Marie Travis. I’m one of Lika’s directors, a qualified Systemic Social Work Practitioner and a trainee psychotherapist in my final year of training. The rest of the Lika professional team will be there, too. Carers and young people can book consultations through their Supervising Social Worker.
It’s designed to be a reflective space—a place foster carers can come (with members of their fostering network, if they wish), or young people can come (with their professional network, if they wish), to talk about any issues they’re having. It’s all about listening, talking, brainstorming, and exploring ideas and approaches, and getting to a point where the foster carer (and/or the young person) leaves at the end of the consultation with a plan of action. So, it’s about practical, therapeutic advice and strategies for creating positive change.
But, it doesn’t end there. Your Supervising Social Worker will work with you on those solutions and will check on the usefulness of the ideas discussed in the consultation, as you put them into practice. If you need to come back to the clinic for more discussion, you absolutely can. It’s all very much led by either the social worker or the foster carer, so you can decide to come back if you want to, or if you feel like the situation has resolved or moved on, then you don’t need another consultation.
Unlike training, these therapeutic consultations are bespoke to you, your young person and whatever dilemma you’re facing. They speak to your exact situation.
Importantly, these consultations are a kind of fast track to gaining therapeutic interventions and do not require any change to your fostering package with Local Authority. They’re something extra we’re providing for you to ensure that if you’re having an issue, then within a fortnight you can meet with the whole Lika team and we can all work together to find a way to resolve things.
The advantage of having all Lika’s professional team in the consultations is you get a diversity of ideas and advice, not just the advice and expertise of a single therapist. All of these people are trained and have a lot of experience, but you can hear a plethora of ideas and then choose a solution that suits you, knowing it comes from a place of expertise.
It’s all about providing you, the foster carer, with new ideas you might not have come across before, to find the right solution for you and your situation.
The wider Lika professional team will be in the consultations with you. It’s the faces you already know—me, Linda, Jamie, Susanna, Sasha and Sabina. Sometimes we might have a student social worker in the room, too.
Then there’s you and whomever you’d like or need to attend, for example, any members of the foster family or network, perhaps your young person, or any of the young person’s professional network. We’d encourage you to speak to your Supervising Social Worker about who should attend.
The clinic is available for foster carers and young people to consult the Lika professional team about absolutely any dilemma you’re facing.
This is a very short list (and not remotely exhaustive) but here are some examples of the kinds of situations where a Therapeutic Family Consultation might be a good option:
- Persistent behavioural issues and behaviour management
- Unwanted behavioural patterns, like aggressive outbursts
- Young person refusing to go to school or unmotivated to go to school
- Difficulties connecting to the young person’s professional network
- Difficulties with emotional connectivity or communicating emotions
- Difficulties communicating past trauma
- Feeling an emotional barrier between the carer and the young person
- Resilience issues
- Challenging or overwhelming placements
- Issues with your support network.
No, these clinics do not replace any support or training you’re already receiving. It’s something we’re doing in addition to everything else because we believe in supporting our foster carers so they can create realistic and positive change in the lives of their young people. The clinics do not deplete the fostering package from your Local Authority.
We regard foster care as a profession, so we want all our carers to know they are never alone in what they’re trying to achieve—they belong to a professional network and are part of a broader team who all learn from each other and collaboratively work to improve the lives of young people.
These clinics are just another way we’re demonstrating that commitment, and we’re really proud to be able to offer them.
If you’re in south or east London and you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, give the helpful team at Lika a call on 020 8667 2111. We’re here to answer all your questions.
We’re in the London boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Merton, Lambeth, Westminster, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, City of London, Haringey, Newham, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea.