Adolescent to Parent Abuse: A Discursive Analysis of The Perspectives of Helping Professionals

October 11, 2017

Clear your calendar this December for the 2017 STOP Domestic Violence Conference Australia, held at Rydges Melbourne.

Miss Emily Coxall, Psychologist at Caraniche joins us this year to discuss “Adolescent to parent abuse: a discursive analysis of the perspectives of helping professionals“.

Adolescent to Parent Abuse: A Discursive Analysis of The Perspectives of Helping Professionals
Emily Coxall

Theorists argue that people’s perceptions of phenomena are influenced by social, cultural and political discourses. Furthermore, research asserts that the perceptions of helping professionals towards Adolescent-to- Parent abuse (A to P) can influence their therapeutic engagement with the parents and adolescents involved, and thus significantly impact on the psychological wellbeing and future help-seeking behaviours of these clients.

Currently, however, there is a lack of psychological research investigating A to P abuse from the perspectives of Australian helping professionals. In light of this, the current study used a qualitative research methodology based on Foucauldian methods of discourse analysis to explore the discourses relevant in shaping the perceptions of members of the Australian helping profession population towards A to P abuse.

A scenario and semi-structured interview questions were used to explore this research aim, which were developed by the student researcher. The study’s sample comprised of six participants who worked with parents and adolescents affected by A to P abuse. Findings identified five discursive themes as being relevant to this sample, including: the role of gender, empathy for the parent as victim and protector, all people are accountable for their actions, parents as the agents responsible for actioning change, and confusion and impoverishment within the profession. Such discourses illustrated the complex array of factors influencing Australian helping professionals’ perceptions of A to P abuse.

Furthermore, the results depicted participants’ unanimous desires to use the therapeutic relationship to encourage change within abusive parent-child relationships, so as to protect the wellbeing of adolescents perceived as vulnerable and to promote a more pro-social, safe and civilised society in reducing the occurrence of A to P abuse.

The 2017 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will embark on the theme of ‘Domestic Violence Does Not Discriminate’ with nine featured speakers and over 50 expert stream/ workshop presenters.  The Conference aims to provide a platform for a unified national voice on ending domestic violence.

Find out more here.

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