Profiles of Resistance; A Response-Based Approach with Youth in Care

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Bonnah, Shelly
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This paper invites readers to challenge the common social and professional discourse that pathologizes children within the foster care system. Through recognizing the inherent experiences of facing adversity and profound loss that exist when children are separated from their families and placed into a system of professional caregivers, one learns that their behaviours are better understood as responses and resistance to feelings of powerlessness and betrayal. The behavioural approach that is commonly applied to the child‘s resistant stance becomes insufficient and potentially harmful in its denial of recognizing both the presence of grief and behaviours that can alternatively be viewed as understandable responses to deeply troubling circumstances. A response-based approach to these children is holistic in providing both young people, and those who care for them, with assistance to consider their responses as physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and relational resistance to adversity. In this proposal for further research, I will introduce a philosophical orientation to youth in care that provides an option to diagnostic and pathology-oriented practices.
response-based therapy , children in foster care , therapy for foster children