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P-43 Empowering parents of children to become a therapeutic agent of change
  1. Jolanta Martis
  1. ellenor, Northfleet, UK


Background During lockdown parents who have children suffering with life- limiting illness or who experienced grief had considerably reduced access to professionals and face-to-face working. Hospices were challenged to adapt a new way of working. Momentous events that so fundamentally impact our entire society lead us to re-examine our belief structures and ways of working.

Aim To provide parents with the tools to enable them to feel more in control when everything else seems without control. To help create emotional openings, paths to their child’s world.

Methods Parents were asked to attend a block of 10 online sessions to help them strengthen the relationship by using 30-minutes structured playtime once a week, using a kit of carefully selected toys in their own home. Parents were provided with the guidance to help build the child’s self-esteem, help the child learn self-control and responsibility. Providing dialogue, the parents were empowered to be a therapeutic agent of change for their child.

Results Written and verbal feedback indicated that parents felt more equipped to support and improve their parent/child relationship. The results support that the benefits of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) may extend to the family system. They became more in control and prepared for the future on how to support their children. The parents valued flexibility in the approach.

Conclusions Our daily practices feel right and true to us, regardless of whether they have evolved to keep up with the pace of change. To initiate a new approach to current conditions, based on our experiences of COVID-19 and re-direction of support has been highly valued by patients and their families. However, they are not about making incremental changes that lead to new ways of doing things based on old beliefs. They are geared instead toward causing a total shift of perceptions, beliefs and thought process.

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