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Connected Disconnections Negotiating family separation, membership and conflict: A discourse analysis

Galbally, Paul Michael (2021) Connected Disconnections Negotiating family separation, membership and conflict: A discourse analysis. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Parental separation affects family forms and creates challenges around managing co-parenting relationships. The literature has identified a change in how western families are viewed, moving away from traditional identifiers to a role-based and social practices construct which includes the growing number of non-traditional families. Despite this shift, family therapy continues to draw from a framework of family as a nuclear entity, leading to challenges in working successfully with troubled families, resulting in disengagement and unsatisfactory clinical outcomes. Therefore, this study seeks to better understand how re-formed family configurations function and co-parent to inform professional practice. The research takes the form of a discourse analysis that uses semi-structured interviews with separated parents (3 men and 4 women) who have experienced either high or low conflict separations, to understand how this conflict influences co-parenting. However, tensions were introduced by bringing together insights from a range of academic disciplines to develop a broader understanding of family and its clinical application based on the perspective and experiences of a family therapist. Findings suggest separations are painful experiences that people make sense of by constructing moralistic narratives of what happened and who was responsible. Individuals then typically engage in a process of rebuilding their lives and incorporating co-parenting relationships into new family forms that seems compelled and constrained by conflict and a discursive field of heteronormative social norms around public understandings of family. A clinical model is put forward to represent this process. Professional implications of the findings are discussed and it is suggested that developing an effective treatment plan with separated parents requires explicit understanding of their perspectives of family and how separation events continually constitute family troubles and their responses. It is recommended that the proposed model can be used to guide ex-partners towards a co-parenting partnership using a rebranded therapeutic intervention that addresses problematic assumptions around the clinical term of ‘the family’.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Family, Separation, Divorce, Psychology, Family Therapy, Interdisciplinary Research, Discourse Analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Paul Galbally
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2021 16:18
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2021 16:18
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30261

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