A1: It Takes a Village: Children and Constellations (Panel Discussion)
C2: It Takes a Village: A Workshop for Everyone Involved in Raising a Child (Workshop)
Una O’Connell is a teacher (since 1989) and trained at the Bert Hellinger Institute in New York (in 2001). She works as a systemic family therapist in education.
In 2000, she returned to the UK as the CEO and later the Principal of an English language school in Kent. In 2001/02, Una trained in Systemic Family Constellations at the Hellinger Institute in New York.
In 2007, she started working for Kids Company, a London charity founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh which supports children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Una worked in primary school classrooms, with individual children and with families. She was actively involved in social care issues, including child protection. Una provided training courses for both the teaching faculties and the team leaders at Kids Company schools. She was also invited to present her work at ‘The National College for School Leadership’ conference. Una now works freelance, offering workshops and trainings for educators, therapists and social workers on the subject of: ‘Family Conflict, Family Loyalty …… navigating the path between the two’. She continues to tutor English Language and Literature to high school students. Una has two daughters. She is married and lives near London.
A1 and C2: It Takes a Village – Children and Constellations: A Panel Discussion and Workshop for Everyone Involved in Raising a Child
Access the bigger picture of a child’s world through the work of Una O’Connell, Sharon Ruvane, and Carla Van Walsum.
Family Conflict, Family Loyalty – Navigating the Path Between Home and School
Presenter: Una O’Connell
When children cross the threshold of the school gates, they bring with them the whole of their family life. Their ability to engage in the classroom and on the playground depends upon their ability to integrate what may be a difficult home situation. Parenting support in schools often fails because the focus is on anti-social behavior and its management. The emotional well-being of the parents tends to be ignored. Consequently, they feel criticized and patronized. Children, loyal and sensitive to their parents’ shame, are caught in the gap; their scholastic and social struggles continue as do the cycles of disengagement and frustration.
How can we as teachers, therapists and social workers acknowledge a family loyalty we may judge to be misplaced in terms of life values and moral choices? How can we avoid holding an internal posture of prejudice and criticism in the face of so much ‘poor parenting’? What is our role as temporary, alternative caregivers to these children? How do we manage the temptation to be ‘better parents to them than their own parents’?
These questions will be considered through stories and practical exercises developed during the five years Una worked as a systemic family therapist in inner city London schools.