A Man's a Man for A' That
"For All That" - the name of this, Nick Child's, website about demystification - is a reference to Robert Burns' poem 'A Man's a Man for A' That'. That poem is about seeing through appearances to the human beneath. Demystification does that too.
Here's Nick's TEDx talk: A Maverick's Mission and Mistakes
Confusion and Demystification
Nick's life began in experiences of confusion. His life's theme has been demystification. Here's a compact autobiography as a kind of children's story: "Ben and The Futurescope" (Feb 2010) It helps explain the focus on confusion and demystification.
Demystification of the helping professions emphasises ordinary good practice. Ordinary good practice best gives and gets clients and workers their humanity and life - "life" as in the phrase "get a life". You know when you take a step to "getting a life" because you'll "get it" - it clicks with you, it moves you.
Until Spring 2014, Nick fought a losing battle in the field of family therapy to name this "systemic practice". Call it "roughlective practice" instead.
As a doctor and psychiatrist, Nick's model of mental illness and health was multifactorial. That notion is the standard one for the profession, but in practice a more bio-scientific model dominates (see many articles here in For All That). Richard Bentall's article in the Guardian (26th Feb 2016) is a particularly clear and well-researched article - i.e. it is demystifying. It puts relationship experiences more clearly in the picture.
For All That was launched at the Connections in Practice conference in Stirling in March 2000. Nick's keynote speech there was on The Potential of Systemic Practice, a demystification of family therapy into good practice for social work (on that occasion). For an updated version of that keynote speech, download the article from Context 110 (Summer 2010). Nick retired from the NHS in 2003, to work in a voluntary sector family therapy team until the post-separation campaigning took over.
From 2010-14, Nick led a campaign to explore every direction in which UK family therapy could go to expand the underdeveloped non-statutory sector in which he was working. Reviving an old email network to become Aspens, launched with Systemic Means Much More, he presented Learning from America Again, expanded webpages here for specific aspects of that (Couple Therapy and Parental Alienation; Relations Unlimited; Equalism). In Derby, Nick's plenary and workshop were: On, In and Out the Box and Why do we dismiss Parental Alienation? At EFTA in Istanbul he asked: How Come Couple Therapy is Novel to Euro-FT?
Since 2015 Nick began puzzling in earnest about separated families. The place to see that thinking develop is the alienation experience blog. In turn that gave way to joining in the Two Wishes Foundation, an international organisation launched (in Jan 2021) for building healthier families and transforming family break-ups for the sake of our children. This one will see me out, I think!
Some of Nick's papers that people commonly want to read are:
Family Therapy: The Rest of the Picture
Deficient Attention and Disordered Activity: Child Psychiatry's Response to ADHD
The Limits of the Medical Model in Child Psychiatry
The Potential of Systemic Practice: A Huge Army of Great Workers
Systemic Means Much More .. in the community and for other professions
(or get a pdf version of SMMM here).
Quality Thinking and a Formula They Can't Refuse
Keeping One Eye on Family Abuse is Not Enough
Equalism: the heart of the social GRACES.
Dariusz Baran, systemic and family psychotherapist in Rzeszow, Poland, visited Motherwell way back. He shares the framework of working "in the peripheries of excellence" and has done Nick the honour of translating several of these papers into Polish. They're available here.
Briefly About Nick
Nick lives in Edinburgh. Trained in Edinburgh, he was a child and family psychiatrist in the Child and Family Clinic, Motherwell for 22 years. Retired in 2003, he likes to spread his time between family therapy, internet work, house, friends and family. Three other websites add to the picture: thealienationexperience.org.uk , equalism.org.uk, and Salsa Ceilidh More about Nick here. And read Ben and The Futurescope of course.
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