Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
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Elspeth McAdam is a Child and Family Psychiatrist and systemic therapist who has recently retired from the UK National Health Service (NHS) after 30 years. With her experience as a systemic therapist and consultant psychiatrist she has been on the cutting edge of developments in both the therapeutic and organizational world.
In her NHS work she has used systemic, narrative and appreciative practices in working with tough situations. She has specialized in working with children who are on the criminal edge and also families in which there has been violence or child sexual abuse. With Peter Lang she has developed some unusual and very effective ways of working with these situations. She now supervises all over Europe in complex situations where therapists or families have felt unable to move forward.
Elspeth has worked as an Organizational Consultant in Sweden, Denmark and Finland as well as in Southern Africa and Columbia . She has been involved in organizational development programs of the public and private sector organizations. Her style of working is to validate and appreciate the strengths and skills within the personnel of an organization; recognizing what each individual person can contribute and using these strengths and skills to create dreams of an ideal working situation. Practical plans are created as to how these visions can be actualized.
As an example of some of the work she has participated in, it would be useful to acknowledge her involvement in the rethinking of three towns in Sweden where there had been a considerable degree of violence and vandalism. School children were invited to interview all members of the community, generating energy and enthusiasm to create the community they would choose to live in. A sense of autonomy and pride and personal responsibility resulted. Similarly, she was involved in working with communities in Helsinki to create more integration and community spirit in deprived areas of Helsinki . She has done similar projects in Columbia , Chile , Zimbabwe and South Africa .
At present she is involved in a HIV Prevention program in Uganda where HIV positive people are being trained as the agents of community change.
She is also involved in a research project on effective ways of working in situations of drugs and alcohol misuse in young people, involving their communities and families.
Working both organizationally as well as therapeutically she draws on both her systemic and appreciative inquiry skills. Appreciative Inquiry has been used extensively in the organizational world and with Peter Lang, she has enriched the process by adding her extensive psychotherapeutic experience to motivate and get the very best out of the people she works with.
Elspeth co-authored with Peter Lang the book: Appreciative Work in Schools. Click here for information about the book: Appreciative Work in Schools.pdf