Promoting resilience: Working with children, their parents and teachers to promote the child's resilience through changing the narrative.

  • Rebecca Duckhouse

Student thesis: Phd


Resilience is the process by which protective factors enable a child to achieve desirable outcomes despite the presence of adversity in their lives. It develops through the child's interaction with their ecosystem; their family, school and wider community. A resilient child has internal resources, external supports and the interpersonal skills required facilitate this interdependency. Narrative theory suggests that when a child's prevalent narratives focus on protective factors rather than risk factors this will form a resilient self-identity. This thesis combines resilience literature and narrative theory by exploring the process of developing children's resilience through enhancing and creating protective focussed stories through narrative therapy. The narrative methodology Narrative Oriented Inquiry (NOI), (Hiles and Cermak, 2008) is used to gather and then explore the stories told by three children, their parents and their teachers. The children who had been identified by their teachers as needing to become more resilient were engaged in a short series of narrative therapy sessions with the aim of changing the nature of the stories they held about themselves from stories based on risk factors to those based on protective factors. The process was further supported through inviting the child's parent and teacher into the therapeutic sessions.This thesis makes a unique contribution by exploring how children's resilience can be promoted through use of narrative therapy in professional practice. The implications for educational psychology practice and resilience research are discussed. A number of limitations to the research design and so the conclusions made are discussed, these primarily focus on the unknown impact of the narrative therapy on the children's behaviour beyond the sessions and the complex nature of the dual researcher/practitioner role. The thesis explores the efficacy of NOI for research of this type. The processes NOI offers allow 'the told', 'the teller' and 'the telling' to inform a deep understanding of the stories shared. Interpreting the stories through the six interpretative lenses offered by NOI enabled the researcher to compare the stories told by each participant and to compare the stories told by different participants before and after the narrative therapy. The thesis offers suggestions for further development of the advice around its use and discusses the contribution NOI could make to educational psychology practice.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGarry Squires (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • Educational Psychology
  • Narrative Theory
  • Resilience
  • Narrative Oriented Inquiry

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