Understanding relations: contexts and meanings of psychological work in Residential Child Care Institutions.

Andrea Zanghì, Gioacchino Mazzola, Ivana Maniscalchi, Giuseppa Giangrande, Serena Giunta


This article aims at taking a look at the psychologist’s role in juvenile community centres. There are different kinds of Residential Child Care Centres and one constant-as to them-  is represented by the psychologist, an important and significant figure in all of the centres aiming at taking in minors, at  understanding their needs and at identifying and spotting their skills. Every day, each meeting is given up to the laborious construction of a sense of sharing, that shouldn’t neglect or overlook and demean the minor, that shouldn’t make even the peculiar importance of the community centre, that shouldn’t standardize all the good practices that make diversity a richness.

This is the programmatic aim of each juvenile reception center, but, in everyday’s routines, we have to take account of situations like “chaos”, “suffering”, “exhaustion”, “ bother”, “aggressiveness”, equally experienced by all the ones who are involved in the centre’s life. 

These conflicts, in a group context, have  to be identified, to be made clear, to be provided of significance.

As stated by Jaques (1989), only through the engagement of all the members in an analysis of the implicit rules that are related to the work structure/organization, it’s possible to activate a development process (working through) of the worries and anxiety tinged with the functions and the objectives of the belonging social institution. Burnout, related  to an individual or a work group, represents in this case a symptom that can’t be attributable to any individual or group psychopathology, but it’s a valuable and unequivocal sign of the fact that the centre is “ill” (Giunta et al., 2010).


Neglect, Disfunctional Behaviour,Make Sense, Multilevel Work

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ISSN: 2035-4630, Open-acess, peer-reviewed Journal, Tribunale di Roma 142/09, 04/05/09 - dir. responsabile: G. Colajacomo

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