Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents: book review

With many papers and now two books to her name, Amanda Holt is a leading voice in the field of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA), not just in the UK, but also around the world. APVA is a small but developing field, where networking provides a key method of information exchange, and it was through discussions with other academics and practitioners that the idea for this book was born. Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents: Approaches and contexts for intervention explores both the different theoretical bases and approaches to the work, and the very different contexts in which it takes place.

In Part 1, Therapeutic Approaches, we hear from six individuals from around the world, each of whom has made a major contribution to the understanding of APVA and the development of programmes and work to support families to bring about change. In Part 2, Contexts for Intervention, the focus is on the different agencies, cultures and philosophies, which shape the way the work is delivered, and we hear from another ten experts over four chapters. Along the way, the various contributors share the way their work developed, and the transformative nature of the programme delivery. There are two final chapters. Jo Howard joins with Holt to offer special points for consideration in work in this field, before the final reflections and concluding thoughts. Discussions around gender obviously get a look-in, but so do other issues, which so often co-exist, such as disability, adoption, mental health and substance use.

With such a diverse group of contributing authors from a range of backgrounds, each wedded to their own approach, it is not surprising that there are differences of opinion, and yet these do not jar but rather add to the value of this volume, because ultimately what comes across is the similarities which bind together, rather than those differences: the importance of listening, of building a relationship, of a needs-led service; the value of long term support – and no quick fixes; and of taking a strengths-based approach to work with both young people and their parents.

Of particular interest and use are the many case studies, tables, tips and techniques as well as resources, which are made available throughout this volume, both in the text itself and in the footnotes and appendices. As a result it is immensely readable, hugely informative and reassuringly straightforward. In a world where this area of work is still so new that many people are making it up as they go along, this book provides an important resource on the shelves of practitioners, as well as adding to the body of knowledge for other researchers and academics.

In her foreword, Barbara Cottrell, one of the first to contribute to the library of knowledge in this field, reflects on how far we have come in the last twenty years. We still have a very long way to go, but this volume will provide much needed guidance and support for the journey. Thank you Amanda!


Contributing authors:

Lily Anderson, Fiona Barakat, Kristin Whitehill Bolton, Kathleen Daly, Jane Evans, Eddie Gallagher, Amanda Holt, Jo Howard, Cathleen Jordan, Gjori Langeland, Peter Lehmann, Ester McGeeney, Latesha Murphy-Edwards, Haim Omer, Roberto Pereira, Gregory Routt, Dannielle Wade, Shem Williams


Filed under Book review

3 responses to “Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents: book review

  1. Thanks for highlighting this Helen, a definite buy I feel.

  2. SusanMB

    Hello Helen
    It was a pleasure listening to your speech on “What is child to parent violence telling us…” at Goldmiths University for the TBAP Staff Conference on Thursday. This is a subject that I am very passionate about and something I have encountered when working with children, young people and their families throughout my career. I am really pleased that we now have professionals raising awareness about this hidden stigma. I am looking forward to reading this book and following up on the research done so far and seeing how it develops.

    Susan Buxton
    Social Science Teacher

    • Thank you Susan for your comments. It is exciting for me to hear about your own interest in this subject. I do hope you will find Amanda Holt’s book helpful and hope we can stay in touch in the future.

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