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Title: How do probation officers apply attachment theory in their practice? : a qualitative study of probation supervision
Author: Ansbro, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 2310
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This research explores how probation officers utilise certain aspects of attachment theory as they supervise service users in the community. An action research methodology was used to follow the work of a sample of probation officers over a six month period, focusing on four key attachment based themes. A selection of cases were followed and the discussions between researcher and participants analysed. The findings supported the idea that a probation officer could come to represent something of a secure base to their service users, and demonstrated how attachment histories could be used constructively in supervision. However, the concepts of mentalization and the reflective function had only limited utility, and that of attachment style very little at all. The evidence suggested that the first two concepts were sufficiently digestible and memorable to be applied by non-specialists, whereas the latter two concepts had too many theoretical ambiguities to be useful or offer anything unique to practice. There was an absence of formal theoretical terminology in the practitioners' discussions, and the process by which theory featured in practice resembled that of practice wisdom. The data for this project was gathered at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, and soon afterwards the Probation Service in England and Wales underwent a restructuring; it is not clear if the Probation Service/Community Rehabilitation Companies of the future will allow the type of practice described by the practitioners here.
Supervisor: Maruna, Shadd ; Carr, Nicola Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available