Those working in child protection see parents and families at their worst. It is often difficult not to be judgmental and this creates a barrier that prevents meaningful engagement.
Empathy and understanding are emotional conditions. We cannot simply instruct professionals to “be understanding”. Even if they act as if they are empathetic and avoid expressing judgment (as part of something we refer to as “showing professional detachment”), this means they are being inauthentic and insincere.
This book explains a technique that has been used when working with groups from Bulgaria’s child protection services. It is powerful and it can provoke empathy. We have seen this for ourselves. It works.