Engaging a family’s support network in non‐violent resistance: the experiences of supporters

Stephanie Hicks, Peter Jakob, Claudia Kustner

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Non-violent resistance (NVR) is a systemic approach which aims to build parent agency and a positive support network around children who display destructive behaviour. Supporters play a key role in NVR, but there is limited research on how to engage them in NVR. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of the members of a family’s support network on the implementation of NVR. These experiences were then interpreted in line with theories of motivation and change in order to understand how the NVR practitioner and parents can best engage with supporters in future. Eight supporters were interviewed and themes developed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The study analysis found five themes: contemplation, committing to action, looking for change, needing to cope and working within a social context. These are interpreted in line with theories of change and motivation. Clinical recommendations and recommendations for further research are discussed. Practitioner points: Practitioners need to consider that taking part in NVR can be experienced by supporters in both positive and negative ways Practitioners may improve supporters’ engagement and motivation in the process by considering areas such as understanding NVR, positive communication and impact on relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-270
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Issue number2
Early online date22 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • adoption
  • family
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • non-violent resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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