Sabine Janzon


Sabine Janzon (GER), Social Worker, Social Pedagogue, Systemic Therapist

'Help That's not Helping'

The Hardship of Parenthood (if children live in out-of-home-placements)

Workshop 11.00 - 12.30 / Friday June 15th 2018 /  Hall of Mirrors (Spiegelzaal)




Being parents is hard work from time to time. Especially, if the child or youngster has serious problems the parents have a hard time dealing with - or are at the point of not knowing what to do anymore. Sometimes it is necessary to place a child or youngster out-of-home to ensure the well-being of the child or youngster. But how to be a parent, if professionals take care of the child 24/7 and ‘are in charge’? The structure of out-of-home placements is supposed to help families to solve their problems and be able to live together again, though at the same time it stabilizes the problem as parents are not in charge in every-day-life. The estrangement between parents and children resulting from this structure and the reduction of parents   to ‘visitors’ and of children to ‘be on a weekend-visit’ shows, that the structure of help is creating a conflict area for professional help: working in a dilemma between two no good solutions. And professionals still wish for reliable parents, children and youngsters, who they can cooperate with.

Working as a systemic therapist in a residential group for children and youngsters (age 0-16 years) I started to talked to all the parents about my feeling that they behave rather then visitors then parents and we never stopped talking since. Together we reviewed their help process, looked for helpful moments and figured out what parents need to learn in the setting of out-of-home placement. Well, in the result, all the professionals need to do is as easy as it is hard: ‘talk to' instead of ‘about.

Learning Objectives

This workshop will give you theoretical input about the circular increasement of problems in, respectively by, out-of-home placement. Furthermore we will discuss ideas of implementing solution focussed work and of concomitant counselling and therapy creating successful help processes. All this focusses on solutions not problems and being as lazy a professional  as one can - letting the families work on their problems themselves.

About Presenter

Sabine Janzon studied social work in Berlin (1998-2002) and worked 8 years in a residential group for girls and young women in Rostock. In this time she became an educator for adventure outdoors and got introduced to the idea of trusting people to know themselves what is good for them. After a two years stop to work in a youth club she started the training for systemic therapy in a new job at the Gemeinnützige Kinder- und Jugendhilfe des ASB mbH, that was and still is open to try new ways to create successful help settings. Here she finally found a way to solve problems instead of talking about them.