Sylvia's Story : Time, Liminal Space and the Maternal Commons

Leigh, Jadwiga (2020) Sylvia's Story : Time, Liminal Space and the Maternal Commons. Qualitative Social Work, 19 (3). pp. 440-459. ISSN 1473-3250

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In this article, we draw on concepts of time, liminal space and narrative therapy to explore the interactions that we, the authors, engaged in before, during and after our sessions together. New Beginnings is a project which works with parents who have children on care orders or whose children are subject to the child protection process. For a period of six months, women attend trauma-informed sessions where together, with the support of project facilitators and each other, they explore how past trauma has not only affected their identity but has also shaped their parenting practices. The main objective of the project is to provide space for the women to create their own maternal commons, a place where they can share stories and enact transformational beginnings. In this article, we draw on reflective notes from one case which connected the project lead and a mother she worked with to one another. Using the concepts of time and liminal space theory, we explore three themes that emerged: being ready, standing still and moving forwards. The contribution of this article is therefore three-fold; it argues that 'time' in the child protection process is compounded by bureaucracy and legal processes which do not take into consideration the trauma that has been experienced or how it then unfolds in present interactions between practitioner and parent; it extends the concept of liminality in social work by exploring the lived experience of a mother on the project and it demonstrates how narrative therapy can be used as a method to elucidate the rite of passage a person can take (or not) when attempting to traverse liminal spaces.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Qualitative Social Work
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Qualitative Social Work, 19 (3), 2020, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2020 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Qualitative Social Work page: on SAGE Journals Online:
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?? social sciences (miscellaneous)health(social science) ??
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Deposited On:
03 Mar 2020 09:15
Last Modified:
17 Dec 2023 01:47