Communicating Hope: An Ethnography of a Children's Mental Health Care Team, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Communicating Hope

An Ethnography of a Children's Mental Health Care Team, 1st Edition

By Christine Davis


241 pages

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Kevin is a sometimes-violent teenager with severe emotional disturbance in a family environment of poverty and stress. In this ethnography of a children's mental health care team, communication scholar Christine S. Davis delves deeply into how members of the team create hope for themselves, for Kevin, and for his family using a strengths orientation and future focus. A rich, evocative narrative that highlights multiple voices and interpretations, Davis provides a multilayered study of how social service workers can motivate and heal troubled families in challenging environments. The volume includes clinical and practice considerations for those working in the social welfare system


"Written with compassion and insight, Cris Davis’s latest book introduces readers to a phenomenon that is truly on the margins of our social consciousness despite its prevalence—the experiences of families and their children with severe emotional disturbance. As a diligent and rigorous ethnographic study, Communicating Hope illustrates the power of social construction as both a metatheoretical concept and a powerful tool that helps the 'system of care' to resist dominant medical models that disempower families and children. I highly recommend this text for scholars and teachers of health, education, or communication and for professionals working closely with distressed children and families."

- Elissa Foster, Associate Professor, DePaul University, and author of Communicating at the End of Life: Finding Magic in the Mundane (Erlbaum, 2007)

"Christine Davis offers a reflexive, raw, and achingly vulnerable account of the possibilities and challenges of a strengths-based and interdisciplinary approach to mental healthcare for children and adolescents. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, Davis invites you into the lives of care providers and the families they serve. Few communication scholars do ethnography as well as Davis?her research is original, engaging, and useful. Indeed, she communicates hope in the midst of vulnerability."

- Lynn M. Harter, School of Communication Studies, Ohio University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Rigging and Launching

Chapter 2: S.S. Titanic

Chapter 3: Abandon All Hope

Chapter 4: Appearances are Deceiving

Chapter 5: Union Gives Strength

Chapter 6: All Things are Possible

Chapter 7: Team Voice

Chapter 8: Blended Voices

Chapter 9: Children’s Mental Health Practice Considerations

About the Author

Christine S. Davis is Professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a critical narrative ethnographer and autoethnographer who experiments with method and form, and publishes regularly on topics such as qualitative research methods, children’s mental health, end-of-life communication, and family disability.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies