This book is about the changing social contexts for fathering in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War, and the social moves from patriarchal fatherhood to multiple ways of doing 'dad'. The book questions why fathers have been marginalised by therapists working with children and families. It proposes that theories of psychotherapy, including attachment theory, have failed to take father love for their children, and the reality of changing social fatherhoods, sufficiently into account, consequently affecting related practice. Different contemporary family structures and multiple variations of relationship between fathers and children are considered. Many fathers, brought up within earlier patriarchal frameworks for viewing fatherhood are still trying to exercise these within contexts of rapid change in expectations of men as fathers. They may find themselves in troubled and oppositional relations with partners and oftern children. Examples are given for thinking abour fathers in different relationship transitions, including 'non-live-in' fatherhoods, re-entering children's lives after long absences, fathering following acrimonious divorce, and a range of social fatherhoods.
"This book is a significant contribution to the literature on fathers. The vexed and challenging issues family therapists face in working with fathers, where there is some level of alienation, isolation, and/or violence and/or mental illness, are discussed from a clinical, theoretical, and research perspective. I feel this is a generous book in that Gill Gorell Barnes describes both her experience and development as a psychiatric social worker and family therapist, who has been practicing since the 1960s and has been teaching and publishing since the 1980s. Rarely are we given a text that reflects the work of a professional career. The book also makes reference to the significance of Gill Gorell Barnes’s own father in her own emotional development. She describes this as being ‘an inner guide to believing in the potential nurturing capacity of men’ (p. xxv). However, she also is not naive about the dangers of violence and patriarchal thinking that severely interfer and restrict thoughtful relationships." --Sally Young, Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Children’s Health Queensland, Queensland in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy