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Title: Agenda setting with children using the ‘three wishes’ technique
Authors: Kiyimba, Nikki
O'Reilly, Michelle
Lester, Jessica Nina
First Published: 15-Mar-2018
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Journal of Child Health Care, 2018, 22(3), pp. 419 - 432
Abstract: The National Health Service (NHS; UK) offers initial screening appointments for children referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to determine clinical need and assess risk. Conversation analysis was utilised on 28 video-recordings of these assessments, lasting approximately 90 minutes each with a multidisciplinary team. This paper focuses on the agenda setting strategies used to establish relevant goals with children and adolescents; specifically, the technique of offering ‘three wishes’. For example, “if you had three wishes, what would you like to make happen?” In cases where children initially volunteered an assessment-relevant wish, they tended not to articulate further wishes. Non-assessment-relevant wishes (i.e. fantasy wishes, such as being “rich”) were treated as insufficient, with many approaches used to realign establishing assessment relevant goals. Where responses were not institutionally relevant, practitioners undertook considerable discursive work to realign the focus of the three wishes task to assessment relevance. In these cases, the wish responses were treated as irrelevant and tended to be dismissed, rather than explored for further detail. Such work with the children’s contributions has implications for engaging children and child-centred practices.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1367493518762487
ISSN: 1367-4935
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publications. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Media and Communication

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