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Conflict - concern – commitment. A study of parenthood in high-conflict divorce cases

Bård Bertelsen of the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled «Conflict - concern – commitment. A study of parenthood in high-conflict divorce cases» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Monday 7 February 2022. (Photo: Private)

Together, the study’s findings show how the language of guidelines, laws, and key professional texts that form the basis for public services, to some extent limits the way professionals see and understand parents who are in conflict after divorce.

Bård Bertelsen

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally and on campus. Spectators may follow the disputation – digitally is link available below, as is the registration link for on campus-attendence.

 

Bård Bertelsen of the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled «Conflict - concern – commitment. A study of parenthood in high-conflict divorce cases» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Monday 7 February 2022.

He has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder.

The doctoral work are funded by the Public Sector Ph.D. scheme by The Research Council of Norway, the Family Welfare Service office in Arendal Municipality, Sørlandet Hospital Division Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Abup) and the Office for Children, Youth and Family Affairs Southern Region (Bufetat Region Sør).

Summary of the thesis by Bård Bertelsen:

Conflict - concern – commitment. A study of parenthood in high-conflict divorce cases

The thesis is based on participatory observation and in-depth interviews with parents who are part of a high-conflict case after family break-up, as well as interviews with professionals who work with children and parents who live with a long-term, post-breakup conflicts.

Professional texts limits the room for maneouvering

The thesis sheds light on how parents’ knowledge and experiences arise in encounters with the public service apparatus, and how high-conflict cases can be understood both as a natural consequence of certain societal developments and at the same time as a deeply personal situation.

The core of the thesis consists of three scientific articles, all of which have been published in international scholarly journals.

Together, the study’s findings show how the language of guidelines, laws, and key professional texts that form the basis for public services, to some extent limits the way professionals see and understand parents who are in conflict after divorce.

This understanding also limits what they can do and what parents can say and express.

The concept of “conflict”

In particular, the thesis shows how professional guidelines and understandings that are built around the concept of “conflict” sometimes contribute to silencing parents’ subjective concerns about their children’s wellbeing.

By explicating the limitations of this language, the thesis invites thinking about novel ways of talking about, and with, children and parents living with persistent conflicts

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence digitally, transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member:

https://uiano.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5MofuyqrTkpGNMOdQwcBM2JTR04k_zLSTmu

A Zoom-link will be returned to you. (Here are introductions for how to use Zoom: support.zoom.us if you cannot join by clicking on the link.)

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 12:05 at the earliest and the public defense at 14:20 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.

If you want to follow the disputation in Room C2 040, Campus Grimstad:

There are a limited number of seats in the auditorium, so if you want to be present, you have to register on this link:

https://uia.pameldingssystem.no/pamelding-til-fysisk-tilstedevaerelse-bard-bertelsens-proveforelesning-og-disputas

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. It is a prerequisite that the opponent has read the thesis. Questions can be submitted to the chair Anders Johan Wickstrøm Andersen on e-mail anders.j.w.andersen@uia.no

 

Disputation facts:

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online - registration link below and in Room C2 040, Campus Grimstad (registration link below)

Dean, professor Anders Johan Wickstrøm Andersen, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder, will chair the disputation.

The trial lecture Monday 7 February 2022 at 12:15 hours

Public defence Monday 7 February 2022 at 14:30 hours

 

Given topic for trial lecture: «How can research contribute to improving the assistance and treatment of parents and children who strive with the transition to a life as separated and cooperating parents after divorce? What kind of research should we initiate, what kind of research should we avoid, how should we present findings in order to not produce labels of parental failures and – at the same time – protect those children who need more care in this transition-process?»

Thesis Title« Conflict - concern – commitment. A study of parenthood in high-conflict divorce cases»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:

 

The CandidateBård Bertelsen: (1974, Tromsø) Cand. psychol., University of Tromsø (2001), Specialist in clinical psychology for Child and Adolescent (2007) and clinical psychology for families (2013). Present position: Psychology specialist at the Family Welfare Service office in Arendal Municipality and as a project leader for the Subject group in Psychology at the University of Agder.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Emerita Sheila McNamee, Department of Communication, Horton Social Science Center, University of New Hampshire, USA 

Second opponent: Professor Emeritus: Odd Arne Tjersland, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo

Professor Solveig Botnen Eide, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment committee.

Supervisors in the doctoral work were Associate Professor Tore Dag Bøe, Department of Psychososial Health, University of Agder (main supervisor), Professor Emeritus Rolf Sundet, Department of Health, Social and Welfare Studies, University of South_Eastern Norway and Professor II Gert Biesta (Gerardus Johannes Jozef Biesta), Department of Psychososial Health, University of Agder and also Professor at the University of Edinburgh (co-suupervisors) Mentor: Family therapist Ella Kopperud, the Family Welfare Service office in Arendal Municipality.