Linda is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist , with over 10 years experience working in schools and 6thforms within the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley and Croydon.
During her time in the school and 6thform arena, she have worked not only as a lead of a therapy department, but also as a therapeutic supervisor, parenting programme co-ordinator, family practitioner, mental health advisor to pastoral leads and mental health staff trainer.
These experiences have led her to write a number of dynamic programmes and workshops for young people aged 11 to 19. All workshops are adapted for age appropriate delivery.
Lindas articles for BACP CYP received coverage from the local press which noted her achievements and that her way of thinking is a way forward.
One of her articles covered low cost effectiveness of group therapy in schools and the importance of using evidence-based practice to show improvements in emotional wellbeing. As we know children who are able to think better, feel better and therefore achieve better.
Siobhan has been working in secondary schools for 7 years delivering one to one therapy and designing and delivering groups.
We believe every school has its own needs and budget to work within. Please take time and think about what may benefit your provision, 6th form or whole school and together we can make a bespoke package.
In our years of working in schools, we have written a number of workshops which have been rolled out. These have proven to be a valuable and positive support to people’s emotional well-being, within all different agencies, settings diverse ages and abilities.
Below are examples of the type of groups and workshops we write and present. Upon entering a youth group, we ask the young person to fill out an assessment form, we then track their progress at the end of the course/ programme.
When teaching staff basic listening skills, I use my 8 years’ experience of teaching trainee counsellors, and enjoy using outside of the box teaching methods when teaching staff about mental health. These methods include, art, role-play and interactive group discussion. Tasks which will stand out and be remembered.
This is a programme using principles from the NVR parenting programme , which helps young people understand and identify what changes they need to make, why they want to make them and who is there to do this? The programme looks at the following:
- De-escalation: we look at different escalating styles and help young people recognise their escalation patterns within the classroom and with peers.
- Mental Being: What stops young people from mentally being at school or college? We look at sleep, anxiety, mobile phones connecting us to outside, lifestyle and relationships. These can all stop us from being present in the learning environment. How can we limit this and stay focused, what tools do we need?
- Prioritising Change: students are asked to write down all the behaviours they would like to change and then place them in 3 boxes. (The must change at once, need to change soon and the want to change one day boxes) Once this is complete it allows young people not to feel overwhelmed and lets them focus on something. This then feels like a much more achievable task and helps to build positive self-esteem.
- Helpers: We then look at Helpers and who is there to support young people make the changes. How can we ask for help and exploring our relationship to help and how we use it?
- Forgiveness and liking ourselves. How do we forgive and like ourselves? What do we need to do to learn and expect, so we can make the most of our school or college life? How do we work towards our goals?
This is a group which looks at “what is anxiety and how does it affect us?”
- we explore emotional difficulties. For example anxiety is common and we help young people normalise it by identifying programmes and movies where anxiety is portrayed as a part of a character’s everyday life. This makes it fun and eases young people in to talking about their anxiety.
- We explore the fight or flight response and how the body reacts. Using worksheets to relate this to our own experiences.
- We explore triggers of anxiety and what can be done to lower these. How do we control the thoughts in our head?
- Mindfulness, importance of sleep and exercise explained and discussed.
Research shows that over 50% of young people feel their self-image impacts on their everyday life. Through our own personal experiences of working within schools we have identified six areas where the therapeutic group work can be effective:
- To build confidence and interpersonal skills such as reflection and the ability to evaluate the world and peer group around them, while growing in the ability to listen and explain their own feelings and allowing their personality to grow within a safe environment.
- To build emotional awareness through empathising and understanding others and sharing experiences.
- Teaching the fundamentals of learning concentration, active listening and attendance by addressing social and home life issues early in their life at secondary school.
How we will do this:
We will apply Choice Theory to help stimulate students to act in ways to achieve their needs and look at their self-image and role models in everyday life. Young people are motivated to fulfil five basic needs, which are survival, love and belonging, power, fun and freedom.
During the six weeks young people will be asked to look at and share their wants and needs, evaluate their behaviours and make plans for fulfilling their needs. So bullied students are not victims of their circumstances but can learn new behaviours that can result in greater resilience. This will be set out over six weeks, each week looking a different subject within self-image.
We use games, including the guess who game, where young people (age 11-14) have to guess who the celebrity is just by looking at their childhood picture. We ask the young people to think about what influences they might have had at this time. This is adapted for older students (16-19) It is more of a group discussion using some of the ideas, but we help them by identifying celebrities they know and getting them to gather information about them to make a case study and then examine evidence which might explain why they were unhappy with the way they were.
When looking at Kylie Jenner a group of 17-year-old girls identified the following facts which might have impacted on her:
- Her sisters popularity
- Her mothers ambition
- Her father coming out as transgender
- The fact she was always being photographed
- People being judgemental.
- Her sisters sexualised behaviour.
Once they had done this focusing on someone else’s exterior, they were able to look at the true things that were impacting themselves.
Through the use of Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Improving behaviour, learning and therapeutic models we have devised an intervention model designed for young people who are either about to, or have already started their transitioning journey.
The Transitional Group should promote a sense of belonging which encourages acceptance and support for those new to the school community.
- Facilitates the growth of self-esteem and encourages more vulnerable young people to feel more accepted in a group space.
- Encourages the use of a variety of inter-personal skills, listening to others and accepting diversity in a safe environment. This develops cognitive and social competence.
- To generate positive peer interaction and allow the young people to explore negative, destructive feelings and fears with the opportunity for peers to provide positive help and support to one another within a therapeutic environment.
The transition from school to 6thform is a big one. Young people often find it hard to understand how to pace and facilitate their own learning. It’s a shorter space of time to make friends and change and social interaction is complex. When working across boroughs it is also hard to know what resources are out there for young people.
Transition groups can be held in free periods to share ideas, experiences and make friendships more quickly. Its also a quick and easy way to identify low mental health needs; for example, anxiety , which may not be mentioned in paperwork but will definitely affect performance in exams and attendance if not identified quickly.
We will help young people recognise their own personal profile to anger and provide them with an awareness of how much it drives their behaviour.
To express anger with passion and recognise it is resilience within that can be helpful, if channelled in the more positive way.
To understand anger can be caused by many different things in a young person’s life- rather than managing the anger it is to identify the cause. Anger management only goes as far as to recognise the triggers, rather than where they stem from. We as a group will facilitate an exploration into understanding that behind “Anger” areoften Four Primary Emotions.
- Hurt … Due to rejection and / or sense of injustice
- Fear …Due to perceived Insecurity- fear for our safety; fear of change; fear of not being in control.
- Protection of “Self” … protecting self-image; protecting self-esteem
- Frustration … having our goals blocked; having our plans fail; not seeming to get justice done; Once they have identified where the feelings are coming from we encourage the young person to use this word rather than angry – for example’ I hate Ms White she makes me so angry.’ This would then be changed to’ I feel really frustrated with Ms White see never sees the good in me’.
We encourage young people to use another word instead of anger to help them explore and understand what their reaction really is and why they react this way. It is explained as “if you have a rash and use a cream the rash might go, but the virus is still there, at some point the virus will produce the rash again?” – its important to understand the cause of the virus.
This group is aimed at exploring communication and enhancing students skills. There will be a particular focus on passive, aggressive and assertive communications. We will also explore how the parts of the brain work and impact communication.
By the end of the programme students will be more able to:
- Understand more about verbal and non-verbal body language
- Improve their listening skills
- Understand the difference between passive, assertive and aggressive communication
- Express their emotions
- Make suggestions and negotiate
- Disagree, refuse and apologise in an assertive manner