As I have said before, it is important to build a meaningful relationship with a young person that centres on trust. This may seem an obvious statement to make, however trust is vital so that the therapeutic process has any chance of being successful. Without a relationship, based on trust, no significant work can be done.
Think of it from your own perspective for a moment. If you were in a period in your life where you engaged with negative thinking or negative behaviour and you knew you needed help, would you willingly listen to a stranger who just sat you down and told you what you needed to do? I suspect not. I’ve had this happen myself and it was most unwelcome.
As I start work with any new school I help them to understand this fundamental truth: to trust the process. If we get the process right the change will follow. So we slow down and don’t focus on the end result.
In this time of building the relationship I still like to create an environment which supports the young person to be learning strategies about life and that which helps to create a language of emotional learning and process.
There are so many things that I use and I plan to show some of theme here in the blog. There is a mix of games and activities that really do help this process and some I use that really work well. For me it is important that anything I use, be it a game or activity, is easy to understand, simple to learn and fun to engage with.
I have found that for many of the children and young people that I work with, board games are a real novelty. So much is done on computer, tablet and phone, that the idea of taking 1/2 an hour on one game without a screen is new to some. I know that this is not a universal truth, but for the children I work with this is often the reality.
Therefore, these activities themselves create a new shared experience in which you are a fundamental part of. This in itself is perfect. A shared experience is important for the relationship with the young person to develop.
For me it’s always worth remembering this at the beginning of every relationship. To follow will be some of the ways I use activities to help this process work.