Educational Psychotherapy Thinking

Educational Psychotherapy Thinking

is based on an understanding of:

  • psychodynamic/psychoanalytical thinking and theory
  • the interrelationships between a child’s external environments and history, and their inner world of health, genetic factors and fantasy
  • the child in the context of the family
  • parental mental health, losses, family dynamics
  • children’s emotional growth and development
  • the links between attachment theory, attunement, the development of a secure base, curiosity and learning
  • learning, behaviour and the 3 insecure attachment patterns
  • the child in the context of the school
  • the need for emotional containment both at home and at school – in order that a child can internalise their own capacity for emotional containment and resilience
  • the links between the lack of emotional containment and the need for defences
  • neuroscience – the effect of early damage, trauma and neglect on the developing brain, and the triggering of fight/flight behaviours
  • the emotional aspects of learning and teaching ……including some understanding of: the learning process, inhibitions and risk taking,
  • an understanding of the teacher or LSA as educational attachment figure
  • an understanding of the role of the task
  • an understanding of emotional factors in difficulties with endings, transitions and new beginnings
  • the health giving value of creativity, symbolic play and metaphor within a secure trusted relationship and place
  • Educational psychotherapy acknowledges:

  • that a child’s behaviour, particularly repeated behaviours and including learning behaviours can have meaning, and can be like an unconscious communication or cry for help – which benefits from thoughtful reflection and understanding, as well as firm boundaries.
  • that children’s behaviour can evoke strong feelings and reactions in adults
  • that ‘disturbed children’ can ‘press our buttons’, and we need to be aware of unconsciously colluding with their dysfunctional tendencies.
  • that some children may need opportunities for localised regression
  • Educational Psychotherapy takes into account:

  • careful observation and attention to repeated patterns, including attachment patterns and triggers
  • the metaphorical content of the child’s expressive work
  • our developing understanding of the child’s inner world
  • the therapeutic relationship, and the feelings evoked by the child
  • thinking about the external environment and the child's inner world
  • changes both at home and at school – especially new beginnings, transitions and endings
  • Educational psychotherapy advocates:

  • the value of honest shared thinking amongst professionals and carers
  • the value of honest shared thinking amongst professionals and carers
  • the need for stress release and thinking through opportunities for teachers and other professional working with very vulnerable children and families
  • a consultative problem addressing / problem solving approach
  • a meeting needs approach
  • a changing vicious circles approach / fostering virtuous circles approach
  • helpful non-collusive responses to children’s behaviour
  • fostering nurturing opportunities at school and home
  • firm effective boundaries and understanding opportunities
  • helpful ways of relating to / dealing with children
  • empathic dyadic regulation for children who can’t self regulate
  • Such thinking and mutual support gives rise to:

    -for school staff

  • decreased stress and helplessness
  • increased understanding and empathic responsiveness
  • valuing of each others skills and roles
  • creative thinking, and hope
  • a supportive caring ethos which is anti labelling
  • respect for quality attention, listening and observation
  • careful thinking about relationships, boundaries and roles
  • the development of personal and professional skills and capacities
  • -for children: an increase in

  • emotional growth and learning
  • resiliance
  • capacity for self regulation
  • the ability to ask for help if neccesary
  • the capcity to play and talk through worries