Sadly, the state of children's mental health is poor. But, using mindfulness, creativity and nature we can actively seek to change things, enabling children to be happier and more resilient.
Positive Emotional Wellbeing is characterised by many elements, and in order enable a child to be able to build on their own strength and uniqueness, I draw on influences from counselling theory, art, nature and education.
If I can work alongside a child, or group of children, to create a relationship that is authentic, founded on empathy and accepts a child's individuality, then that child will have space to grow, becoming more aware of their own inner magic.
This idea is key to the foundation of TNM.
The ideas behind counselling and therapy have a long, rich history, but it’s the work of Carl Rogers, in the mid 1900's that caught my attention.
Rogers developed the ideas behind 'Person centred thinking.’ Before his conclusions, the idea of ‘helping’ would usually mean trying to solve an individual's problems for them but he reframed that and instead built ideas based on the need to;
Be genuine and congruent
Offer unconditional positive regard
Feel and communicate a deep empathic understanding.
Whilst I am influenced by, and take learnings from other theories such as Freud’s psychodynamic approach, I consider therapists, counsellors and teachers to be enablers. If children are actively listened to, encouraged to explore, and allowed to express, then that will help them find their feet in the World.
These ideas also tie into what psychologists call ‘Growth Mindset.’
This is the belief that humans are able to learn, adapt, change and evolve - meaning that people who fall into this category tend to have greater personal, emotional and career success.
With that foundation from which to work, I've spent time with children considering how to create those core conditions in a non-intimidating way, whilst using my knowledge of play therapy and psychological development. How to provide a 'safe space' whereby children feel empathy, warmth and encouragement to allow them to explore, and to ultimately improve their emotional Wellbeing.
“If I can provide a certain type of relationship, the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth and change and personal development will occur.”