BLOCK-BASED THERAPY (Dec 2023 Blog)

I am now able to offer Block-Based Therapy (Lego Therapy technique, but may use non-branded bricks).

Lego-based therapy was developed by Dr Daniel B LeGoff in 1997.  It is an evidence based approach that aims to develop social communication skills in autistic children, such as sharing, turn-taking, following rules, using names and problem-solving. 

As LEGO is a registered trademark, "Block-Based" is used instead by many.  The technique and theory is the same.
 
In practice, children work in groups of three with each participant having a distinct role to build a Lego model collaboratively: 

  • Engineers use the building instructions and ask the Supplier for the specific blocks needed.
  • Suppliers gives the Builder the pieces.
  • Builders follow the building instructions from the Engineer in order to construct the model.

"Daniel B. LeGoff, the inventor of LEGO (R)-Based Therapy, has provided a colourful set of case studies to help teachers and clinicians get a real feel for how to implement this playful and non-stigmatising intervention with kids with autism.

LEGO (R)-Based Therapy harnesses their strong drive to systemise to help them learn how to socialise. It is also intrinsically rewarding for such kids. As such, it is a pleasurable experience for both the therapist and the child. " Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University, UK

There is no reason why this technique could not support young people and adults too!  Whilst this technique lends itself to the autism strengths of routine and systems, it is not limited in it's benefits to them alone.

The main benefits are:

  • Communication Skills (listening, speaking, vocabulary)
  • Turn Taking
  • Patience
  • Following Instructions (visual diagrams, verbal instructions)
  • Joint Attention Skills
  • Team Work

Alongside this is quality time with an adult facilitator, in a small group setting where they are encouraged and self-esteem can grow.

 

Sessions are now available of 45-60mins per week, for a minimum of 6 weeks (12 is the most beneficial) in schools and privately in Coventry.  

Groups of 3 people are required.

The Big Draw October 2023

Trauma Therapy by Trish is proud to be part of The Big Draw 2023.

The Big Draw Charity (Charity no. 1114811).

Founded in 2000 by the Guild of St George, The Big Draw is a pioneering visual literacy charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. The charity leads a diverse programme of advocacy, empowerment and engagement, and is the founder and driving force behind The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.

Emotions Discovery Group Taster Events

I am planning a number of Taster Sessions for my new EMOTIONS DISCOVERY group work across Coventry in October - as part of The Big Draw Festival - and beyond!

If your school, church, or community space is interested in hosting, or you want to find out more please drop me an email.

Tickets now available for the following events;

Reviews from the first event!

July 2023 Blog

Let's Talk Customer Service...

When you are looking for someone to support you with your emotional wellbeing, when you are vulnerable...

You need someone with empathy, ethics, who is non-judgemental, someone with compassion and KINDNESS...

I believe in treating others how I would like to be treated, but going further than that, how I would want my parents and my grandparents to be treated!

I offer FREE consultations and visits to The Connection Cabin to ensure my clients are comfortable to attend.

I offer flexible payment options and various discounts throughout the year.

Being the best I can be.

I undertake regular training whenever I can so that I can be the best I can be for my clients!

Speaking of training...

  • I have some new courses booked in over the next few months.
  • Courses that will improve my knowledge & understanding, so I can be the very best I can be for my clients.
  • And a course that will increase the variety of services I can offer, privately and in schools!

 

 

Feedback welcomed.

All clients are asked for feedback, testimonials are available to read on the website.

I operate a "refer a friend scheme" so clients who recommend me to others get a reward, and their friend gets a discount too!

Did you know...

that D&T lasts for 12 sessions only.

This means you know exactly what the cost will be, there are no hidden extras.

At the end of the 12 sessions, you take your folder away with you, and probably will continue to process. I cannot add extra sessions on over the 12 as the technique is rooted in attachment theory and works because of the planned ending.

If you have special requirements (reasonable adjustments) to allow you to access this service, please do ask - I would love to come up with a plan!

June 2023 Blog

Support in Schools in September

How can we plan who should get support this far ahead?

Does planning for intervention needs in September seem like you would need a Crystal ball?

I want to challenge that idea...

When it comes to emotional wellbeing & mental health, it really is about time we became a little more proactive, rather than reactive - if you look around your current class, the children you already know, the connections you have already made - who really would benefit from a boost via a therapeutic intervention, to help them transition or improve their chances?

Why wait for breaking point or emotional outbursts?

Current Yr5 
Pupils

The Autumn Term is the ideal time to target support towards your new Year 6 children before the big SATs push after Christmas.

Drawing & Talking requires a commitment of 30 mins each week for 12 weeks (pretty much the whole term) so it is really important to prioritise this year group now.

The benefits of this support reach beyond the child concerned and can make the whole class calmer, settled and ready to learn, making their final year more enjoyable and ultimately increasing their learning potential, memory retention and academic outcomes. (This also reduces stress for the adults in the room).

THIS IS YOUR CURRENT YEAR 5 - children you already know, families you may have known for over 6yrs!

Think!

Who will struggle with;

  • SATs
  • Transition
  • Friendships
  • Hormones

Drawing & Talking may help a pupil by;

  • Improving concentration & ability to learn
  • Better memory & cognitive function
  • More present in the moment
  • Processed trauma can reduce worries & improve sleep
  • A positive relationship with a trusted adult encourages further positive relationships

BOOK NOW

I am now taking school bookings for September - it is important to book, allocate spaces & get parental permissions signed off this term (to ensure all 12 sessions can be completed within the term).

So whether your school has used my service before or not, get in touch NOW to see how you can start the academic year with mental health and emotional wellbeing at the top of the agenda.

Whole School Impact

ALL school staff crave calm & happy classrooms.

ALL school staff want the best for their students.

ALL school staff enjoy teaching engaged pupils.

D&T provided for the right pupils can help to achieve this for not only that pupil, but their class, their year group and the wider school community.

EHCP / SEND Pupils

Consider D&T if there is;

  • emotional trauma
  • bereavement
  • family breakdown
  • attachment difficulties
  • new diagnosis

Any Year Group

Consider D&T where there is;

  • serious family illness
  • caring responsibilities
  • sibling diagnosis
  • blended families
  • fostered / adopted
  • attachment difficulties
  • anxiety
  • bereavement
  • loss of a best friend

May 2023 Blog

A look-back at April's Autism-related information

I am a former teaching assistant with particular experience in SEND, including ASC and a parent of two ASC young adults at very different points on the spectrum.

This means I understand many of the emotional difficulties that children experience & how to interact with them, the kind of reasonable adjustments that may be required and how hard parents have to fight for the support their children need.

Some of my qualifications that enable me to support neurodiverse people and their families;

  • Autism Education Trust schools programme
  • Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism (RQF)
  • The Complete SEND Diploma (Level 2, 3 & 4)
  • Equality & Diversity Level 2

I am passionate about supporting parents, carers, siblings, family members and individuals who are processing any kind of diagnosis, because I remember well the rollercoaster of emotions when you read reports and hear how other people view your child and their difficulties.

The adjustment to a new life, one you hadn't planned for, modifying your dreams for the future, researching & learning and fighting for support...

Allowing time to process those emotions can empower and give you the strength you need.

I am aware that many people are affected by Sensory Overload.

The Connection Cabin is decorated in neutral / nature-inspired colours - cream, blues, greens, browns to create a relaxing atmosphere.  There is a balance in the decor to create low sensory arousal, but still feel welcoming rather than clinical.

The clock is SILENT (no ticking).

Between clients the space is ventilated and the furniture is sanitised.

Autism does not equal emotional trauma, however, those with autism may experience;

  • Bullying
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Family breakdown
  • Bereavement
  • Low self-esteem (particularly in  school)

Therefore, they may benefit from D&T with an autism-friendly practitioner.

Drawing & Talking is a 1-2-1 therapeutic intervention.

However, to reduce anxiety, clients can bring a family member or friend for a site visit, to make them feel more comfortable with the venue, meet the practitioner, and ask any questions they may have.

This is before any contact is signed, or payments made.

The actual sessions are just client & practitioner if they are comfortable to proceed.

Autism can include processing delays and rigidity of thought.

  • D&T may help as it is person-centred, allowing the individual to work through things at their own pace.
  • D&T is for 30 minutes each week - generally not too long that concentration is lost, but I can plan for movement breaks etc.
  • D&T is the same time and place each week, with a planned ending, supporting those who like routines.

A note about the PUZZLE PIECE representation.

I am aware that in some parts of the world the puzzle piece is viewed very differently, particularly due to association with an organisation in the USA.

I certainly do not wish to offend anyone, so have added this footnote to clarify why I still use it.

When my first child was diagnosed, the puzzle piece was very much the normal representation, so holds some sentimental value for us a family. All people with autism are different and I believe it is important to ask individuals how they wish their condition to be referred to... that is the person-centred approach I advocate. 

I do not advocate that Autism is in anyway a deficit or a missing piece, but more that it is complicated, tricky, requires concentration and understanding, and that we are all (neuro-typical and neuro-diverse) unique (like a puzzle piece) and are put together differently (like jigsaws).

I lift lives by offering a safe and supportive environment for people to work through their emotional trauma, which in turn allows them to carry less emotional baggage and have more room for positive experiences and growth. By addressing these issues early on, especially in schools, we can help to mitigate the long-term damage caused by emotional trauma and improve teacher absence and retention figures, as well as improving the quality of teaching.

School staff can be added to school bookings at a preferential rate.

Self-funding school staff qualify for a 50% discount (in 2023) as private clients.

Still unsure what emotional trauma is, or what might cause it? 

Cost Effectiveness

It’s all about budgets right?

So, let’s look at cost effectiveness!

Investing in mental health support for both students and educators not only promotes emotional well-being but can also be cost-effective in the long run. By providing support and resources to individuals, educational institutions can prevent more severe and costly mental health issues from developing. Early identification and intervention for mental health concerns can prevent these issues from becoming more severe and requiring more intensive and costly interventions in the future (this affects the NHS budget and has sick-leave and cover implications).

Moreover, providing mental health support can lead to improved academic performance and overall well-being for both students and educators. This can have positive implications for the education establishment in terms of student retention, recruitment, and academic achievement. For instance, students who receive mental health support are more likely to remain in school and complete their studies, leading to improved graduation rates and increased opportunities for success (improving league table results for schools and enhancing their reputation).

Similarly, when educators receive mental health support, they are better equipped to manage their job demands, reduce the risk of burnout and improve their overall job satisfaction. This can result in increased staff retention, lower staff turnover costs, and a more stable and productive workforce (continuous recruitment incurs time and money investment).

Therefore, investing in mental health support can have significant long-term cost benefits for education establishments, as it promotes overall well-being, improves academic performance, and can prevent more severe mental health issues from developing. This highlights the importance of prioritising mental health support in educational settings to promote positive outcomes for both individuals and the education establishment as a whole.

 

April 2023 Blog

What are the benefits of schools considering Mental Health support for all?

Welcome to the final part of the series on why mental health should be prioritised for everyone in the school community over academic boosters and staff training. The pictures have turned green as we look more into the overall benefits of adopting that strategy.

Students who have access to mental health support are more likely to succeed academically because their mental health issues are identified and addressed, allowing them to concentrate better on their studies. Similarly, educators who have access to mental health support are more likely to perform their job effectively, as they are better equipped to manage their own emotional well-being and respond to the emotional needs of their students. This highlights the importance of prioritising mental health support for both students and educators in educational settings to promote academic success and emotional well-being.

Investing in mental health support for both students and educators can have a significant positive impact on their overall well-being. By having access to resources and support, individuals can receive early identification and intervention for any mental health concerns that they may be experiencing.

This early intervention can help prevent these issues from becoming more severe and impacting their academic or work performance.

For students, mental health support can provide them with coping mechanisms to better manage stress and anxiety, which can ultimately lead to improved academic performance.

In addition, when educators have access to mental health support, they can better manage their own well-being and reduce the risk of experiencing burnout, which can ultimately lead to increased staff retention and job satisfaction. Therefore, investing in mental health support is a crucial step towards creating a healthy and productive learning environment for both pupils and staff in educational settings.

Mental health support is crucial in promoting student well-being and can have a significant impact on their overall quality of life. When students receive the necessary support and resources to manage and overcome mental health issues, they are more likely to experience improved emotional regulation, greater resilience, and a better sense of self-worth. As a result, they can better manage the demands of school and daily life and may have improved relationships with their peers and teachers.

Furthermore, mental health support can equip students with coping mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges that they may face. This can have a positive effect on their academic performance, as they are better able to focus on their studies and engage more fully in their academic pursuits. Additionally, mental health support can lead to early identification and intervention for any underlying mental health issues, which can prevent these issues from becoming more severe and impacting their future well-being.

Therefore, investing in mental health support for students is a crucial step in promoting their overall well-being and creating a healthy and positive learning environment. By doing so, educational institutions can better support their students and help them achieve their full potential.

 

 

I lift lives by offering a safe and supportive environment for people to work through their emotional trauma, which in turn allows them to carry less emotional baggage and have more room for positive experiences and growth. By addressing these issues early on, especially in schools, we can help to mitigate the long-term damage caused by emotional trauma and improve teacher absence and retention figures, as well as improving the quality of teaching.

School staff can be added to school bookings at a preferential rate.

Self-funding school staff qualify for a 50% discount (in 2023) as private clients.

Still unsure what emotional trauma is, or what might cause it? 

In Summary

Trauma can greatly affect a teacher's job performance. It's crucial for educational institutions to acknowledge this impact and offer support to help teachers manage trauma's effects. This may involve therapy, counselling, and other forms of assistance (like D&T) that can improve a teacher's ability to overcome trauma and enhance their teaching skills. 

Addressing the impact of trauma on teachers can also have positive effects on reducing teacher absenteeism and improving staff retention. By providing the necessary support, educational institutions can help prevent teacher burnout and improve their job satisfaction, leading to a more stable and productive workforce. This can ultimately benefit students and the entire educational community. 

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it is impossible for a teacher to reach their full potential and provide outstanding education if their basic physiological and safety needs are not met. The pyramid in Maslow's theory highlights that individuals must have their basic needs satisfied, such as food, shelter, and security, before they can move on to fulfilling higher level needs, such as self-actualization and personal growth. This means that for a teacher to be able to perform at their best, it is crucial for them to have their basic needs met and to feel secure and safe in their environment. 

Having access to mental health support is essential, just like fulfilling physical needs. By engaging in activities like Drawing and Talking during the workday to process emotional trauma, not only can teachers work through their experiences, but they can also strengthen their sense of belonging, support, and validation. 

March 2023 
Blog

Why should schools consider Mental Health support for staff?

This month we take a sideways step in my series about emotional trauma and its impact in schools.  We will look at the effect on teaching; the adults in schools will have had longer lives to have potentially experienced more emotionally traumatic events, and being an adult, does not make it any easier to cope with. 

The burden of pre-existing or historical emotional trauma can contribute to feelings of intense stress and fatigue, resulting in teacher burnout and making it challenging for them to sustain their energy and passion for teaching. Burnout among teachers is a prevalent problem caused by excessive levels of stress and trauma. A teacher experiencing burnout may feel weighed down, exhausted, and lose their enthusiasm for teaching. Furthermore, the current financial situation and the resulting teacher strikes can further amplify the stress they are facing. 

The National Federation for Educational Research found that teachers endure greater job-related stress than other professions due to impossible workloads, endless accountability, poor salary and reward systems, and a negative organisational culture. 

Trauma can have a significant impact on a teacher's ability to effectively perform their job and connect with their students. When a teacher is struggling with the effects of trauma, it can be difficult for them to focus on their teaching responsibilities, leading to a decline in their overall effectiveness. This can have a detrimental impact on the education and well-being of their students, as well as the teacher's own sense of fulfilment and success in their role. 

Trauma can impact a teacher's ability to regulate their emotions, making it a challenge for them to effectively manage their own feelings and provide emotional support for their students. It's important to remember that seeking help and resources is a sign of strength, and can lead to improved well-being and success in the classroom. 

Trauma can have a significant impact on a teacher's ability to form trusting relationships with those they interact with in their professional environment, including pupils, colleagues, parents and management teams. Building trust is an integral aspect of successful teaching and creating a positive classroom atmosphere, and trauma can make this more challenging. It's important for teachers to be aware of the effects trauma can have and seek support to help them overcome these difficulties, so they can foster strong, trusting relationships in their professional life. 

Experiencing trauma can make it difficult for a teacher to effectively handle students who exhibit challenging behaviours, causing feelings of frustration and doubt in their abilities. This can be a hindrance to creating a positive learning environment and fulfilling their role as an educator. It's essential for teachers to understand the impact that trauma can have on their professional life and seek support to build their resilience and confidence in managing challenging student behaviour. 

Providing teachers with the opportunity to process emotional trauma, acknowledge their feelings, and understand that they have overcome challenges can boost their confidence. Recognising that they are deserving of support not only in their own eyes, but also in the eyes of their colleagues, enhances their self-esteem and sense of belonging. This can relieve some of the burden they carry and allow them to focus more fully on the present moment. 

Trauma can also have physical symptoms that can impact a teacher's well-being and effectiveness. This can include headaches, fatigue, and stomach aches, which can make it difficult for them to carry out their daily responsibilities, including teaching. This can create a vicious cycle, as the physical symptoms can exacerbate the stress and difficulties they already face, making it even harder to manage their responsibilities. 

 

I lift lives by offering a safe and supportive environment for people to work through their emotional trauma, which in turn allows them to carry less emotional baggage and have more room for positive experiences and growth. By addressing these issues early on, especially in schools, we can help to mitigate the long-term damage caused by emotional trauma and ultimately enhance academic performance and life-long potential. 

In-school presentations (30-60mins with question time) available for staff meetings & inset days – a great way to find out more, bounce ideas off each other and discuss individual prospective pupils for support. 

Still unsure what emotional trauma is, or what might cause it? 

Top Tip

When a person is struggling with emotional dysregulation as a result of trauma, it's important to have strategies in place to manage the situation. One effective approach is to model co-regulation of emotions, using the three Cs: 

Calm: Finding a way to calm the person and promote feelings of safety. 

Connect: Reassuring the person and building a sense of connection. 

Communicate: Only after the person feels safe and connected, you can communicate with them to understand and work out the situation. 

February 2023 Blog

Why should schools consider Mental Health interventions before Academic ones?

Experiencing emotional trauma can have a big impact on a person's ability to focus and concentrate, especially when it comes to learning. The traumatic memories can be overwhelming and make it hard for a person to focus on other things. Additionally, if the memories are causing nightmares and interrupting sleep, the exhaustion that results can make it even harder to concentrate. 

Experiencing trauma can have a significant impact on a person's memory. Trauma can cause memory problems, making it more difficult for a person to retain and recall important information. This can affect a person's ability to learn and remember new things, as well as their ability to recall past events and experiences. 

Experiencing trauma can have a significant impact on a person's emotional well-being and it can also affect those around them. Trauma can lead to emotional dysregulation, which can make it difficult for a person to manage their emotions. This can lead to difficulties in learning, as it can affect a person's ability to stay focused, pay attention, and retain information. This can also have an impact on the rest of the class as the person may have a hard time participating or may have difficulties in regulating their emotions, which can cause disruptions and affect the learning experience of others. 

Difficulty in trusting and building relationships is often referred to as attachment difficulties. Trauma can have a significant impact on a person's ability to trust others, including teachers, peers, and other school staff. This can make it difficult for the person to feel comfortable in a classroom setting and may prevent them from seeking help when they need it. 

Trauma can have a significant impact on a student's ability to learn and succeed in school. The experience of trauma can lead to increased anxiety and depression, which can make it difficult for a student to fully engage in their studies. They may find it harder to process new information and pay attention in class, as their mind may be preoccupied with worry, fear, or sadness. Additionally, anxiety and depression can make it difficult for a student to focus and concentrate, which can further impede their ability to learn and retain information. 

Trauma can also cause physical symptoms which can make it even harder for a student to learn and focus. When the brain is overwhelmed, it can store the distress in other parts of the body such as headaches, stomach aches, and general aches and pains. These symptoms can make it even more challenging for a student to engage in learning and processing new information. 

 

Maslow's theory tells us unless the basic needs are met, we cannot progress to the higher levels (learning and reaching our potential).  Therefore improving mental wellbeing first, enables effective academic interventions.

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