I remember about 4 years ago when I realised that though I knew that as a framework of ideas I Matter was powerfully practical and helpful, I had got no very effective method of getting it out to others.
I remember in particular one day teaching a face to face class and realising that I had been repeating the same introductory ideas over and over again. The groups were always different and approached the materials as afresh so it was never dull but I wanted to take some people further.
What I didn't realise was how big the next mountain would be to climb. Indeed, over the last few years, everytime I felt I was getting somewhere it turned out there was something else I had to learn... In fact the process often reminded me of the song we sang as children going up mountains in the Lake District:
The Bear climbed up to the mountain, the bear climbed up the big mountain, the bear climbed up the big mouuuuunnnnnnnnttiiiiiin to see what she could see.
And what do you think she saw, (and what do you think she saw?)
The next big peak of the mountain, the next big peak of the mountain, the next big peak of the mountain was all that she could see.
So what do you think she did...(so what do you think she did)
She climbed on up the big mountain (she climbed on up the big mountain)....
However slowly, slowly the view has got clearer or to use a jigsaw puzzle analogy the pieces have been coming together and patterns and pathways have emerged. Now, finally what is happening is really very exciting.
I sometimes think it is the problem solving aspect that keeps me going most - I love figuring things out and finding the sense and order from the chaos
Just like starting with a big 1000 piece jigsaw without any picture to go from, I was convinced that the pieces would fit together and that the connections could be found. The challenge was to find the links between symptoms, between diagnostic categories, between client groups, between intervention styles. The challenge once the patterns were found was to find a way of engaging systems so that they felt excited to participate in discovering these links and patterns for themselves.
Last week I had session 3 with a parent who had arrived very hostile and angry about and towards her son. I had offered a standard 3 session I Matter psycho-educational series - an opportunity to learn and think together about what was happening.
Midway through the session she sat back and looked at me: 'it's not about my son, is it? It's about how I manage him and about how I manage to keep myself calmer, isn't it?'
That to me is an example of the fruit of an I Matter psycho-educational approach. It is not rocket science, but it is powerful. Responsibilty starts to sit where it needs to sit, and as a result, positive changes happen.
Today I spoke with a teacher who has been trialling the Essentials course to help the parents of her class make some similar small steps forward. How exciting to find such a hunger for more understanding and how exciting to now have the structures in place to make those next steps possible for so many more.
There are now lots of structures and processes in place:
i. There is a membership and training structure for parents and carers
ii. There is a membership and training structure for professionals and
iii. There is a membership structure for schools-services to support an I Matter Quality Mark
Yay! I am loving my new office!
I am also looking forward to seeing where things may next go.
If you would like to find out more about how to get involved, why not check out our courses