So the fifth reason I became interested in creating this training is that I became convinced that to make a difference to the numbers of children who were struggling, the answer was not just more therapists and more therapy. Therapists and therapy tend to work with an approach that is inevitably based on an individualised approach. That is great!
Yet we have so many children who are struggling and the work involved to help put a complex child back on track can often be so time consuming that it is difficult for me to see how an approach will ever be capable of reaching and addressing the scale of need we currently see.
Furthermore, because I was a teacher before I became a clinical psychologist, I am convinced that in the area of mental health and challenging behaviour, understanding can make a very real and significant difference to long-term outcomes for young people and for adults. Time and time again I have seen that when living or working with complex children it is very easy for adults to become very disorientated.
When disorientated, professionals and parents and young people can resort to using strategies that they heard about without really understanding what they are trying to do or why. In desperation, they may jump from one approach to another. They may turn to medication feeling mystified by how the child is behaving or by how they are feeling.
I believe that taking the time to understand what is happening at a deeper level, particularly when this is done in the context of supportive community based relationships can empower people to make better decisions and take more responsibility for their own choices.
Interestingly enough, when a wide number of well-established ideas in the literature are pulled together - the implications are quite obvious and in a curious way quite straightforward, though the changes required of people are sometimes pretty challenging.
I have seen that giving adults and young people time to understand what is happening improves their willingness to take the necessary steps and extends their ability to come up with unique and positive solutions to future challenges. Becoming informed is therefore the second and important step on the Five Steps to Success with Complex Children.
There are still more reasons for this training! The sixth reason I decided to develop I Matter Training was that when it comes to helping complex children, there is rarely a quick fix. Short-term interventions often miss the point of how complex the process of growing up and learning to parent really can be. Look out for Number 6!
Dr Cathy Betoin
Dr Cathy Betoin
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