Honestly, we need to stop talking resilience. I haven't taken leave of my senses, stick with me! Yes, resilience is a hugely popular topic at the moment, fulled in part by the increased awareness of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and with mental health services struggling to cope with the levels of demand for Community And Mental Health Support.
Whilst I am really pleased that we have the widespread recognition of the impact of childhood trauma and everyone's commitment to create an increase in awareness of ACES, I do have some concerns about the way in which some of this debate is framed. As someone who formerly worked for Who Cares? Scotland and CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children) I am passionate that care experienced young people are given every support possible to flourish. In fact, My own Doctorate explored the issues facing looked after children who were subject to home supervision (basically living at home whilst given support by social work) and the difference that coaching and mentoring can make to them.
The Problem With Resilience
However, I have a real worry that we are at risk of focusing in on the factors and causes. In doing so, we risk loosing sight of the vital supports that our young people need. We focus in on symptoms, almost medicalising and labelling aspects of cause and behaviour. In doing so, we treat symptoms and not address the needs of the amazing person that is inside. My understanding of this has increased hugely in the last year or so. I have been working across Scotland providing coaching for young people as well as training them to be coaches. Here is what I discovered.
All young people, like all of us, are naturally resilient, just like the body has a natural capacity to heal and develop when injured. However, many young people need help in recognising that they are perfect the way they are and that they have the capability of brilliance - if they have the right support to give them the tools and techniques to draw on their inner strength and allow their innate wisdom to emerge. I am not talking 'Mindfulness' as such (although this has a huge role to play in creating the conditions for quietening the mind), but recognising the relationship between their thoughts and their feelings.
Resilience Through The Nature of Thought
Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. Now bearing in mind my maths is somewhat ropey, that's an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. Yet we miss that these are the sources of our feelings - joy, anxiety, stress, fear. If we skill up young people to recognise that none of us see the world in the same way and are our thoughts are our way of framing our reality, that gives us permission to more free and less anxious and to allow perspective to emerge from all of the busyness. Yet, we do not work with young people enough in creating this understanding. So, I am getting my own sleeves rolled up and filling the gap!
The message is simple. We all have potential. If we want resilient young people we need to share understanding about their nature of thought and how the mind works - and indeed how it doesn't! This needs to be fun, accessible and engaging for them.
Creating Resilience in Young People
I am committed to helping all of our young people achieve this and have became a registered iheart training facilitator, undertaking my own Clarity Coach Training with Jamie Smart and developed my own training and workshops in schools and organisations across the UK and beyond. I am committed to working with you to help solve the mental health crisis and share the key to resilience in our children and young people. and would love to work with you.
Get in touch, we have much work to do. Contact me here.