Earlier this week I read a fascinating article, We Need to Talk About Children’s Mental Health – and the Elephants in the Room, by Elizabeth Gregory who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with children and families.
In the article she argues that:
the dominant narrative in today’s society is that ‘distressed’ or ‘troubled’ children need ‘therapy’ to fix their problems. This article examines what this belief may be rooted in; and how potentially damaging it is for children; and for society as a whole. It will refer to a number of ‘elephants in the room’, by way of drawing attention to issues we really need to start talking about if we are to stem the tide and begin to address the mental health of future generations.
Gregory goes on to explain a number of ‘elephants in the room’ and in conclusion argues that instead of therapy, professionals who work with children and families need to return to some of the basics:
Helping parents to talk to their children, read to their children, play with their children, show warmth to their children, listen to their children, believe in their children, give hope to their children – all in a context of doing the same for the parents themselves who didn’t receive it in their own childhoods, is far more powerful than any therapy. This doesn’t happen quickly – again it is about being alongside families in their communities and facilitating them to do things differently by providing the most basic of resources, support, consistency and encouragement.
Go check out the full article.