Let’s Do This

Let’s Do This

This is an example of positive public messaging. This messages inspires an ’emotion’ or ‘feeling’ that is positive (hope, energy, camaraderie). South Africa is using this catchphrase to motive the public to engage in vaccines. This sign, or signs like this, is seen everywhere on the roads. There are no messages inspiring fear or uncertainty (as observed at the time earlier this year).

This catchphrase is used by many children in therapy to motivate them to remember their ‘game plan’. In Liverpool, in the UK, in 2004-5, children presenting with anger and aggression often choose this particular catchphrase during CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which had a positive effect on their therapy. We were informed at the time that the catchphrase was inspired by Vin Diesel in Fast and the Furious, and that it inspired a belief (thought) that “we will be successful”, “we will make it happen”.

These beliefs (thoughts) and emotions (feelings) inspired calm (a low blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate) and an improvement in high levels of impulsivity, anger, anxiety and aggression, as well as behavioural changes (children presented as more confident and because they believed they would be successful with their goals, they were mostly successful with their goals – strategies to manage their anger). Thoughts or beliefs, feelings or emotions, physical health, symptoms or signs and behaviour are connected, each to each other in every way.

Good clinical outcomes require therapists or doctors to consider every factor. Some children prefer to focus on behaviour, some on thoughts, some on emotions, some on physical changes (breathing or meditation) and some on a combination of these items.

Medication can often be avoided if the correct therapy is provided by therapists in effective manners.

This catchphrase has helped many children and it has also helped families and adults.

Simple initiatives or measures can often have significant positive outcomes in complex or high risk contexts.

CBT can help children presenting with anger, aggression and violence, however, for children with longstanding losses and trauma, CBT (or behavioural therapies alone) is often less helpful compared to psychodynamic therapy or CAT (Cognitive Analytical Therapy) and social support or interventions.

Attachment style should always be considered, along with other predisposing, precipitating, maintaining and protective factors when deciding which therapy and which therapist would likely be appropriate for each child. There is no recipe or checklist system. We would recommend liaising with a professional with training and experience in various therapies for their recommendations further to a detailed clinical assessment; at a minimum the therapist or doctor should have training and experience in at least one type of behavioural therapy (there are more than one kind), CBT, CAT, systemic family therapy and psychodynamic therapy.

It is also very important to remember that social interventions are essential for most children, for instance relating to safety, supporting schools and ensuring that children have regular access to normative activities where learning, general development achieving, positive social relationships and enjoyment are encouraged. Connexions, working collaboratively with Social Care, used to be extremely valuable in this regard in the UK to support children and families. Most child psychiatrists in the UK valued their input; it made a significant positive difference for almost all children in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

Most families associate Social Care with child protection, however Social Care usually has many teams to offer creative and flexible input to support children, adults and families (often providing respite to families or introducing children to new hobbies or interests such as horse riding, boating, sailing, art classes etc), and only 1 team usually relates to child protection (families are usually always informed without delay if there are any child protection concerns – transparency (and trust) is always prioritised).

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