Just wanted to drop you a message to let you know how the NVR is going… It’s going exceptionally well!
It’s completely changed my life and my children’s lives. I’ve been practising for almost 3 months now, and the changes are very noticeable. Tom (the 10 year old) has come on enormously. He is actually able to be self-reflective about his behaviour when he does lose his temper, and explain how he could have reacted differently (this was previously unheard of – his anger was always justified, and always someone else’s fault). He’s currently in the process of beginning to accept when he has behaved inappropriately and then make decisions about how he could possibly react in the future in a similar situation. He still occasionally kicks off, but it’s gone from daily to once every 3 or 4 weeks. He still annoys the 2 year old and his brother, but he is able to stop doing this when I raise my presence. He has started APOLOGISING when he’s done something like this and always without prompting! Literally never happened before!
Dan (the 11 year old) has just started senior school and has now taken over from Tom as being the one who acts out the most and seems hell bent on pushing Tom’s resolve and trying to get him into a physical fight. He does have a lot on his plate dealing with a big change, and clearly feels insecure about his place in the world. His behaviour has made me realise they are always – and have always been – competing with each other to either be the best child or the worst
child. I’m spending time with him in the evenings after Tom has gone to bed talking through his feelings and doing kind of ‘mini announcements’ about violence of any form being unacceptable. He is very self-aware and feels more empathy than Tom so this is working at the moment. I also whatsapp him messages of reconciliation throughout the day when he’s at school.
Amy (the 2 year old Tasmanian Devil) is now staying in bed at bed time AND sleeping through the night in her own bed. This is beyond a miracle. We negotiated an agreement where I sit in her room by the door for 5 minutes after I say good night, and then come back to check on her every 5 minutes – provided she stays in bed. It’s changed everything and we are now both getting a lot more sleep and are consequently a lot happier. She is also trying really hard not to shout and scream about what she wants but to ask nicely, and think about how shouting upsets other people. But she’s 2 so, you know, this doesn’t always sit well with her, and she still has the occasional meltdown and makes herself sick. As I can’t even remember when the last one of these was, I think it’s safe to say she’s getting there.
I read a quotation by Haim Omar where he said Presence and Prevent Escalation are really 2 sides of the same coin. I asked a friend of mine who is a jeweller to make me a silver bracelet with a small disc on it engraved with a P on one side and PE on the other. I wear this every day and rub the disc frantically as if it’s a talisman on days when it’s all going wrong and I want to scream at them all (fortunately these days are now few and far between).
Sorry this was longer than I intended, but I just wanted to let you know the difference it has made to our lives. I even got my mother to just sit quietly and raise her presence with them instead. She loved how effective it was! Thank you for the enormous change in myself, which has brought about such a welcome change in my children and our lives.
Parent (*names have been changed to protect identity)
We approached Peter Jakob as a consultant clinical psychologist to support our residential childcare organisation. At the time we knew nothing about Non Violent Resistance (NVR). The therapeutic approach underpinning our work with young people was and remains Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Whilst CBT is an excellent model for helping the team to understand young people difficulties and motivations it did little for those young people who were not ready to except help. Working with young people who were entrenched in harmful and often violent patterns of behaviour, who were also rejecting our care, was painful for them and demoralising for the team. This is where NVR really transformed our service. It gave the staff a variety of interventions underpinned by strong principles to resist violence and harmful behaviour. In recruiting the community around the young person to resist harm and reconcile, rather than attempting to control, our relationships are stronger and violence including self violence has decreased.
Through our use of NVR supported by PartnershipsProjects supervision and training, we have successfully enabled young people who’s trauma had left them feeling hopeless, worthless and angry to develop real ambition, sustain meaningful relationships and focus on a preferred future.
NVR is a highly regarded practice amongst clinicians and parents as per the high number of referrals we receive and the positive feedback from parents. The highest percentage of referrals is for C&YP with a combination of neurodevelopmental, behavioural and attachment conditions who live in multi-stressed environments; definitely this is the therapeutic option when the C&YP do not wish to engage with the service. Positive outcomes include: improvement in the relationship between parents and C&YP, reduction of aggression between siblings, reduction and prevention of escalation, improvement of family relationships, reduction of risk behaviours and violence in the family; more engagement of extended family, parents and teachers as well as parents feeling more hopeful and confident of their own abilities.
Clinicians describe how the approach has had the effect of restoring the strengths, resources and abilities not only within families but also within and between clinicians and has mobilised difficult and challenging situations into productive direct actions.
Dr Diana Alvis Palma
The way PartnershipProjects have assembled the training is great. It shows how much care they have put in and their trainers’ commitment to share this invaluable piece of knowledge is brilliant. All of them are very experienced, knowledgeable and approachable.
Probably the most enjoyable part of the training is the coherence between the way it is designed and the NVR principles: it’s not about learning a technique but immersing ourselves in the non-violent resistance way of thinking; it’s not only about going back home with a newfound learning to add to our toolkit but to have created an opportunity to share our experience with other people who can immediately become part of our support network. It’s also about raising our presence as practitioners by dedicating most of the time to practice, practice and practice.
Having commissioned PartnershipProjects to undertake NVR training with our staff, we are now in a position to offer NVR groups to our parents where violence within the family is having a huge impact on family relationships. We are also providing individual support to parents using NVR techniques, this is having a positive impact on outcomes for families and as we have involved other key agencies in the training and setting up a supervision group the interest in NVR is growing as commissioners are becoming aware of the benefits to families.
Action for Children
The NVR trainings (2013 and 2015) have been crucial stepping stones towards the implementation of NVR in Birmingham CAMHS. The training addressed with rigour core NVR concepts and engaged the audience in a dynamic and participative learning context by using role plays, storytelling, case discussions, modelling and reflection. Participants were frequently invited to make connections between the NVR principles and their own professional experiences and organisational contexts with plenty of opportunities to practice the NVR techniques.
The workshop days were rigorous, refreshing and enjoyable; furthermore, they invited reflection about and challenge of more traditional ways of engaging with parents and networks, all well supported by evidence for the effectiveness of NVR in clinical practice. The workshops about trauma focused and child focused NVR offered rich therapeutic tools for working with multi-stressed families, essential for CAMHS workers. Following the first training a supervision structure was created that is successfully supporting the delivering of NVR in the service.
Dr Diana Alvis Palma
Consultant Family Therapist, Birmingham CAMHS