“Our unity is our strength”
Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
As part of my NVR accreditation, I reflected on my own NVR journey, both personally and professionally as a mum to four children working within a context of a Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and a Children’s inpatient unit. The journey brought forth ideas of unity demonstrating how together we can make a difference.
Unity is illustrated when I witness birds embark on their journey to a warmer destination, they take flight and form a V-shape flying pattern, the formation creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. When a bird falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the resistance of trying to go it alone — and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. When the lead bird gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another bird flies up front. There is encouragement from behind for those at the front to maintain their momentum.
Likewise, the philosophy and values underpinning NVR provides the formation that contains and anchors me as an NVR practitioner, to hold my presence and to trust the process towards a shared destination. We assist families to build supportive networks to increase parental presence and agency which can strengthen the willingness of one another to persist at times of resistance. In NVR we work together to improve communication to strengthen relationships in a loving and supportive way, along with taking time and care of self and each other. With any journey setbacks can occur, at these times we may need to reposition ourselves, bear witness to another person’s suffering, offer containment at times of distress, show compassion and ‘do’ the hope for others.
Reflecting on my journey invited me to think about the struggles children / young people and their families face and how these struggles can become replicated in the systems we work in; patterns of escalation, polarised positions, pressures on systems to do too rather than joining with. Through unity and collaboration at multiple levels (parents / caregivers / teams / systems and organisations) we can take courageous steps to build alliances, show vulnerability, demonstrate strength, and show courage to act and persist.
The idea of unity was amplified further during my NVR accreditation, where I experienced a sense of community with people who shared the values of NVR to bring about change. Hearing how other NVR practitioners embodied NVR in their lives and different working contexts was inspiring and empowering. Like the formation of birds taking flight to a warmer destination, we were able to co-create a synergy and energy that demonstrated endless possibilities knowing together we can make a difference.
NVR Practitioner & Accreditation Module Participant (2022)