Young the change in names for the

Young people with Social Emotional Mental Health, understood from three psychological perspectives.

The issue of SEMH is an important one, children and young people are facing unparalleled challenges; and we as the professionals who work with them need to develop our practice to ensure that they gain from us the skills which will enable them to face the world (Department of Health, 2015). This essay will evaluate where we have come from and the work still left to complete. I shall frame this in by looking through the lenses of 3 relevant psychological theories, namely; Psychodynamic, Behaviourist and Humanistic.

Before we begin exploring the origins of mental health and how although we have come a long way since the institutions of the late 1980s, we must first recognise that it is only now the UK Government is rapidly developing mental health care for children and young people, after it has realised that not enough attention has been given to children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health (Department of Health, 2015, p. 3).In 1978 a committee of enquiry was looked at by Mary Warnock and the Warnock report (Gillard,  2017) on Special Educational Needs (SEN).  In this report Mary Warnock looked at the impact of locking people away in institutes was having. She advocated for a social model of care which meant more integration of people with difficulties. Her statements were in aid of this to ensure that young people received the support they needed to take part in mainstream education.

Her impact was the change from a medical model to a social one, not the change in names for the condition. This report also required that a young person be reassessed at least two years before leaving school to make sure the assessments were relevant. The Warnock report gave rise to the 1981 Education Act (Government, 1981) rethinking the provision of SEN resources. Furthermore the 1994 Code of Practice (DfE, 1994) gave practical guidance and set responsibilities with Local Educational Authorities and governing bodies of all maintained schools in identification and assessment of SEN and the role of a Special Educational Needs Coordinator created for every school to support the SEN students. Government changes promoted the Equality Act 2010 with the main purpose of strengthening the law on discrimination and equality to be inclusive while changing the stigma of Mental Health to a positive one. Later the Children and Families Act (Government, 2014) reformed legislation relating to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) alongside the SEN Code of Practice (DfE, 2015) producing statutory guidance for organisations with SEND students 0-25 years old, which is used today. It also gives greater focus on high aspirations for the child using joint assessments using the proforma Educational Health Care Plans (EHC Plans) including information based on the Equality Act 2010.

Also in the four categories of need the term Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties was removed in favour of Social Emotional and Mental Health as behaviour difficulties are no longer met under SEN.The first of the three perspectives was the psychodynamic approach. This was founded by the psychologist Sigmund Freud who looking at human behaviour and how it requires insight into a person’s feelings and thoughts which motivate their actions.

Sigmund Freud was the first to provide reasons for poor behaviour and mental health issues related to childhood experiences. This approach claims that a person’s early childhood experiences may result in certain behaviours appearing in adulthood. He believed that the human mind was like an iceberg with the tip above the water being the conscious mind and the unconscious being the far larger section hidden below the water (Freud, 1915). Traumatic experiences in childhood are repressed into our unconscious. As an adult your defence mechanisms are evolved from repressed childhood experiences (Gross, 1997) and your unconscious thoughts drive your behaviour. Therefore, if we want to resolve unconscious conflicts we need to explore our childhood, the experiences and issues in which we faced.

The impact of childhood experiences on our behaviour was investigated by John Bowlby who developed an attachment theory which explores the relationship between a mother and baby and the implications this has on shaping a child’s existence in the world (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991). Negative experiences in early years can result in traumatic or turbulent times in development. Freud believed interpreting dreams was key to unlocking unconscious thoughts from childhood, this was termed ‘free associations’ (Freud, 1900). It enabled the therapist to resolve childhood conflicts repressed into the unconscious, an offer support to individuals in dealing with difficult situations and times.The benefits of the psychodynamic approach are that there are detailed collections of data relating psychological cause to mental health backing up Sigmund Freud’s theory. Therapist’s today base their work on talking about issues which impact our lives which is in line with the psychodynamic approach. Therefore has applications for real-world treatment and support.

There are a number of therapies about to support adults based on their childhood trauma as well as the psychodynamic approach can be started at any age. Attachment is universal, based on the aid to survival (Tronick et al, 1985) showing parenting has strong ties with biology and explains the strong bonds between a child and mother. A weakness of the psychodynamic approach would be that it is all based on vague thoughts which are difficult to test scientifically (Grahame, 2001). A fundamental shortcoming of this approach is that it is difficult to falsify. There is little to no objective evidence for Freud’s concepts of the psyche or the unconscious mind making it difficult to use this approach as support in a scientific manner. This theory relies upon recalling sometimes fragile memories and the therapist’s subjective interpretation of how it influences behaviour. Furthermore, the impact of interventions is also hard to measure as each case study is unique and individualised.

With regards to attachment young people with attachment issues will be highly selective of who they build trust with (Ainsworth, 1979). Therefore it takes a long time for the young persons behaviour to be explained and related to childhood experiences. This is a weakness as it could take a long time for a young person to change their behaviour and attitude to benefit them. For some a childhood trauma could influence them as adults and this is where mental health issues occur e.g.

depression. This approach is limited due to a lack of qualified professionals in this field. Teachers are not suitably qualified to engage with students as therapists or counsellors and have limited training. The vulnerable young people may not be able to cope outside of the intervention environment due to it feeling unsafe while progressing through therapies (SAMHSA, 2014).

There is also no quick fix (Kaner & Prelinger, 2007). Courses are available on coaching techniques which has skilled me to engage with students and discuss reasons for inappropriate behaviour, confront feelings and thoughts in an effort to change problematic behaviour and deal with their emotions in my school setting. I have cascaded these techniques to other staff members and they are increasingly using these skills. In our school there is a inclusion unit with three rooms which is fully occupied for a number of students for numerous activities. Space is limited and means intervention sessions can easily be interrupted.

There is only one staff member within this unit, who has limited training and so there is a lack of time for a child to talk to a staff member about their past experiences. This means if a child does begin to open up relief is brief as their time is limited in this safe environment and there may not be other areas of the school that they feel comfortable. My school like others has a school uniform which provides a sense of belonging but recognises young people need to develop and grow into adulthood with an individual identity (Erikson, 1994). Students in my school are given positions of responsibility and opportunities for leadership as well as numerous school enrichment programs which allow them to venture out and safely explore the world.The behaviourist perspective was pioneered by Watson (1913) who focused on behavioural observations.

According to behaviourism when we are born we start at tabula rasa. This approach proclaims that behaviour is learnt and therefore can be unlearnt. There are three key ways in which we learn. Firstly, learning through association. This was put forward by Pavlov (1928) who discovered that a dog learned that a bell ringing would trigger a response in the dog to salivate because he associated it with being fed. Skinner (1948) disagreed with Pavlov’s theory believing that the reward itself is the incentive.

That we learn through reinforcement. He worked on Reinforcement Theory (Skinner, 1948) which focused on using stimuli to shape behaviour. He developed four primary elements based on positive and negative reinforcement and punishments. Another behavioural theorist Bandura (1965) put forward the belief that we learn through observation and vicarious reinforcement for duplicating behaviours following observational and mediational processes where someone else has been rewarded.One strength of the behaviourist approach is that it is scientifically proven in laboratory experiments. {ELAB, how in what way (animal testing) and what does this mean for application(many tests?? And how to test)}Unlike the psychodynamic approach thus is founded in scientific knowledge.Variables can be controlled allowing results to be measured and compared (Department of Health, 2012).

The scientific evidence allows us to adopt a tailored therapy to suit a person, in many varied situations.Weaknesses stem from using animal testing almost exclusively for experiments and yet Watson believed that humans are like animals we just display different behaviours (Watson, 1913). Behaviourism discounts the complexity of the human cognition and is limited in its explanation to human behaviour deeming it reductionist. The use of animal testing almost exclusively for experiments limits its application yet Watson believed that humans are like animals we just display different behaviours (Watson, 1913). Furthermore, it also states that humans cannot make choices, have no beliefs, cannot be held responsible and have no free will making it deterministic.Also states that humans should punish behaviour rather than teach a person to think responsibility too notey. https://www. In terms of a school setting behaviourism supports young people by allowing them time out from reinforcement when they feel they are struggling to cope in a classroom environment.http://www. Time-out from reinforcement (“time-out”) is a procedure in which a child is placed in a different, less-rewarding situation or setting whenever he or she engages in undesirable or inappropriate behaviors.Behaviorism is also based on the principle that external motivation is preeminent in influencing a person’s behavior. Rewards when good and punishing when bad. responsibility here is on the person in authority initiating the action, rather than the one being influenced. Another person is necessary to change someone else’s behaviour, could be seen as teaching to obedience. According to Glassman & Hadad (2008) ‘Reward not the desired behaviour drives the motivation’, this could attempt to apply external pressure on students to try to motivate them which will generally fail.

The Elton Report (1989) delved into teachers perceptions of and attitude towards school and the classroom and supported the development of my schools behaviour policy 2014-2016. The behaviour policy (Payne, 2015) is based on behaviourism approach. In my school our behaviour policy (School SENCO, 2014) is looking at developing the humanistic approach by changing the name of the policy to ‘relationships’ although it is unable to go fully away from the traditional term behaviour due to detentions staying in place. Also a structure of clear expectations for the students to strive for.

A behaviour policy will never be completely humanistic as the humanistic perspective works away from the use of teachers.It is different to state whether or not external motivators work for young people. Kohn (1993) agrees with the view that humans begin to expect rewards to a large extent and fail to find motivation in the absence of a promised reward. B.F. Skinner (1948) also believed in a reward scheme called ratio variable. In this case the behaviour is not rewarded every time.

This allows the reward to be given a certain amount of times and becomes partly based on intrinsic reinforcement of motivating the self.The humanistic view suggests that learning process of an individual along with the value of learning while thinking about the person as a whole. Humanism was brought about due to the disagreement about behaviourism (Decarvalho, 1991, p.88).

Maslow (1943) believed that every individual is born with the drive to fulfill their potential, self-actualization. Maslow created the hierarchy of needs, a drive to attain self-actualisation. Although he believed that we need to satisfy our psychological needs by relating to identity and purpose (food and water) before advancing onto higher levels of need (morality and acceptance of facts) . An example would be working as a successful headteacher (needs in the self-actualisation stage) in a school who was diagnosed with cancer needing to stop and focus on their basic needs (psychological needs).Another key humanist, Rogers (1961) who believed that humans have one motive; to fulfill the innate capacities so they can achieve their self-actualisation. This occurs when a person’s ideal self is congruent with their actual behaviour (self-image). The main purpose of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood experience.

Rogers created the term person-centred therapy which is learner driven and about becoming an individual. To promote learning we first have to have a mutual relationship (Rogers, 1946 & Rogers et al 1994).A strength of the humanistic approach is each individual will tend to see a congruence between their self and their ideal self which indicates they are becoming unique individuals and an indicator of good health. The humanistic approach also increases a person’s motivation and supports a person in finding the meaning of life (Glassman, 2008). Also valuing individual freedom due to responsibility, freedom and choice contributing to human happiness and the positive effects on society.

Furthermore, allowing a person to be observed in the context of the their environment and takes into account their personal feels and perceptions. Young people who take on the humanistic view will be intrinsically motivated and show up to be more resilient than others, making a young person more easily able to cope in overcoming adversity (Rutter, 1987).However, it is difficult to falsify as there is little to no objective evidence on Maslow’s self-actualisation. This makes the approach challenging to support scientifically as well as it is being assessed through observational eyes.

Furthermore reaching self-actualisation is a viewpoint, as for some people lower needs of the hierarchy of needs are not important and some live in a self-actualisation state. Therefore it is difficult to measure effectively. Humanistic approaches also ignore the effect of the environment on a person and the education while also ignoring vital effects of society and culture. Stating that they only take into consideration the responsibility of the self.

In a school setting we gain trusting relationships between a teacher and student (Hart, 2010). These are key to this perspective as like psychodynamic interventions the young person has time to talk freely about themselves and the experiences they face in a counselling like setting. Although the focus is on improving the self rather than just accepting life (psychodynamic approach). This can be a challenge if the teacher does not understand themselves as being at the peak of their lives as they may want to challenge the young person’s views. Also if teachers are to become alike to counsellors then it may be difficult for a teacher as they have many roles to play in a school setting and making them guidance and counselling literate can be quite challenging (Kourkoutas, 2012). On the other hand as teachers we can have caring and inviting classrooms for a child to grow and realise their potentials for whole-person development (Lai-Yeung, 2013).

Unalike to psychodynamic interventions, humanistic interventions are centred around the person, the person gets to make the rules and have free choice about what to talk about. Using coaching in a school setting has supported me to allow a child to speak freely without judgement. Moveover, person centred therapy is always positive and the therapist mirrors the individual’s thoughts and feelings. The therapy is also there to foster a healthy growth and development in the young person. Humanistic classroom settings are focused around the young person learning freely rather than the content of the curriculum and giving the young person a choice. The aim of this promotes motivation in a young person and striving for happiness. Wade and Tarvis (2006) stated that the humanistic approach emphasizes free will, personal growth, resilience and the achievement of human development.

In my setting we use growth mindset as it allows for a mind to develop and change to think more positively, which means we are supporting a young person to become highest aspirators. In conclusion, studying the psychological perspectives has broadened my professional understanding of SEMH issues. Behaviourism is used in many schools and will be staying for the immediate future in the shape of the behaviour policy but more psychological perspectives are beginning to take place in schools. As a learning mentor, I am able to support young people developing a unique identity. need100


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