Cool Heads has been developed and written by Clinical Counsellor and Supervisor, Mike Skewes. Mike has worked from counselling services in Bacchus Marsh, Essendon, Geelong, Glenory, Sunbury and Wendouree.
Currently Mike works out of Dadirri Counselling in Melton and has a private counselling practice, ACSS-Adult Child Support Service in Ballarat, which began in 1998.
Beginning as a Chaplain, Mike pursued further studies, spurred on by the many courageous trauma clients he engaged.
Many children struggle while at school for many different reasons. However we know that all children learn best under the same type of environmental factors - Security (at home), Significance (feelings of being valued), and Sensitivity (being shown they are cared for). When this does not happen it is difficult for children to stay focused, or connect with facts, or friends. They will have difficulty regulating their own emotions. This in turn diminishes their resilience.
The major factor in causing this type of unsettling response in any child is Trauma. Trauma comes in 2 forms - Type A trauma is when bad things happen, that should never happen; Type B trauma is when good things don’t happen often enough. We now know that either of these types of trauma can cause significant disruption to the adult/child attachment in the life of any child. (E. James Wilder, 2004, Living with Men)
The Neurobiology of trauma is astonishing, and in the last 10 years we have learned so much about the brain and how it functions and what it means for our relationships and life.
Cool Heads aims to educate children, teachers and parents about this, helping them to become aware of what is happening on the inside, and how these inside dynamics may be handled differently on the outside.
Types of Issues Covered
There are three main areas that schools have consistently asked us for assistance with: Anger, Anxiety, and Self Esteem.
Essentially our aim is for a child to understand what is happening in their body as they experience Anger, Anxiety of Self Esteem issues; then move to helping them learn how they can regulate the responses their body may give; and finally, teach them some self regulating skills.
As the child learns to identify what is happening in their own body, and that they can gain some level of control or regulation of this physical response, it gives them confidence for future experiences.
Reflection, Relationships, Resilience
Children get stuck when their ability to reflect on what is happening around them, inside of them and in their relationships, is diminished. This usually happens when their resilience is damaged. Relationships offer us connections that builds security, significance and sensitivity, which in turn strengthens our resilience.
When a child learns to manage, or regulate their internal world to match the external world their resilience is strengthened, relationships can be restored, rebuilt or reinforced and, the child can gain confidence to move forward in life and learning.
When a child learns to reflect on the workings of their limbic system, especially the amygdala (fight, flight and freeze) and regulate the physiological symptoms, their ability to stay resilient is enhanced. Feeling they have some control over their inner fears is essential for increasing their capacity to reach full potential.
Character, Choices, Commitment
Children need to have definite Character development, Cool Heads allows them to explore this for themselves, it gives them some basic principles of Respect, Responsibility and Relational skills, so they can make their own Choices and begin their journey of improved Commitment to these new established principles.
Know what I feel,
Care what I do,
Mind what I think,
And Let it be Me.
These are the words of “rap” the children learn to help them to be mindful of their feelings, thoughts and behaviour. It is important that children learn that these three elements of our being, belong to ourselves and are therefore our responsibility. It is also important for children to learn that being themselves is under threat when they give in to peer pressure. Being mindful can help them to ward off this threat.
Intimate, Interactive, Inclusive
As children work through the booklet they engage in discussion, craft, role playing and video watching, that enhances the learning about themselves and others in the group and, most importantly, how to relate themselves to others.
As a group they open up to the reality of their classroom, home setting, or friendship group, then with discussion and other activities come to realise, they have options. In learning about other’s choices with different options, they can begin to experience life without the familiar struggles, disconnection and pain. This facilitates the new neural pathways which enables them to form more consistent character, make better choices and a stronger commitment to themselves rather than giving up who they are.
Watch this Space
2 days x TRAINING
and all MATERIALS
and ALL FACILITATION
Dadirri Counselliing Melton