Do you have a child you are concerned about and are you determined to make a difference? If so the I Matter Challenge is for you.
As you explore this site you will find several connected terms. For example:
The I Matter Framework
The I Matter Journey
The I Matter Challenge
I put these together after many years of working to support families off very long waiting lists.
I found that I was hearing similar stories in so many of my clients. Often this was a story of having hunted for help for many years. What concerned me most was that in spite of many years of hunting so many of these families were still very confused about what to do that could be helpful for their child. It seemed that all the experts were advising different things...
Something very important seemed to be missing. One key issue that seemed to be missing was clarity about what we all needed to focus on and why.
Now we all know that child mental health services are seriously under funded but because of the scale of unmet needs I wanted to understand how to come up with a new forward. I came to the view that more therapists working with children was not the most important priority solution. In fact I started to worry that if therapy from experts was being seen as the key and priority solution, we might be becoming part of the problem. What was needed first it seemed to me was insight into why so many children were having so many difficulties.
I had studied lots of theories but I wasn't sure myself how they fitted together. I felt very confused myself and wanted more clarity. To cut a long story short - after many years of studying I finally figured out how decades of research evidence could be pieced together into something very clear and practical that could help us to think about why there was such a big issue in children's mental health and what steps we needed to take to make some progress. This integration was what I have called the I Matter Framework.
However the process of studying led me to draw some conclusions that I found really quite shocking. It seemed that somehow our parenting and professional practices were missing some absolutely basic issues.
One of these key issues was the centrality of Relationship Health. Another was the vital importance of the role of the adult. Another was the nature and process of development.
Relationship health involves a commitment to learning and practising some quite specific habits and skills. The good news is that these habits and skills can be learned and taught and we now know much more clearly about what the key skills actually are. Yet at present the development of relationship skills is not the key priority of our health and education systems. Where they are taught they are often seen simply as an add on rather than as a central plank and priority focus.
It wasn't easy to distill all those ideas into one quick sound bite or paragraph or consultation session. What families and professionals usually needed it seemed to me was support for an extended learning journey. Scattered, one day workshops or short courses were generally not enough if the Foundations were not yet clear
So eventually I managed to put together the I Matter Journey as a method of offering training for professionals and parents in these overlooked issues covered in the I Matter Framework, in a very systematic and back to basics to support a longer term reflection process.
Then I realised there was an issue of how to work effectively with professionals and parents whose heads were generally very full indeed. Busy stressed people are generally more ready to commit only if they think there will be a clear achievable important result.
So was born the I Matter Challenge.
The two key priorities of the I Matter Challenge are:
i) Making time to complete the study programme
ii) Making sure that the study delivers results - in terms of improved relationship health - with at least one focus child.
How long will the I Matter Challenge take? Well every situation has needs that are different but the most important detail is getting clear on what you want and then being willing to stick at it. No one else can do that bit for you.
Hence I Matter.
The key result we are working for is happier and healthier relationships. That's clear and achievable and important.
The I Matter Journey is designed particularly for professionals and for parents and carers in Groups 2 and Groups 3. (click here for an explanation)
If you would like to learn more you can
Read about the I Matter Framework
You can read about an Integrated Approach to Practice
explore the I Matter Training Site
or find information on Online Training
Why I love the I Matter Logo
It's all about adults and young people learning skills together in a step wise fashion!
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The Five Steps To Success with Anxious or Challenging Children!
Dr Cathy Betoin
Clinical Psychologist, Teacher, Parent
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