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Title: The Human Givens approach : a review of independently published research and an exploration of its application in supporting whole school SEMH practice within a secondary school
Authors: Serjeant, Anna
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The prevalence of Social, Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties both globally and in the UK is acknowledged to be a growing concern (Mental Health Foundation, 2016). Upward trends in SEMH difficulties experienced by the UK population are said to have been further impacted upon by the current Coronavirus pandemic and young people have been found to be at particular risk of increased levels of ‘mental distress’ as a result of the pandemic (Pierce et al., 2020). Furthermore, the Good Childhood Report 2020 (The Children's Society, 2020), has highlighted that children aged 10-15 in the UK are reporting declining rates of overall life satisfaction and happiness with their: appearance, friendships and school. Schools have been described as having a ‘central role’ in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Children and Young People (CYP), with the Department for Education stating that schools should have a consistent, whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. Educational Psychologists (EPs) are professionals who work to support the mental health and wellbeing of CYP in a variety of ways. The Human Givens (HG) approach has been used as a basis for some EP therapeutic practice and is described as a holistic and practical approach that outlines what CYP, families and communities need to be ‘emotionally healthy’. The first part of this research systematically reviews existing independently published research in relation to the HG approach. It aims to explore potential outcomes of using a HG approach, to support those engaging in therapy/ intervention in relation to their SEMH. Six papers in total were selected for review and analysed using Thematic Synthesis. Four subgroups of direct benefits to individuals in engaging in HG therapy/ intervention were identified namely; ‘Improved Wellbeing’, ‘Improved Coping Ability’, ‘Increased Connection to Others’ and ‘Receipt of Informed Support’. These subgroups consist of nine themes, which are outlined and explored in more detail. The Systematic Literature Review identified a gap within the current literature in relation to independently published research concerning the HG approach and highlighted recommendations for future research made within existing papers, to explore the possible application of the HG as a whole school approach (WSA) to SEMH. The Empirical Project utilises Collaborative Inquiry (CI) as a method of working with a group of secondary school staff to develop a WSA to supporting SEMH, based on the HG approach. The process of CI is outlined alongside a description of how the HG approach was applied by participants in their school context, to develop a WSA to supporting SEMH. Abbreviated Grounded Theory was used to analyse the transcript of a focus group with participants reflecting on the HG approach and the process of CI. Elements of the HG approach that may support its use as the basis for a WSA to SEMH are suggested as; ‘HG as an accessible approach’, ‘HG providing a focus on needs (as opposed to behaviour)’, ‘HG as the basis for individualised action’ and ‘HG as providing a shared wellbeing language’. The Abbreviated Grounded Theory then outlines a framework for use when consulting with schools to develop a psychologically informed WSA to SEMH. This framework relates to both the psychological theory used to underpin the WSA and the process used by school to implement the WSA. Rose: ‘…we’re a school, we’re children and human beings at the heart of what we do, yet somewhere along the way we’ve lost our way, in terms of what we do, why we’re doing it…’
Description: DAppEdPsy Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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