Our Therapeutic Model
Phoenix Care Group provides a living and learning environment within non-institutionalised homes. Here, our young people are enabled to develop in all areas of their lives; to work towards emotional and behavioural stability and to fulfil their potential.
Most of the young people in our care have suffered some sort of traumatic experience, such as serious loss, neglect, abuse or extreme attachment difficulties. At the heart of our therapeutic approach is the understanding of the impact this has had on the young person’s capacity to be looked after, to make friends, to be part of a group, to learn and be taught, or to respond appropriately to everyday interactions.
We believe that the damage caused by relationships are most effectively healed by relationships. It is only through active engagement with their environment and with others that recovery can be achieved and relationships are central to this process.
We consider behavioural problems to be the consequence of impaired emotional development, lack of sense of self and low self-esteem, the inability to express feelings safely and appropriately, and a lack of awareness as to how to handle situations more constructively.
The basis of our working model is aimed to be a modified therapeutic community approach, underpinned by psychodynamic principles. This incorporates a range of specific therapies based upon the needs of the young person, after initial as well as ongoing assessments.
Our 360° approach means that everything that happens in the community can be used to a therapeutic effect – from who empties the dishwasher or chooses the TV channel to minor disagreements and resolutions that form part of everyday living. These are often more important for the young persons development than a direct therapy session.
Our model is based on Rex Haigh’s “The Quintessence of a Therapeutic Environment” which aims to guide the young person through a sequence of developmental steps from dependency to independence.
Healthy attachment is a sense of belonging, being secure and establishing strong bonds and relationships.
Containment is a sense of safety, and acceptance without criticism or rejection. To have feelings accepted and validated within safe limits and boundaries
Communication is both verbal and non verbal openness, enjoying mutual understanding of common problems and find meaning through this connection. Figuring out who you really are and developing the skills to articulate when you are distressed or upset. All behaviour has meaning and represents communication.
Involvement is participation and the ability to influence your environment and relationships, being involved in decision making and learning about having control over your own future and decisions.
Agency is responsibility and empowerment. For oneself and for others around you and the effect your actions and decisions have on them.
These five qualities can be seen as a simplified process of the core needs for emotional health in everybody – through the course of primary emotional development.
When something goes seriously wrong with these five themes in a young person’s environment, such as abuse, neglect or suffers severe loss, the result of this disturbed emotional development can lead to multitude of different consequences and behavioural issues.
By working in a therapeutic way we aim to try to recreate these five conditions in a safe community, in which the things that went wrong or got stuck in primary emotional development can be re-experienced and re-worked to facilitate secondary emotional development.
Secondary emotional development is what we all strive for and is more commonly known as: positive mental health, wellness, happiness, emotional maturity, emotional intelligence and well-being,
As the young person progresses though the stages towards Agency, their levels of dependency reduce and they require less support, thus ultimately allowing them to move on to independent living.
Our therapeutic approach also utilises many other key therapy models such as Dan Hughes P.A.C.E, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the STEP Framework.
Our Therapeutic Approach In Practice
The Adult Role
The role of the adults in the provision is the key to the healing process. As well as meeting the young person’s basic needs, they satisfy their emotional need to feel seen, heard, safe, valued, respected, supported, empathised with, advocated for and cared about.
They provide positive role modelling, clear and consistent boundaries and teach appropriate behaviour. The young people begin to recognise that adults can be reliable and supportive. These relationships enable the young person to develop appropriate attachments based on trust, safety and respect.
Levels of Support
Our provisions offer intensive levels of support to the young people both individually and in groups, in scheduled sessions as well as in the ordinary interactions of everyday life.
Each individual is encouraged to attend key work sessions with a qualified practitioner, which enables them to work through their issues using an age- appropriate modality they can engage with. Community meetings are held regularly and can be called at any time by young people or adults, where issues arising in the daily life of the homes are discussed and resolved. These help the individual develop awareness of each other’s needs, as well as their own, and promotes a culture where young people begin to understand, help and support each other and mature towards responsible adulthood.
Our ethos is to integrate our young people into society as much as possible as part of their living-learning experience. We will encourage and support service users to attend college, or an apprenticeship or alternative place of work, with which we will have a close working relationship.
We will encourage each young person to cultivate appropriate friendships. We also encourage them to develop interests and hobbies and to take part in activities in the community which help build their sense of self and self-esteem, such as performing arts clubs and sports teams. We also encourage some young people to do voluntary work in the local community. When planning activities for our young people we always balance the possible risks with the benefits of independence.