What is the Blue Sky Project?

The Blue Sky Project is a joint project between Telford EPS and Telford Strengthening Families to support young people who have not returned to education since Covid.

The Blue Sky project is a systemic family based therapeutic approach to supporting children who are demonstrating persistent and long term school avoidance or those who have not returned to education from impact of covid-19. Through intensive work with families identifying anxiety and avoidance cycles, the project will aim to support children taking committed action to re-integrate into their family, community and education.

The approach is built on therapeutic approaches with families to understand relationships, dynamics and cycles of avoidance that contribute to school avoidance. The model is informed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which allows individuals and family to acknowledge emotions experiences and accept them, while creating behavioural change through taking committed action to their values. ACT is a transdiagnostic model, meaning it is driven to understand the accounts of general human condition rather than seeing problems as a deficit. Additionally, the project draws from Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), which explores family relationships and dynamics and how families can heal relationships and thrive together.

Strengthening family workers will work with families for 15-20 sessions through a four phased process, leading to a plan of graduated exposure and a return to school for the young person.

The blue sky project is being lead by our assistant psychologist. Find more information here.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) is a behavioural therapy developed by Steven Hayes (2006). It was developed as part of the “third wave” of clinical models, advancing from criticisms of cognitive behavioural therapy. ACT focuses on helping people engage in a value rich life by developing psychological flexibility. Individuals learn to accept difficult thoughts and feelings to commit to moving towards to what is important to them. The model is transdiagnostic, meaning it can be used by anyone as well as support range of mental health conditions

Psychological Flexibility

Within ACT, the aim is to support an individual to become flexible to deal with difficult thoughts and feelings, so they can move towards a value rich life. Psychological flexibility refers to being able to be in contact with the present moment fully and then acting independent of context with ones chosen values. ACT breaks down psychological flexibility into six core processes, which are indicated in the hexaflex model below.

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy

What is Emotionally Focused Family Therapy?

EFFT is a systemic approach that works with the whole family. Through EFFT, family members learn to notice how they are responding to each other and how this can create specific dynamics within a family. Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT)  explores family relationships and dynamics and how families can heal relationships and thrive together.

A core component of Emotional Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is to help parents notice  “knee jerk” responses and support them to become their loved ones emotional and behavioural coach. Within EFFT, animal metaphors are used to explain how a parent may respond to their child. 

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