We are all vulnerable… and we are all resilient
Emotional nurture is a universal physiological need. As babies we need emotional nurture for our brains to develop. As we get older our connectedness with other human beings keeps us healthy and resilient and is the route to recovery if we are overwhelmed by toxic stress.
The latest findings from neuroscience enrich and strengthen existing understanding around attachment, trauma and resilience. KCA is at the forefront of using this knowledge to help practitioners who provide services to the most vulnerable people in our society.
Trauma means injury. Human beings have very large brains, which make us immensely adaptable, but a large brain can be a disadvantage under threat as it works slowly. Humans have a built-in survival strategy: our big brains turn off when we experience severe stress. However, loss of blood supply to key brain areas can lead to lasting injury – the trauma that is the focus of the research that informs our work.
Attachment theory describes the impact of our earliest relationships with the adults on whom we depend for life. People with secure attachment relationships are less likely to be injured by adverse events, and are more likely to recover spontaneously from such injuries.
Resilience is the capacity humans have to develop healthily even through adverse circumstances. People who are resilient are more likely to recover spontaneously from trauma. But if someone is unable to recover from traumatic experience, then they will be much less resilient.>>> Read more
Knowledge can be transformative. When it enables us to make sense of the world in new ways, we can
begin to act in new ways and we can change the world.
KCA's response to Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic confronts us with trauma at a global level.
It is generating adversity of a nature and at a level that is perhaps unprecedented, and the impact on mental health may well outstrip the impact of the disease on physical health. Here in the UK we are now reliant on a traumatised yet deeply committed workforce to respond to and meet the needs of a traumatised population.
KCA has for the past nine years been working with organisations involved in the delivery of public services. Our aim has been to promote understanding of the critical importance of maintaining a resilient workforce to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society. We have always known that learning and development around attachment, trauma and resilience both builds and supports resilience. And so we are working hard with our commissioners (and key partners throughout the sector) to ensure that our courses and consultancy can be put to good use during this most testing time.
People doing this very demanding work through the coming weeks and months will be able to access e-learning, webinars and web-based qualifications from KCA. This connected learning will help them to use both the knowledge base and the support of a learning peer group to maintain their resolve and resilience. And with that resilience they can keep supporting colleagues and the people who are the focus of their work.>>> Read more
The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.
Coretta Scott King
Five to thrive: Key messages from neuroscience for early intervention and life-long wellbeing
Five to thrive describes a sequence of relational activities that build healthy brains in young children and maintain healthy brain function throughout life. It offers a bridge between professional understanding of neuroscience and everyday experience.
The beautiful artwork and simple messages in our published resources provide practitioners, parents and families with an accessible way of recognising how the quality of their engagement can make a huge difference to healthy brain development, particularly in the first years of life.
Our face-to-face courses and e-learning ensure that those working within this approach have a solid grasp both of the neuroscience, and of how they can make a difference. As practitioners embed the approach in their work, every interaction can become an opportunity to reinforce positive development, to share information, and to model behaviours that will help ensure positive change from one generation to the next.>>> Read more
Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the
soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.
Attachment aware schools: Attunement, attachment, attainment
Optimal brain function is not just about effective learning; it is also a health and safety issue. When brains are closed down by unregulated stress people are traumatised. Traumatised people are at risk of physical and mental health problems, losing the ability to self-regulate their feelings and behaviour, being unable to think clearly or process information accurately, and becoming unable to participate in positive social relationships.
Recent research on the structure and function of the human brain makes it clear that our brains work best when we feel safe. Since attachment is the key to feeling safe, and therefore the key to optimal brain function, we are working with a range of settings – from schools and nurseries to hospitals – to help them ensure that attachment and safety needs are met for all stakeholder groups.
Our work in schools, nurseries and children's centres shows clearly that when staff feel safe, then pupils feel safe. When pupils feel safe, personal needs can be expressed and met, and behaviour improves. And as behaviour improves, all pupils are better able to reach their full potential.>>> Read more
No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.
Emotion coaching: A high-empathy, high-guidance approach
Emotion Coaching was identified by psychologist John Gottman from his research into the outcomes for children of different parental responses to behaviour. In the UK this research has been extended to explore the impact of adult responses to behaviour in schools and other settings. It has been shown to be effective in reducing exclusions and sanctions, while improving attainment.
When adults are able to maintain their own self-regulation, to connect to children and young people with empathy, and to provide clear, compassionate guidance, outcomes improve significantly. Humans are born to connect, mirror and match, and this structured approach to developing emotional literacy can promote executive function and learning skills, and increase lifelong resilience.
But this improvement in outcomes is not only for the children and young people: the research is showing benefits for the adults as well as for the children. Staff have reported increased confidence, improved self-regulation and enhanced wellbeing.>>> Read more
There never has been, and cannot be, a good life without self-control
Count Leo Tolstoy
Connected learning: Knowledge that changes lives
Anyone who works with vulnerable people needs to understand the power of human connectedness and be able to be reflect on the interactions that make up their work. Only then can they make appropriate professional judgements and maintain their own resilience.
Connected learning is a relational approach to education that uses internet-based resources to promote social enquiry, experiential learning and skill development.
At KCA, we apply this approach to work-based learning through a combination of face-to-face training, webinars, e-learning, online mentoring, and distributable resources to facilitate discussion and practice-sharing.
Every participant at our training events is offered access to our secure extranet, KCA Connected. After leaving feedback, they can download an attendance certificate and a whole range of web-based resources. These allow ongoing reflection and practical exercises to be continued over the following weeks and months.
Our online courses require learners to try things out in the workplace, interact with colleagues and service users, and use their online journal to record their discoveries. There is also the option for organisations to assign learners a mentor, who could be a line manager, a peer or a dedicated coach. The mentor can access the learner's journal and provide online support via a databased messaging service.>>> Read more
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a
society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.