Young people attend the School’s Clinical Therapy Support Centre at Ebley House as part of their planned educational and therapeutic timetable. The main aim of the clinical and therapy staff is to provide the young people with a sense of psychological safety and support.  Once established, this assists young people in overcoming any barriers to learning they may have – such barriers can be neurodevelopmental, attachment or relationship based or arise from a particular learning disability.

“Children make excellent progress in their social, educational and behavioural development in relation to their starting points.  This is achieved by a team of highly qualified and skilled clinical staff and care staff providing consistent care.” Ofsted 2017

While at the Support Centre the young people are able to access a range of services that include, psychology support, systemic family therapy, play therapy, individual and group counselling, health advice, attachment focused therapy, music therapy, role-play and talking and listening group therapy sessions, and psychological education, where a range of subjects are explored such as living in groups, developing skills of self and emotional regulation, peer and family relationships, emotional and self-regulation, and other topics that are raised by the young people.

All the therapists receive line management and clinical supervision from a qualified HCPC accredited clinician.

“Particular attention is given to the young person’s sensory needs.  Sensory diets, the colour of their room, texture of bedding and flooring and all considered before young people arrive at the home.” Ofsted 2017

The effectiveness of the School’s approach to health care and therapy is measured through twice weekly clinical and therapy meetings at which clinical work is assessed and young people’s clinical goals and progress are monitored. The effectiveness of the School’s approach is evidenced in the minutes of these meetings, which can be accessed via the Trust’s Therapy Support Centre Manager, or Clinical and Therapy Secretary.

Clinical & Therapy Assistants: are members of the clinical and therapy team participating in meetings and support sessions as directed. Their role is to assist a nominated therapist in the implementation of therapeutic support strategies in the care, therapy and education settings. Techniques and therapy programs are always devised and directed by a qualified Clinician or Therapist. Clinical & Therapy Assistants accompany young people attending therapy sessions at the support centre, will then assist and support young people with their therapy or clinical goals outside of the session, this would typically be within the education department, home environment or out in public. The aim is to help and empower young people to overcome any barriers they may have in their education, health and well-being. Clinical & Therapy Assistants feedback to therapists the progress of each student in order to measure and evaluate progress and assist in the auditing and monitoring of Education, Health and Care Outcomes.

“A therapeutic team, including a number of highly qualified practitioners in mental health, social work and psychology, provide on-going reflective and clinical supervision to staff, both individually and in team meetings.” Ofsted 2017

The work is based on building a trusting relationship between the therapist and the student or resident and enables them to talk about their experiences and make sense of them. Individuals use their time to explore thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the world through play, drawing and talking, in an accepting, safe and consistent setting. Therapists are trained to listen carefully without judging or criticising them.

How and when can you see a therapist?

All young people and residents can ask (or be referred by a member of staff) to see one of the therapists. Decisions about what kind of therapy might best meet a person’s needs are discussed and reviewed by the weekly multidisciplinary and Positive Relationships and Support Group. Weekly individual therapy sessions generally last for 45 minutes. Students and residents initially meet with one therapist for 6 weeks but have the opportunity of meeting with the same or a different therapist for further work. There are a number of different therapists available at Novalis – these include people trained in:

• Systemic Family Therapy

  • Counselling
  • Music Therapy
  • TANT Trauma Art and Narrative Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology and Psychological Education
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Attachment Focused Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • NMT Neuro Sequential Model of Therapeutics

Young people also have access to local external Consultant Psychiatrists. Alongside the therapeutic work, young people can visit Ebley House for a social activity and fun days this allows them to informally interact with the therapists and engage in fun activities such as games and events.

Who works at the Support Centre and what is their role?

A therapist is someone who is trained to listen to people and help them think things through. There are a number of different therapies available at Novalis Trust which include:

  • Systemic Family Therapy aims to be inclusive and considerate of the needs of each member of the family and/or other key relationships (systems) in the young person life. It sets out to recognise and build on peoples’ strengths and relational resources, work in partnership with families and others as an interaction as opposed to an intervention. Meetings encourage and enable the family to talk, together or individually, often about difficult or distressing issues, in ways that respect their experiences, invite engagement and support recovery.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT involves addressing problems in a very practical way. It aims to change any thinking or behaviour patterns a person may have which might cause or worsen a problem. This can have an impact on their feelings so that they start to feel better.
  • Counselling is a type of ‘talking therapy’. A person can use the time with a counsellor to think about a situation and talk it through. These sessions give the individual the chance to express feelings and enables them to identify and explore problems and stresses and may inform certain choices about what they can do to change things.
  • Psychotherapy helps people find new ways to think about their personal issues and difficulties by exploring how their feelings and thoughts are connected to their relationships and behaviour. Everyone has hidden thoughts and feelings as they get on with everyday life which affects them. Psychotherapists help people become more aware of these.
  • Speech and Language Therapy helps people with speech and/or language difficulties. The support may include one-to-one sessions, small group work or support within the classroom setting.
  • Occupational Therapy (OT) is a way of working with children and adults to improve daily life tasks such as learning, playing, relating and developing as well as the complex activities needed for academic success. OT addresses behavioural, physical, sensory (sensory integration and emotional regulation) and cognitive abilities as well as psychological functioning. OTs work with people either individually or within a group.
  • Attachment Focused Psychotherapy is centred on facilitating an individual’s ability to establish a secure attachment with his/her carers. The theories and research of Attachment, Inter-subjectivity and Trauma are the primary models used for relationship development and trauma resolution. The work takes place with three people – the individual, a therapist and the carer or parent.

NMT the Neurosequential Model © is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children. It is not a specific therapeutic technique or intervention; it is a way to organize a child’s history and current functioning. The goal of this approach is to structure assessment of a child, the articulation of the primary problems, identification of key strengths and the application of interventions (educational, enrichment and therapeutic) in a way that will help family, educators, therapists and related professionals best meet the needs of the child.

TANT Trauma Art and Narrative Therapy © Structured creative cognitive exposure technique for the purpose of narrating and resolving traumatic events. It uses non-interpretive drawing steps technique aim to reduce intrusive PTSD symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, body memories, and PTSD related behaviours from both simple and complex traumas.

Caroline Tebay – Head of Clinical Services