Hey Martin, Phil Tenaglia here. I am a school psychologist and work in a special education setting with kids who have been given these labels. I came toMessage 1 of 8 , May 27, 2011View SourceHey Martin,Phil Tenaglia here. I am a school psychologist and work in a special education setting with kids who have been given these labels. I came to ACT/RFT via Kevin Polk a couple of years ago and have been applying his development of the matrix for interventions with my students and staff. Check Dr. Polk's website and blog out for details.The matrix is basically a functional contextual tool to use with just about anybody and incorporates the six core ACT domains. I use a whiteboard or chalkboard with my kids and together we sort out their behaviors and mental experiencing (putting all of this up on the board) so they can learn what works to get them moving toward what is important to them.The basics are sorting toward behaviors (going to school, following directions, doing my work, etc.) and away behaviors (yelling, leaving class, hitting/fighting) which is done along a horizontal line (toward moves on one side and away as in "moves away from what you don't want" on the other). This way they can "notice" their behaviors and where their behaviors are taking them. Mostly all of them get the toward and away stuff. The away stuff is really away from unwanted/uncomfortable thoughts, feelings urges but I find that if they can get" away form what is important to them" we can train up the mental experiencing later.There is also a vertical line which is drawn through the middle of the horizontal line (I am trying to describe what it looks like but it is best to see it so check out Dr. Polk's material). Above the horizontal line we list the students toward and away behaviors on their respective sides. What shows up inside them when they make moves is called mental experiencing (thoughts, feelings, urges, memories). These go underneath the horizontal line and corresponds to the toward and away behaviors on top.As the student and I collaborate on developing their matrix they will frequently begin to become more flexible in their mental experiencing and five sense experiencing (what they are doing with their hands, feet and mouth).When that happens they have more choices over moves they can make that bring them closer to what is important to them.The process is fun and collaborative and done from a nonjudgemental, open, accepting perspective. More often than not the kids derive up new moves to make. Then they go out and try them and notice what happens. I have used the matrix with groups and individuals. It is also great for working with the teaching staff and helping them get more flexible.I set up a blog a few months ago with a short manual for downloading (actforeducation.blogspot.com) that fleshes it out a bit more.Good Luck!Phil TenagliaHi group!I’m working as a (pre)schoolpsychologist and run in to a lot of kids with CD/ODD or similar problems . I wonder if anyone has developed a method and RFT conceptualisation of this problems. I also wonder if any of you work with ACT by proxy. As I don’t see any kids myself but work with the staff.CheersMartin
Thank you so much for the responses - lots to think about, and lots of ideas to try out in our next session. Reading them, I've got a glimpse of how caught up I've become in fears (my own and his carer's) about not being able to help him, fusion with must-be-a-good-therapist, etc. Rabbit in headlights, focus narrowed... splat. What a great model for psychological flexibility!!
So...teaching the skills without having the focus necessarily on the more difficult topics... I'd been focussing on how he relates to his anger now rather than working around the trauma per se - although that's a far from tidy distinction as everything seems jumbled - to us both, I guess.
I can't, within the parameters of my department/service, explicitly give him permission to not come. So I guess the next best thing is to investigate with him how we can usefully spend the next few months together.
Thank you for the support!