BE YOUR BEST HEALTH
(A programme designed for mental health and well being)
My Elevator Pitch:
I am studying to become a play therapist and I am passionate about the wellbeing of young people.
I want to create a online programme which can help young people to feel empowered and uplifted to become the best version of themselves in regards to self-help and self-development.
According to the office of students, there is a significance between males and females when it comes to access and participation of services for full time students in education (Office for Students 2019)
Through this programme, I will be able to equip students with the ability to feel confident in tackling and overcoming their own obstacles.
This will enable students to feel competent to take on their challenges and to welcome new opportunities for their future.
What is the issue?
The issue is that many young people are unable to gain access and actually participate in resources or support for their wellbeing.
Imagine being the best version of yourself. Turning your difficulties into strengths. Raising your own bar for inner success. Building authentic power from within to strive for success and so much more. Doors opening to endless possibilities, manifesting your dreams into your reality- it is all within your reach.
Where did my idea come from?
Mental health is constantly on the rise, the programme was inspired by my own personal experiences as a young teenager. Another inspiration that encouraged this ideas was Vex King’s book ‘Good Vibes, Good Life. This is popular amongst all ages, especially young people. I wanted students to feel proficient and successful in taking control of their lives for betterment of their wellbeing and overall development (King 2018)
Vex King- Author of Good Vibes, Good Life
If my idea came to fruition, young individuals will be able to have a more positive, ambitious and inspirational perspective on life. Healthy decisions for wellbeing would be made and they would have the power to transform their lives, both internally and externally. Young lives will thrive and flourish by emotionally investing in things that are right for them. This programme has an individualised approach that is tailored to meet their specific needs and desires.
My Story: Continued....
What if we hold the solutions to our problems?
Only we hold the key to our own happiness. It all begins with mindset. We create our own realities, but it all starts with yourself. What if we were able to lift our own spirits, get motivated and change our world?
About the Author:
Author Vex King had a difficult childhood, with the loss of his father, being homeless and being raised in a violent and racist neighbourhood. Against all odds, Vex went to university and was very successful within his career. Because of this, he was able to connect with others who needed help. He was able to provide them with advice and share his thoughts and ideas on social media- particularly Instagram. Many people look up to him for guidance and encouragement. One of the biggest reasons why people are so drawn to him is because he is incredibly insightful and will help you to dive deeper into finding your divine purpose and how to manifest your own goals into existence (King 2018)
What is Be Your Best Health?
Be Your Best Health is a wellness programme which aims to uplift and empower young people in regards to self help and self development.
The Programme has three main concepts:
- Self Love- Acknowledgement of happiness and welfare being an essential requirement in one’s lifetime (MedicalNewsToday 2004-2020)
- Self Empowerment- Having the independence to make decisions and work towards goals suitable for the individual (SkillsYouNeed 2011-2020)
- Spirituality- Exploration of what it means to be human with values, beliefs and positive energy and aura (Psychology Today 2011)
The Programme involves six creative workshop activities where students will be able to explore themselves into further depth and for them to use their initiative, talents and skills to their advantage.
Session 1: Understanding the Law of Attraction
Activity- Create an affirmation Jar
The challenge involves expressing praise and appreciation for oneself. This aims to overcome negative thought patterns and self sabotage- delving into the subconscious mind, creating a new system of beliefs, which therefore influences our actions.
Session 2: Self care
Activity- Making a self care kit (with a self care plan)
This challenge is important to promote positive feelings, boosting confidence and most importantly, creating a healthy relationship with yourself. Also, it benefits your self esteem and helps you to understand your own importance.
Session 3: Developing positive connections with others
Activity- Select social groups/societies based on personal interests, talents or abilities.
This challenge will help individuals understand what they would like to receive from their relationships as well as what they can give to others. Students should be able to gain an understanding of boundaries within their relationships with others, so that they know how to set the standards of how they would like to be treated and respected when interacting.
Session 4: Importance of positive lifestyle habits
Activity- Develop strategies to stay healthy physically- relating to fitness and eating habits.
Session 5: Changing your own beliefs and welcoming new opportunities
Activity- Design a belief system diagram
This helps to understand what could prevent you from achieving your goals in terms of attitude. It helps to heal and modify our behaviours. It encourages students to create the future they desire.
Session 6: Make and manifest goals
Activity- Create a vision board.
Students are able to focus on the positives in order to visualise and implement a plan of action in their own lives.
LO 1- Manage Academic and Professional Development
The arts are a vehicle for emotions. There is a strong correlation for the arts and mental health. In accordance to Kolb’s reflective cycle, my experience in supporting fellow students has enabled me to form strategic methods to implement into both academic and professional practice. With insight from my specialism in art and creative methods, I now have the ability to build adaptive foresight skills; in hand with critical thinking and planning. This understanding will be important to me as a learner to aid in building and sustaining foundations for healthy emotional responses and identity. This therefore promotes innovation when taking action to meet complex and diverse needs. Furthermore, it is vital to be emotionally literate for management of oneself and provides access to information about the individual (BusinessBalls 2020)
Through continuous sessions within my programme, it has helped me to obtain new beliefs and knowledge about perspectives individuals may perceive of the world. Through my creative flair and caring nature, my experiences with a broad range of people have enabled those to feel empowered and flourish within education, healthcare and childcare sectors. In order to gain greater understanding, I developed emotional resilience and awareness while acting upon this with a high degree of empathy and sincerity. While listening to safeguarding stories, in a wider context it is important to be collaborative and operate for the best interest of the person. This area of interest provides advancement within my desired field in play therapy (HealthLine Parenthood 2005-2020)
My programme has a strong emphasis on wellbeing, and I have been able to explore different activities for holistic development in students. For example, practicing affirmations is valuable in promoting positive brain function and improves academic attainment and health. Other activities such as creating plans for positive habits can help with behaviour and quality of life.
Beyond the programme, I feel that it is important to be voice for young people but to also explore with others how services can be student led in order to successfully achieve social competency within educational sectors. I designed my programme with an aim to open students up to endless opportunities for personal development as mental health issues are constantly on the increase. Mental wellbeing within young people is fundamental to development. My interpersonal skills will provide me with efficiency to set up interventions that are responsive to the needs of others by stimulating exploration and discovery through a range of artistic media. In relation to post graduation, I would aim to be a fully qualified and registered play therapist within an organisation.
From my activity and my description of this, I recognise that a potential idea to further support and encourage young people would be to work alongside a life coach. This professional would facilitate in order to achieve goals and access resources but most importantly, to communicate their issues.
LO 2- Connect experience to a core degree study
Early Years and Childhood studies has provided me with profound insight into how pressures in our world can impact mental health; and how our experiences within childhood can contribute to our perspectives. Within my activity in education, I was able to implement aspects of my degree into practice through reflecting upon my units to create a solution to tackle wellbeing. With prior experience of working with a broad range of people, I was able to sharpen and apply my practical skills and creative flair to deliver an idea to uplift and inspire fellow young people. During the third term, I can support fellow students to overcome barriers or fears they may face when coming to university. My interpersonal skills will enable me to reach out and provide support; by providing online sessions daily as well as meeting students following government guidelines. Having regular contact with students, their experience will be personalised and accustomed by being an active listener. My knowledge from my child development unit, has helped me to strengthen my observational skills and emotional literacy to identify when someone is in distress or displays negative responses. I was able to broaden my knowledge from my academic and professional practice unit; this improved my knowledge and innovations for supporting young people with consideration in internalization.
By working from within, I am able to explore internal sources to overcome negative thought patterns within the subconscious mind. Through this experience, I am more confident in establishing rapport amongst those I work with and alongside within a setting and provide advice or ways to deal with difficult issues. With this, I have found that it has helped me to develop my emotional resilience and self-awareness. I was able to advance in my critical thinking. My rights and participation unit helped me to understand the foundational principle of participation and the indispensability of children being able to find solutions to their problems. It has encouraged me to analyse that young individuals need to be self sufficient and equipped to take on challenges they face. My approach promotes inclusivity and understanding of empowerment and equal decision making (MMU 2020)
Albert Bandura proposes that children learn through influence of adults. Observational learning takes place when children watch modelled behaviour and action. When attention is drawn to something specific within an environment, information is retained. This information is then reproduced through action in similar situations. This implies that an individuals’ innate motivations are determined by their surroundings and affects the likelihood of achieving rewarding or unrewarding consequences. When evaluating this theory, self-efficacy enables us to establish our beliefs and abilities within ourselves for success or accomplishment. This theory demonstrates that individuals have the ability to control circumstances through attitude and behaviour and this influences our outcomes (Doherty, J & Hughes, M 2009)
In regards to my story, personal development is derived from behaviourism. It is a crucial aspect in one’s lifetime that is constantly evolving. Personal development provides individuals with the tools for success in many areas of their life, personally and professionally. I have learned that through my activity, I was able to combine both personal and professional skills. Over the course of the challenge, I found that a holistic approach was needed so that any internal or external factors affecting health can be addressed systematically. Understanding that everyone achieves at different paces, I took this into consideration when creating the programme and included a multitude of activity.
My third term experience has taught me a new way of supporting students that has never been done before. By helping others in this way, it improves performance and provides a more positive outlook on life and the future for the long term. This experience has changed my perspective on my degree as it shows me that active creativity can positively impact ones’ self-discovery and that you are able to manifest and support your divine purpose. My way of studying and learning are now different as I am more imaginative and strategic when focusing on detail and precision when delivering the best experiences for others.
LO 3- Communicate the value of your experience
When reflecting on the value of my work, it has changed me in many ways. I have realised that when creating my programme, it has given me a heightened sense of personal development and a greater sense of motivation for the best outcomes of myself and others around me. Within any possible event, I have developed greater confidence within myself and I am able to improve both interpersonal and personal skills. One way I have shown initiative is through my pathway, where I was able to bring concepts to life for young people to utilize and implement in many aspects of their lives. I was able to demonstrate both flexibility and patience in my approach, as I recognise that wellbeing is a journey and requires you to evaluate on your needs and mental wellness has a specific focus on what you can do in the present moment. The programme promotes diversity and a sense of belonging which allows the programme to be modified and tailored to meet the needs of the student and what they would want from their experience. From the students themselves, the concept of personal development means that they need to look at their own aims and set goals to maximise potential, advance in personal qualities and outlook on their life. Furthermore, personal and professional development correlate with each other and provide a framework for progression and capitalizing abilities and possible capabilities within individuals. It is an opportunity to self-reflect and evaluate creatively to be free and open to endless possibilities. In health, creativity is an essential outlet that enables expression and evaluation for emotion (SkillsYouNeed 2011-2020)
Being creative also has a positive impact on physical health, including blood pressure, body mass index and stress levels. In circumstances where individuals have faced traumatic or distressing events; it can help students to process and manage their thoughts, impacting their feelings and actions. Companies and employers seek candidates that are imaginative and innovative and can respond to challenges. This is done by tapping into creativity which helps to boost professionalism. Having creativity as a strength enables fluency, originality, elaboration and flexibility where others will embrace unique ideas and methods as solutions to problems (AllBusiness 2020)
Within education, students focus on a subject area where they will grow and develop professionally within a specific field. Personal development is a focus that I was interested in because it encourages lifelong learning and stepping out of comfort zones to pursue new opportunities. Students can evolve and push themselves to do better and gain a sense of true purpose on their path. I have learned from my own experience with personal development that it has improved my mindset and attitude in all aspects of my life- academically, physically, spiritually and mentally. It is a greater form of self-love which I feel that everyone needs when reflecting on values, skills and what you have to offer to the world around you. It helped me to invest in my passions and strive to accomplish beyond what I felt I was capable of.
My initial concept came to me when the UK went into lockdown due to COVID-19. On social media, I came across many people that I follow who have read Vex King’s book (Good Vibes, Good Life). I found that he is very popular amongst young people and how he helps you to delve into your inner self to change your world. It is interesting and I feel that many would resonate with the author’s experiences as Vex is incredibly insightful, honest and genuine in his book. Based on my experiences with young people, I would love to encourage others to be the best version of themselves and to thrive in their endeavours. Above everything, it is vital to establish a healthy relationship with yourself.
LO 4- Place learning in a broader academic or professional context
Within my chosen activity, I was able to delve into the ways in which young people can learn to manage and make sense of their behaviours and feelings. I was able to explore creative strategies to tackle personal and complex issues individuals could be faced with. Play therapists within practice have three core competencies for the best outcomes. These are knowledge and understanding, personal development and practical skills. In relation to my programme, the main importance is to embrace and strengthen personal qualities, manage emotion and self-reflect (British Association of Play Therapists 2014) Within an educational context, I was able to encourage children to work collaboratively through play to explore their senses and use both their gross and fine motor skills. The scenario was that they were to cook some food for me using play kitchen items. I used resources and guided play through simple instructions to see how the task was carried out. I noticed that certain behaviours and feelings about the activity were because of experiences with their families and each response was different. This relates to my future career as a play therapist as this was an example of child led play. It helped me to explore the types of approaches of development and when it may be right to engage. This opportunity enabled me to analyse body language, expression and use my person-centred skills to communicate effectively with the children. Play therapy will require me to develop these skills and abilities and to explore different types of developmental theory. I acted professionally by active listening to the children and evaluating what they had done in the tasks.
In terms of metacognitive thinking, when reflecting on my core degree; I found that I am able to use possible approaches and implement them within practice. I was able to be open and understanding of different techniques and ways they can further develop in their learning.
Piaget’s theory relates to play therapy as play helps to build understanding and strengthen skills and abilities. This theory is also child centred and encourages children to problem solve and communicate in various ways. Factors that may be interpersonal, lingual or social all contribute to mental development in children. Piaget’s theory helps to emphasise that children must be both active and engaged through play and provides an insight into how identity is constructed (Hamid 2018)
The role of a play therapist requires specialist ideas such as being creative, inventive and imaginative. The therapist should be able to promote mental growth and wellbeing and encourage the child to adopt more positive habits and behaviours. Activities with different materials helps to identify what type of issues or experiences a child may be struggling with. Play helps to discover any recurring patterns or related themes associated within a child’s situation. In play therapy, there are different categories of toys or tools used. Real life toys that represent things in the world like dolls, vehicles or objects like money. Aggressive release toys are used to relieve difficult emotions, like punch bags or rubber items. Creative expression toys provide a creative outlet for the child, media such as crayons, paint or water activities can be used (Center for Play Therapy 2002)
Professionalism in play therapy requires you to be resilient and socially competent. These skills will enable me to build and maintain strong working relationships with the child and family members. Moreover, it will also help me to adapt and interact in different situations. In practice, it is vital to always have a positive outlook and to have acknowledgement of both strengths and weaknesses. Continued professional development (CPD) will enable me to develop and enhance my abilities and gain a deeper understanding of child development. In regards to learning, undertaking my wellbeing challenge has helped to apply my knowledge of my degree; to create a practical solution for young people. My specialist knowledge of working with young individuals helps me to understand and empathise the difficulties they could face. The programme demonstrates how valuable personal development is because it is a form of lifelong learning. Personal development also can encourage me to have a strong sense of direction in my life and consider what career path I want to go down. To move towards this goal, I must learn about the role within a health setting and gain more knowledge within the role as a future practitioner. Professional attributes such as reliance can be shown by taking positive action within the situation and to set realistic goals that can be achieved professionally (Play Therapy UK 1995-2017)Qualities and expectations of a play therapist are essential for the best interest of the child as well as effective practice. Personal qualities such as sincerity, respect and critical reflection are standards set by play therapy organisations such as British Association of Play Therapists and Play Therapy UK.
Private sectors would specialise in a specific area of development in play therapy. Therapists would have clients through networking with other settings and it involves a lot of working independently. Public sectors will have clients from hospitals, schools or social services that have been referred. Play therapists would work within a multi-disciplinary team and would be accessible to resources and further support for the clients.
LO 5- Anticipate and plan for, future learning and development
In retrospect, my third term activity has opened me up to limitless possibilities and ways in which I can creatively problem solve within any situation. This experience has enabled me to use my passions as a strength and welcome new ideas about what I can do in the future. In my desired career as a play therapist, my previous experiences have provided me with transferable skills which will be useful in this role. Working in educational settings has also made me consider experience in hospitals or working with children and families. In my course, I have set this short-term goal to reflect on the role in this area through observation or a work shadowing opportunity. A long-term goal would be to continuously develop my skills and experience working with a variety of children with different needs. My short-term goal will require me to reach out to professionals within the healthcare sector and liaise with university staff. Once I have completed this goal, I will feel more fulfilled and closer to my dream career. My long-term goal would require me to gain another year’s experience for play therapy which I may need to do in my own time. Once this has been done, I will feel excited as I would be even closer to my career and it will help me in the next few stages of my professional development.
Kath is an independent play therapist who started out in the social work field. From this, she has worked with children and alongside their families. Through the job that she was doing, she was able to discover her areas of interest through experience and develop further within the role. In relation to my plan, I will achieve my short-and long-term goal within the duration of my course. Afterwards, I will move onto a postgraduate study in childhood development in practice to achieve further qualifications and experience working with children and families. When considering the bigger picture, my profession in play therapy will bring challenges but will also be incredibly inspiring and rewarding. I feel that this career is the best step forward for me, where I will be able to develop interesting insights and understandings with everyone that I work with. As mentioned in my story, my plans for my future role will help to empower young individuals to make positive changes and to help others to have an inspirational perspective on life (British Association of Play Therapists 2014)
My areas to improve my professional development:
Specific - My focus on both my long and short-term goal will be an essential starting point for my career.
Measurable - My progress can be measured throughout my years of study, followed by my postgraduate study afterwards. The vital experience I need is another year of working with children and families and developing my skills and knowledge through work opportunities.
Achievable - To achieve these plans I will speak to an academic placement co-ordinator for possible placements, observation or work shadowing opportunities. I may have to contact the NHS health play staff to arrange opportunities like these too.
Realistic - In order to be realistic about my goals, I will use my organisational and time management skills.
Time bound- To advance in my academic and professional development, I will complete my goals in my plan within the next four years of my study at university.
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Psychology Today 2011 What is Spirituality [online] [Accessed: 07/07/2020] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/spiritual-wisdom-secular-times/201103/what-is-spirituality
SkillsYouNeed 2011-2020. Personal Empowerment. [online] [Accessed: 06/07/2020] https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/personal-empowerment.html