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Our Contract Work Often Includes The Following Sectors:
Infrastructure & Government
SEPPT – SELF EVOLVING POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY TEAM TRAINING
4 days – [Certified]
25 people max – Suitable For Experienced Professionals
A “mini” degree in psychology, positive psychology & coaching for those wishing to drive and sustain long term psychological organisational improvement. Enables embedding of interventions & tools strategically, over time with access to 50 measurements to prove positive impact on mental health.
Includes the use of Lego Serious Play.
Psychological Improvement Consultancy
– One to one support up to a year
– 10 leadership coaching sessions
– Measures and data gathering design, implementation and academic write up.
– Targeted reinforcement for up to 4 individual staff within the Institution.
– Targeted reinforcement for one department (up to 10 staff).
Please find below some more detailed feedback from our work:
1. SEPPT (Self Evolving Positive Psychology Team) Training. Passmores Academy – Case Study [UK] SEPTEMBER 2018
I was afraid of what these sessions would bring up (past traumas, weaknesses etc) they definitely brought these up and more. I don’t trust people to take care of me and protect me, so I often thought about dropping out of the course – but I’m not a quitter, so i stayed. I’m so glad I did. thank you for providing me with the environment to trust and feel with those around me. Even though its taken me to the end to get to a place where I can voice my thoughts, i know it will continue as i move forward as a team with my colleagues, through this magnificent journey. having participated in ‘mental health’ training before and spent a lot of time with professionals involving my own mental health, I was sceptical about SEPPT. Now I am completely inspired to put this into practise to not only sort out my own head, but to help others around me.
Dear Al, thoughts for me are as follows;
- Being part of such an innovative project with huge potential
- Realising that positive psychology has the potential to enable teachers and young people to grow and deal with issues in a positive way to solve real world problems
- Giving me the confidence to think about and in only a short period of time, deal with some of my own issues (personal and professional)
- Thanks. It was and you are inspirational.
I came to the SEPPT training with high hopes it wouldn’t be another watered down, unscientific formula. And was very pleased to find a course full of honesty and openness, all corroborated with evidence and delivered with appreciation of the darker side of life (that can be as enriching as the positive side) The skills I’ve learnt will be long term and far reaching in my personal and professional life.
Thank you! More questions, more learning needed. But what an amazing group you have led. I know i need to think about myself more, I need to look at things but I’m not quite ready yet. I have faith it will happen. I started totally scared, nervous, not feeling good enough. But the core of the group has left me in a much better place. I feel I have woken up! How do we coach, help and support one another, how do we take this to students? How do we save a generation from mental health crisis. I feel my journey was 5 steps forward, 3 steps back.
I was excited for the course; being so invested in Passmores, the idea of something helping the children and the future was a no-brainer. I worried that it would be so heavy I’d lose myself, but Ive felt safe the whole time.
I was skeptical of the training as I’d been fed some of the worse training over my career. However, the whole process was a real eye opener and from the first hour i was hooked. This will actually change my life, so I can only see benefits for the students of Passmores.
The SEPPT went beyond expectations in terms of the way in which staff were gently guided and steered into being vulnerable and showing aspects of themselves that were both enabling them to thrive, or in most cases (and the most valuably) causing them trauma and concern. Our staff developed closer bonds and a deeper understanding of themselves and each other – which can only benefit the whole organisation.
I thought this would just be another training course and you were silly to say that this was a journey. I have been on a massive emotional journey and I’m more self aware with things that I have been struggling with for years.
I can’t wait to implement this in our school and community. I cant even put into words this experience, thank you.
I came in feeling very negative, very defensive. After I came in and listened to Al and how he was delivering the session it made me feel more comfortable in coaching. Very positive frame of mind. Understanding what coaching psychology is all about.
I came in feeling very anxious and apprehensive. I didn’t like Al telling everyone that he would keep them safe, it made me very angry. After attending the sessions I really had to figure out why I felt this way. Once I did the coaching I realised it was because I felt vulnerable and actually I shouldn’t.
I came into this believing in you and your passion without a real understanding of positive psychology. I had trust in you because of your experience as a teacher and therefore not wanting to preach.
I now believe in positive psychology and see the potential of how this can be “Inner Armour” that will enable us all to grow. We are going to shatter glass ceilings and I am very excited to see the impact of what can be changed. You have captured our hearts and minds, lets ride this rollercoaster. EBI – 6 Days!
I didn’t have any anxieties before the course – but was intrigued and looking forward to learning some new stuff. I’ve greatly appreciated having your expertise and the time to talk through ideas – I certainly feel that it is starting to crystallize in my mind. I am looking forward to delving deeper into positive psychology and seeing how we can use it to make a real difference in Passmores.
I guess I was surprised at the range of different aspects that the course encompassed – it was a key strength but it was also quite emotionally and mentally draining so I suspect that ideas will start to flow after I have had sufficient time to reflect and research further.
Thank you for a wonderful 4 days. Looking inside myself and thinking about what my make up is has been challenging but rewarding. I was sceptical about what ‘wishy washy’ impact this would actually have, but it is as far removed from that thought as you can imagine.
I look forward to working with you continuously to bring this to fruition throughout our community.
I was really looking forward to the course without quite knowing what to expect. I suspected that my inner most feelings would be challenged and they were – in a positive way At no point did i ‘hate’ you (sorry) but you did make me think (a lot) in a good way. Thanks for having me as a guest – it has been a privilege. Looking forward to seeing our partnership develop.
Great course, a fascinating introduction to positive psychology and how to better protect staff so they are better equipped to look after others. Really interested in the interventions and the subjects of coping with stress, trauma, looking at character strengths, random acts of kindness etc.
Positive Psychology and Positive Education: The Passmores Experience
TES Article published: https://www.tes.com/news/tes-magazine/tes-magazine/more-just-a-happy-clappy-intervention
Article by previous New Zealand headmaster and author in the TES detailing the training by Inner Armour on: Friday 14th September, Saturday 15th September, Friday 21st September & Saturday 22nd September
Passmores Academy, Traceys Road, Harlow, CM18 6JH [UK]
KEYWORDS: Well-being, Positive psychology, education, teacher training.
At a time when society is facing a worrying increase in the number of children experiencing mental health issues, it is becoming clear that many of our schools have neither the resources nor the trained staff to cope.
There have been marked increases in self-harm, childhood depression, eating and sleeping disorders, …
How can we not feel anxious when 10 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds identify as feeling “always or often” lonely – the highest proportion of any age group?
Starved of funding for specialist services and professional expertise, schools have been scrambling to augment existing provision through pastoral programmes intended to improve the wellbeing and resilience of children. Many have employed counsellors, and some have integrated mindfulness and wellbeing training into their curricula, but none of these approaches provide teachers with the specific knowledge to intervene and help their pupils learn to self-regulate.
All of this explains why some schools are now turning to the discipline of positive psychology for answers.
Much of what we understand about positive psychology stems from the work of Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania, who first designed a whole-school programme, leading to the emergence of the field of “positive education”, with its dual purpose of “feeling good and doing good”.
Despite “positive education” becoming a common phrase in educational discourse, this has not been a straightforward route for schools to take, partly because the approach does not seek to offer an easy or measurable fix. Rather, it focuses on prevention and requires teachers to undertake rigorous training aimed at improving their own resilience and mental health before using their skills and knowledge to help children via coaching and interventions.
Here, happiness, wellbeing, human strength and human flourishing are not mere aspirations but rather areas in which changes in mental disposition can be effected.
One institution that has faced down these challenges is Geelong Grammar School in Australia, which set up its Institute of Positive Education in 2012. This was a turning point in the adoption of positive psychology as a school-wide approach more generally; now, more than 12,000 teachers trained in these techniques work in more than 1,000 schools across the world.
Since the pioneering work of Sir Anthony Seldon, who promoted courses in happiness and wellbeing when he was master of Wellington College, self-esteem and happiness have been buzzwords in UK education circles. Most schools offer a mixture of philosophy and health in their pastoral-care programmes, often centred on the promotion of school-wide values and the identification of safe places. But positive education is a great deal more distinct and rigorous, in that it offers an approach grounded in the science of psychology, with Seligman exploring why things happen rather than dealing solely with their aftermath.
To recently retired Geelong head Stephen Meek, this distinction is vital. “For me, the critical factor is that science underpins positive psychology,” he says. “It is not just wishful thinking, but is based upon scientific experiments that have been replicated by scientists from universities across the world.”
‘Domains of flourishing’
Positive education has been the bedrock of Geelong’s pastoral care for 10 years, applied implicitly across all aspects of school life – academic, pastoral and co-curricular – as well as being covered explicitly in Years 7 and 10. So valued has the approach become that it is now a condition of employment for all staff (whether teaching or non-teaching) to undergo positive psychology training when they join the school.
With its hedonic and eudaemonic theories of wellbeing, and the six associated domains that are central to the promotion of “flourishing” – relationships, emotion, engagement, accomplishment, health and purpose – Geelong is an exemplar for other schools around the world, including a number in the UK.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Meek remains convinced of the value of positive education. “I have no doubt at all that, at the basic level, the school has raised the profile of wellbeing for all its students,” he says. “They now have a greater understanding of the significance of wellbeing and how it can determine so much about the quality of their lives.
“Moreover, they know how to boost resilience when they encounter low points in their lives and, indeed, they know they can be proactive and can undertake positive actions to increase their life satisfaction. They do not need to accept life’s downs; they can do something about them.”
Schools that were reluctant to embrace positive education in the early days, partly because of a suspicion of psychology and the intensive training required, are now realising that a mental health crisis requires more than a superficial response. In recent years, clusters of state schools around the UK have experimented with the model – notably around Loughborough – with some success.
Independent schools have tended to look on with interest, taking what they needed from the science to create bespoke programmes. Recently, Warminster School in Wiltshire embedded positive psychology in its pastoral care, partly because leaders felt it was more grounded in psychology and research than other programmes but also because of the wellbeing benefits it could bring for teachers.
Earlier this term, I attended self-evolving positive psychology training at Passmores Academy in Harlow, provided by a teacher-led organisation called Inner Armour, which is closely connected with the school.
What struck me was the rigour and the content, focusing as it does on such diverse yet complementary topics as self-regulation, stressors, values in action, the importance of belonging and ritual, coping strategies, dealing with stress, values and ethics, and resilience (through the Penn Resilience Programme). It was the coaching sessions that set the course apart, however, as well as its use of interventions. This was positive psychology at its most raw, and it challenged the assumptions of a number of staff.
From the outset, some participants admitted that they were cynical about anything to do with psychology, citing the bevy of “mental health” professional development courses they had attended that had promised much but delivered little other than “fluff ”. But this training didn’t disappoint; the impact was summed up by one convert who said: “I was sceptical. Now I am completely inspired to put this into practice.”
Over the next 12 months, the academy will continue working with Inner Armour. Co-principal Natalie Christie confirms that “the school is committed to the principles of positive psychology”; she sees the journey it has begun as “life-transforming”, and believes the investment being made in staff will cascade down to the children. As one of the first state schools in the UK to embrace the approach in education, Passmores takes its role seriously, aiming to foster positive psychology in every teacher.
What I do know from spending time with the staff at Passmores is that the course had a profound impact on all who attended. Yes, there are challenges, the foremost of those being to win over all staff members and then impart the lessons to the children to develop their resilience. But what I heard made me realise how much we carry about in our heads that stops us doing what we need to do and becoming who we want to be.
Even if the benefits go no further than better equipping teachers to cope, the approach has huge merit. But already Passmores is working on using the skills and knowledge it has acquired to implement a programme of intervention and school-wide training. Fired with a missionary zeal, two staff members plan to attend the sixth World Conference on Positive Psychology in Melbourne next July to present papers on improving staff and student mental health, as well as becoming psychologically empowered as teachers.
My enduring impression of the training is of the rigour and the effect it had on teachers. Like several of the group, co-principal Vic Goddard described himself at the outset as a cynic about “the happy-clappy bandwagon of courses on happiness and wellbeing”.
Now, Goddard sees that instead of just “fixing broken things”, there is an opportunity for his school to make a significant change in the way it treats mental health through early intervention.
I arrived in Harlow needing to be convinced that Seligman’s theories could work in the hustle and bustle of a busy school. And I was.
But the last word should surely go to one of the Passmores teachers who took part: “From the bottom of my heart, this will change my life. And, if it changes my life, it will change the lives of kids.”
Peter Tait is an author who specialises in education and history