Posted: Monday 29th June 2020
Whilst talking together the other day about some endeavour of ours or another, one of us remarked ‘Well, change takes time.’. ‘Mmmm’ we both agreed, hunkering down for the long haul, when a spark struck: Yes, change takes time, but transformation can happen in any given moment. It can be instantaneous. ‘Change’ speaks of movement within the existing frame of understanding. Whereas, ‘transformation’ involves seeing and understanding things altogether differently. In systemic psychotherapy circles, this is talked about in terms of first order and second order change.
There is a well known phrase in leadership speak: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’. Well, it occurred to us that in the field of child and family mental health care, the phrase could perhaps be translated as ‘development eats remedy for breakfast.’. Strategy and remedy involve telling and intervening from the outside. Culture and development involve a living human process of interaction which takes place dynamically amongst a system.
When we get our culture right, we just know how to behave together to do the right thing. Likewise, when we focus upon our development, the ways to overcome our problems just fall so much more clearly into place. Indeed, when our development is strong, we don’t create so many problems for ourselves and others in the first place.
What does this mean for our work with children and families? At MyST, our approach addresses the development of the whole child rather than being waylaid into ‘dis-membering’ the problem and ‘treating’ it. It also goes further; at MyST we address the ‘child’s problem’ in the context of the system in which it has arisen. Another leadership motto is; ‘every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets.’. If this is true, then every time we see ‘the result’ of a child in distress, we need to look at the system that has somehow been ‘perfectly designed’ to bring this distress about.
Let’s look at our systems for children looked after long and hard, time and again. Let’s also enable children to develop in every moment. Now that’s transformation!
Jen & Jael