During my time as an Assistant Psychologist, I was introduced to the Solihull Approach. The Solihull Approach is an evidence-based programme that’s all about emotional health and well-being in children, families and adults and is based on three key concepts: Containment, Behavioural Management and Reciprocity.
Containment is like feeling full of a problem, telling someone else who listens and understands, and then feeling that the problem is in perspective, rather than going round and round in your head (Solihull Approach Resource, 2017). For example: Person A is receiving and understanding the emotional communications of Person B (i.e. anger, guilt or anxiety) - without being overwhelmed by them. Person A can then making sense of them and is then able to communicate this back to Person B. The next time you’re working with someone who’s feeling overwhelmed think… How can I help contain this person?
Reciprocity describes the sophisticated interaction between a baby and an adult where both are involved in the initiation, regulation and termination of the interaction. Reciprocity can also be used to describe the interaction within all relationships. The concept of reciprocity was developed by Brazelton (1974). He filmed interactions between mothers and their babies, then analysed the results minute by minute. He found that babies were very active in their attempts to communicate with their mothers. Trevarthen (1980) called this interactive behaviour between baby and mother Intersubjectivity. When this mutual process is successful, it leads to a state of reciprocity. Brazelton described a typical reciprocal interaction as a ‘dance’ with the following steps or sequence:
📍State of Attention
📍Peak of Excitement
📍Withdrawal or turning away
The next time you see a baby and its mother - see if you can spot the ‘dance’ from beginning to end 🕺💃.
Behaviour management is all about promoting positive prosocial behaviours. It's a part of the ordinary process of normal development whereby parents teach their child self-control, thus enabling the child to participate in society. Parents in well functioning families work together to place reasonable boundaries on the child's behaviour. They encourage the child with attention and other rewards. Gradually, the child becomes able to internalise both the restraints and the satisfactions for himself. It also facilitates learning and development.
If you're interested in learning more about the Solihull Approach, you can visit their website here.