Friends for Life - Institute of Guidance Counsellors

Friends For Life
A resilience building and well-bring programme for
National Behaviour Support Service (March 2014)
 Introduction
 NBSS Model of Support
 Friends For Life
 NBSS Research
 Examples from Irish Schools
 Programme Implementation
NBSS Mission Statement
‘Promoting and Supporting Behaviour for Learning’
The NBSS Mission is to promote and support positive
behaviour for learning through the provision of a
systematic continuum of support to school communities
grounded in evidence based practice.
NBSS Guiding Principles
‘Schools can make a difference in young people’s lives’
 Behaviour is intrinsically linked to teaching and
 Inclusion as a core educational value.
 Good practice in schools is acknowledged and
Positive Behaviour Support Programmes
 Framework for Intervention (FFI) – Birmingham, Scotland, Norway
 Restorative Approach – Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom,
North America, Sligo and Donegal
 Solution Oriented School Programme (SOS) – Scotland,
Jersey, United Kingdom attendance and behaviour strategy
 School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) –
North America, Canada, AustraliaSocial and Emotional Learning (SEL) – North
America, Europe, Asia
 Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) –
DCSF, England
Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success
Academic Systems
Behavioural Systems
Intensive, Individual Interventions
•Individual Students
•High Intensity
Intensive, Individual Interventions
•Individual Students
•Intense, durable procedures
Targeted Group Interventions
•Some students (at-risk)
•High efficiency
•Rapid response
Targeted Group Interventions
•Some students (at-risk)
•High efficiency
•Rapid response
Universal Interventions
•All students
•Preventive, proactive
Universal Interventions
•All settings, all students
•Preventive, proactive
Schimmer & Sugai, Nov. 2003
Student Behaviour Plan
 Learning Behaviour
 Student Profile
 My Work at School
 Student Behaviour Plan
 Recommendations
 Weekly Review of Targets
Positive Behaviour In-school
Curricular Framework:
 Behaviour for Learning Skills
 Academic Literacy, Learning and Study Skills
 Social and Emotional Literacy Skills
 Positive Health and Wellbeing Skills
Relevant Legislation
 Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures for Post-Primary
Schools, 2011
 Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary
Schools (2013)
 Well-Being in Post Primary Schools
 NEWB: Education Welfare Act (2000)
 Developing a Code of Behaviour, Guidelines for Schools
 The Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2004
 Education Act, 1998
Well-Being in Post-Primary
Schools (2013)
School can provide a rewarding
external support system that will
be a powerful force in minimising
risks and protecting against the
development of mental health
difficulties. Building resilience in
young people is a powerful
protective factor. (P.18)
A positive school-wide attitude
and involvement can assist
considerably in countering
bullying behaviour in schools.
International Research
The World Health Organisation has cited ‘Friends for Life
'as the only evidence-based programme effective at all
levels of intervention for anxiety in children.
(WHO, 2004)
The ‘FRIENDS’ Programmes
The ‘FRIENDS’ programmes were developed for children aged 4 years
right through to adults. Each programme is similar in theoretical
principles. However, each programme is age appropriate and has
additional techniques for each stage of development.
Fun Friends (4 to 7 years)
Friends for Life (8 to 11 years)
My Friends Youth (12 to 16 years)
Resilience for Life (16+)
Friends Programmes
All 4 programmes develop social-emotional competence by
teaching thinking, emotional, behavioural and social skills.
Are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Have been developed by Child Psychologist Prof. Paula Barrett
The ‘FRIENDS’ programmes were created to:
•Develop life skills to cope with challenging situations
•Build life-long emotional resilience
•Build life-supporting social networks and positive role models
•Promote self-confidence and empathy
•Reduce bullying and teach constructive peer relationship skills
•Develop social skills
•Improve academic performance
•Empower students, parents and teachers
 Anxiety is the most common psychological disorder in
school-aged children and adolescents.
 Prevalence rates in Ireland estimate that 18.7% of
children suffer from some form of mental health issue or
psychological disorder, including anxiety severe enough
to cause impairment.
(Barnardos Report: Tomorrow’s Child, 2008)
Anxiety is normal
It is the basis of survival and it
prepares our bodies to cope with
In moderate amounts it helps
Improve performance
(Dr Alish Rodgers : 2012)
Managing Anxiety
Even when students are predisposed to anxiety, they can
learn to manage it more effectively
(Dr Alish Rodgers 2012)
The ‘FRIENDS’ Acronym
Remember to Relax (have quiet time)
I can do it! I can try my best!
Explore Solutions and Coping Step Plans
Now Reward Yourself! You’ve done your best!
Don’t forget to Practice!
Smile! Stay calm!
Oxford Dictionary
 Ability to overcome adversity; achieving positive outcomes
regardless of life events or circumstances
It is important to:
 Normalise emotions
 Recognise that emotions vary across cultures and age
The Theory Behind the Friends
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Behaviour Theory
Our response to an event is based on our environment or the
experience itself
CBT Theorists
We respond to ‘cognitive representations’: ie we respond to how we
think about an event rather than to the environment or to the event
“We develop a characteristic way of making sense of events and
responding to events based on our cognitive structures”
The ‘Friends for Life’ Research
 Building resilience
 Assisting students cope with anxiety
 Supporting the emotional and well-being needs of
students in NBSS partner schools.
 (NBSS Research: 2012)
Research Project
 14 Post-primary schools
 Geographical spread
 Single sex and co-ed student populations
 First year cohort
 2 Schools: universal approach
 12 Schools: Small group approach
‘Friends For Life’ Training
42 Teachers from the 14 schools trained:
(Guidance Counsellors, SPHE, BSC/BFLT teachers)
 Day 1:
CBT Overview
 Day 2:
Accredited Facilitator Training Day
 Day 3:
Programme Day
(outlining the national project and core sections of the programme)
 Training delivered by NEPS/NBSS (an accredited trainer in
the Friends programme).
Screening Tools
 Spence Children's Anxiety Scale
( SCAS: Spence 1997)
 Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale for Parents (SCAS-P:
Spence 1997)
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires for
students their parents and teachers
(SDQ, Goodman 2001)
• Administered by Dr. Alish Rodgers
Programme Outline
 Session 1: Introduction to “Friends for Life”
 Session 2: Understanding our own and other
people’s feelings
 Session 3: Listening to our body clues, relaxation
 Session 4: Understanding self-talk: helpful (green)
thoughts and unhelpful (red) thoughts
 Session 5: Challenging unhelpful (red) thoughts, coping step plans
 Session 6: Role models and support teams, 6 stage problem
solving plan
 Session 7: Rewarding ourselves
 Session 8: Practising the skills learnt in friends for life
 Session 9: Using the friends for life plan to help ourselves and
 Session10: Review and party
Works best when___
 Each student has a workbook
 Implemented weekly
 Facilitators model the skills taught in the programme
 Flexible, fun and creative
 Parents involved in homework activities
 Encourage practice of skills
 Whole school support
Research into the ‘FRIENDS’
Programmes in Ireland
Primary School Research – Crosbie et al (2010)
Second Level School Research – Rodgers (2010)
Second Level School Research – NBSS, NEPS, SPHE (2012)
National Research Project 2011/2012
• 14 schools nationally (2 schools - universal format; 12 schools
- small group format)
• A significant anxiety reduction was found following the
‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme (as measured by both students
and parents)
• A significant anxiety reduction was found with both universal
groups (p=.01) and small groups (p<.000)
• In addition, students reported a significant reduction in their
overall stress, emotional stress, peer difficulties, behaviour
difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity difficulties
following the completion of the ten session programme
Anxiety Results: Student
Anxie ty
Se paration Fe ars of
Anxie ty
Fe ars
O bse ss. Ge ne ralise d
C ompulsive Anxie ty
Student Voice
What activities did
you like best in the
‘FRIENDS for Life’
‘Pizza Back Massage’
‘Drawing how to relax’
Coping Step Plans
‘Coping step plan’
‘Step and cope plan’
‘Overcoming our fears’
Family Activities
‘Homework and relaxing with my mam’
‘My family and I sat down to play a
feeling game’
Student Voice….
“We got to know others in the class,
we said things we wouldn’t normally say,
I loved the relaxing exercises
I even went home and showed my gran how to relax!”
Student Voice
How did the
‘FRIENDS for Life’
help you?
‘It makes you closer to your family,
they help you cope with things better’
‘It helped me because I can do it at
home with my mam and my family’
Red/Green Thoughts
‘I put green thoughts in my head to
make me feel better’
‘I now know that I am in charge of my
Coping Skills
‘When I get annoyed I now relax and
explore my solutions’
‘I feel more confident and staying in my
house by myself is not a bother
Teacher Voice
“The children love to talk about their
happy thought for the week. One of the
students had a lovely story about how
doing her “Friends” homework helped to
bring herself, her mother, her step-father
and step-brother together.”
Teacher Voice
• “Boys got opportunity to learn language – emotional literacy.
Raise issues. Articulate their experiences e.g. pressure of going
out with girls. Pressure of school. Gave me huge insight into
world of 12/13 years. How streetwise but innocent.”
• “Students seemed more confident as the programme ran. More
at ease in each other and teachers’ company. Students’ physical
demeanour changed – better eye contact with teachers, initiated
conversations…One student would physically shake when you
spoke to her, now seemed less stressed – smiled more.”
• Of the 27 teachers who completed the “Teachers’ Review of
Programme” document… all stated that they would recommend
the programme.
 Ten sessions
 Double class if possible
 Trained facilitator
 Positive environment
 Parental involvement
 Consent
 Booster session

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