Our Approach

The coaching, self-development approach that we take at Entrust Associates:

The Entrust approach is a coaching style aimed at developing capacity and resilience in the young people that we work with.  Whilst understanding the young person’s experience is primary, most importantly we work dynamically and actively with young people to develop the ability to understand themselves, to take greater control of their thought processes and the feelings that drive their behaviour.  

Many young people are stuck in negative cycles of unproductive behaviour which they feel compelled to repeat, despite the painful consequences it brings, often without knowing why.  The most common answer given when asked what motivates this behaviour is ‘I don’t know’.  Feeling out of control of their own emotions, thoughts and lives, is a major cause of depression, despair, low self-esteem, anger issues, non-compliance, marginalisation and loneliness in school and at home.

A schoolgirl shouts at her teacher and then bursts into tears, a young man kicks a chair across the classroom, another schoolgirl reveals cuts on her arms and legs, and a boy sits in the corner never making eye contact or taking off his coat.  All of these young people share a common problem: being overwhelmed by their thoughts and feelings.

Our approach, based on the concept of ‘mentalization’, is aimed at helping young people make sense of their difficult thoughts and feelings and at stopping the cycle of conflict, self-harm, or misery which gets triggered by intense emotions.

‘Mentalization’ is based on cutting edge research led by Peter Fonagy and Mary Target at UCL/Anna Freud Centre which shows that the ability to mentalize, or to understand one’s mental states and the mental states of others, is key to emotion regulation. All young people struggle to regulate their emotions because the brain structures responsible for this task are still developing. Some children are at particular risk of not being able to mentalize due to insecure attachment, or the absence of attuned early parenting, which has disrupted the development of neuronal structures for social cognition. Trauma can also affect a child’s brain structure and their ability to self-regulate.

Regular mentalizing experiences in the form of a therapeutic, coaching relationship aimed at self-development can help build the necessary structures and skills to enhance emotion regulation. Our approach focuses on establishing a strong empathic relationship with the young person. We use various techniques - based on art, conversation and play - to help young people understand their own states of mind and to understand what others may be thinking and feeling as well.  In this way we help them re-connect with themselves and with others around them, enabling them to better engage and concentrate in school, and to make productive choices for themselves in their school and home lives.

We are positive and cooperative in our approach with schools, aiming to work in a way that maximises the school’s aims for their pupils, and in a pro-active manner that raises aspirations in the young people that work with us.

Click here to read out measurable outcomes.

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