Our approach to care at TerraGlen is informed by Attachment Theory.

We understand that each person’s early life experiences create their internal working model and that any attachment deficits impact on their development.

With age, cognitive growth, and continued social experience, each person’s internal working model advances in development and complexity. This process continues through their childhood and adolescence.

A secure base

Each TerraGlen centre provides a secure base for the people in our care through their relationships with our staff who are sensitive and responsive attachment figures, and care for the young people’s needs.

That secure base is crucial in helping each individual to:

  • trust others
  • develop social emotions
  • think logically
  • develop their conscience
  • cope better with feelings of stress and anxiety
  • overcome their fears and worries

As this secure base allows each individual to build secure attachments, they are better able to make sense of the world around them, self-regulate their behaviour and become self-reliant. In turn, this increases feelings of self-worth and supports each person as they strive to reach their full potential.

What is Social Learning?

Social Learning theory was developed by psychologist Bandura who identified that that human behaviour is developed through the continuous interaction of cognitive, behavioural and environmental influences. We learn new patterns of behaviour through observing others and seeing what happens to them & for them. This occurs alongside our own direct experience of our behaviour and the responses made to our demands. This is all within the context of the environment in which we live and ours/society’s beliefs.

Reinforcement principles have an important role to play in developing behavioural responses. We will not repeatedly engage in a behaviour if it does not meet a need we have, even though this need may not be obvious to others and we may not be consciously aware of this need. Behavioural patterns can become established over time, even those that may not appear to be helpful, as at some point they have satisfied a need that we might have. The process of satisfying a need, or reinforcement, ensures that the behavioural pattern is activated next time that need is present or there are similar triggers in the environment. Reinforcement increases the likelihood of a behaviour recurring through two mechanisms:

Positive Reinforcement: we gain something we need/desire as a result of our behaviour e.g. getting to spend time with staff, getting to do an activity we want, getting money, getting a sensation of calm or relaxation.

Negative Reinforcement: we lose something that was not wanted as a result of our behaviour e.g. we get some peace and quiet, we get rid of tension in our body, we don’t have to do a task we didn’t want to do, we get rid of a headache etc.

If we can understand the function of the behaviour and therefore identify the pattern of reinforcement it is possible to support changing the pattern of behaviour, when maladaptive, by introducing alternative means of meeting the new. This will take away the need to continue with the maladaptive behaviour. This takes time and consistent support as often it is undoing over learned behavioural patterns.

Punishment, in theory, reduces the likelihood of behaviour occurring. The evidence shows that punishment only creates a short-term behaviour change and is not effective in the long term. In addition, it is unethical and leads to feelings of anger/frustration and anxiety for those being punished. Punishment involves the removal/restriction of things that are wanted or desired as a result of behaviour (e.g. loss of mobile phone/TV access/no trip/deduction of money) or the introduction of things that are unwanted as a result of behaviour.

Punishment is not advocated due to the ethics and the lack of evidence for its efficacy. It is important to understand the principles of punishment as it can be easy to believe that “there needs to be consequences for bold behaviour” as this may have been our own experience of growing up, highlighting the interaction between our own experiences and our expectation for how others should be treated.

What is the Aim of the Pro-Social Model in TerraGlen? 
Pro-Social Modelling allows staff to support the development of skills (emotional/functional) in young people that facilitates adaptive and appropriate interactions within society. Supporting each young person to become self-reliant & happy allowing them to reach their potential, providing young people with the opportunity to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

What does the Pro-Social Model look like in TerraGlen (How do staff show they are working within the ethos of the Pro-Social Model?)? 

  • Respectful interactions between staff & residents, staff & staff, staff & members of the community.
  • Staff use language within written communication that is respectful of the residents.
  • Staff provide feedback to residents, both constructive and positive, to help build emotional literacy skills and to support developing an understanding of helpful means of managing situations.
  • Staff are punctual.
  • Staff commit to agreed activities with residents, knowing that they will honour that commitment (within reasonable and practicable limits).
  • Staff will provide honest feedback, providing alternative options, when plans need to be changed due to circumstances beyond the staff member’s control (e.g. hospital cancels appointments, vehicle breakdown, family cancels plan, social worker does not attend as scheduled).
  • Actively listening to the resident, being present with them and validating their experience (remember they will have a bias in the way that they interpret things)
  • Act as a role model for the residents and provide them with an opportunity to challenge and reshape their internal representations of how others are with them.
  • Being aware of how body language can impact on communication
  • Working collaboratively with the resident to support problem solving in different situations, to help build these skills for the young person.
  • Checking and clarifying that the young person has understood any requests/communication.
  • Naming the emotion that you think they might be experiencing and why, developing understanding.
  • Supporting the young person to explore different ways of expressing and managing their emotions, especially the more negative emotions such as anger and anxiety.
  • Supporting residents to develop adaptive skills to enable them to participate as a full member of society.

The Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) training program, developed by Cornell University, presents a crisis prevention and intervention model designed to teach staff how to help young people learn constructive ways to handle crisis. The ability of the entire organisation to respond effectively to young people in crisis situations is critical in establishing not only a safe environment, but also one that promotes growth and development. The skills, knowledge, and professional judgment of staff in responding to crises are critical factors in helping young people learn constructive and adaptive ways to deal with frustration, failure, anger, rejection, hurt, and depression.

TerraGlen’s social care professionals are all trained in TCI by our accredited trainers, with TCI refresher training taking place every 6 months.

How Does the TCI System Help TerraGlen?
The purpose of the TCI system is to provide a crisis prevention and intervention model for TerraGlen Residential Care Services that will assist in:

  • Preventing crises from occurring,
  • de-escalating potential crises,
  • effectively managing acute crises,
  • reducing potential and actual injury to young people and staff,
  • learning constructive ways to handle stressful situations,
  • developing a learning circle within the organisation.

For more information on the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) system, click here.