Our podcasting Program Counsellor, Daniel Davis shares a comprehensive guide to solution focused therapy and narrative therapy, and how his professional background guides each session as a Raise Counsellor
I have been working with Raise since the beginning of 2021. Before this, I worked with youth as an outreach counsellor and also produced and hosted a mental health podcast for over 2 years. The Raise Program is a wonderful fit for my approach, as I want to positively impact people through connection, communication and support, and this program encourages me to empower youth and mentors on their journey through life.
Recently one of the mentees in my program had been struggling with anxiety. Her mentor suggested that it might be helpful to repeat a positive mantra to herself when she is feeling anxious. Each week I bring in a jewellery making kit for our sessions, and one week this student’s mentor decided to create a bracelet that said “BRAVE”. The mentee was ecstatic to receive this during the session and we have since seen her wearing this bracelet on multiple occasions. It serves as a gentle token and reminder for the mentee to let the problem be the problem.
How to not get caught up in ‘problem’ dominated conversations:
I utilise techniques from solution focused therapy and narrative therapy. These approaches encourage problem free conversations, externalising the problem and finding exceptions to the problem. As parents, mentors, friends and colleagues we sometimes get caught up in problem dominated conversations – problem free conversations can free up space for people to talk about topics that aren’t related to the problem – this can reduce the power of the problem, open up opportunities to talk about problem free topics and model boundaries.
Externalising the problem can be extremely powerful as it helps people realise that they aren’t the problem, the problem is the problem – this can help people take away the blame from themselves and take some power away from the problem. An example of this would be:
“how long has the anxiety been around for?”
“how long have you been struggling with anxiety for?”
This subtle rephrase can help bring some personal power back to the person experiencing the anxiety. It can bring some awareness to the anxiety being something that is interacting with someone’s life but isn’t everything that defines their life.
Helping young people to be heard, empowered and encouraged
Mentoring through Raise is extremely beneficially for the students, mentors, schools and wider communities. The mentors are modelling some crucial skills and life lessons to the students that they might not be receiving from elsewhere. The mentors encourage – safe, non-judgmental, fun and supportive spaces for students to explore their desires, concerns, goals and barriers. Mentoring creates an opportunity for students to be heard, encouraged and empowered – this can have a roll-on effect for their self-esteem, social connections, schoolwork, help seeking behaviours and resilience.