Argyll and Bute's Educational Psychology Service: Mental Health Resources

Argyll and Bute's Educational Psychology Service

Seasons for Growth

Children and Young People’s Programme

An innovative grief and loss programme that uses the imagery of the seasons to illustrate the experience of grief. The programme was first developed 20 years ago and has been revised and updated to incorporate new evidence and ensure that it continues to provide relevant and valuable experience for participants. Please note, Seasons for Growth does not provide counselling or therapy.

What does it do?

Seasons for Growth aims to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people (aged 6-18) who are dealing with significant life changes by:

  • Exploring the impact of the change and loss on everyday life
  • Learning new ways to respond to these changes

Who is it for?

Anyone who is living with the effects of change and loss. Many factors can cause change such as:

  • Friends can come and go
  • Loss of someone or something you love
  • Parents and families separate
  • Moving to a new place
  • Impact of illness
  • Family work-life changes
  • Bereavement

Change affects everyone differently, as does grief. It’s the impact of the change, not the event itself that Seasons for Growth focuses on.

How does it work?

Seasons for Growth is a small group programme that combines psychology and education with peer support, within a person centred learning approach. It uses the metaphor of the seasons to explore the cyclic nature of grief, and is underpinned by William Worden’s tasks of grieving. The Children and Young People’s programme contains developmentally appropriate discussions and activities. Seasons for Growth normalises participants’ experiences and can increase protective factors (including building personal resilience and social skills) while minimising some risk factors (including isolation) that influence mental health and wellbeing. The programme also supports the development of communication, decision making and problem solving skills.

How is it delivered?

The programme is run over 8 sessions with small groups of 4-7 participants and is facilitated by trained adult ‘Companions’. The participants are provided with a safe space to learn, share and reflect and are supported by richly illustrated participant journals. Companions may be school staff or other suitable adults who have undertaken a two-day training workshop and receive subsequent accreditation from Seasons for Growth to deliver the programme.

Outcomes

Seasons for Growth provides support and space for children and young people to:

  • Learn about how different people respond to change, loss and grief
  • Understand that it is normal to experience a range of grief reactions
  • Explore new approaches to dealing with change, loss and grief in their lives
  • Build communication, decision making and problem solving skills
  • Participate in a supportive network of peers and adults
  • Integrate their new learning into their relationships with family, friends and others

Evidence

Seasons for Growth has been evaluated extensively over the last 15 years. The most recent research was also conducted in Scotland. Helpful reviews are:

Newell, S., & Moss, A. (2011). Supporting children and young people through change, loss and grief: An evaluation of the Seasons for Growth program. Report prepared for Good Grief (Australia).

Riley, A. (2012). Exploring the effects of the ‘Seasons for Growth’ intervention for pupils experiencing change and loss. Educational and Child Psychology, 29(3), 38.

Robertson, N., McPherson, K., Murray, D., Montgomery, A., Shaver, I., and Gardner, A. (2017). ‘Improving health and wellbeing for children and young people who have experienced loss, change and bereavement’. Educational Psychology in Scotland, Vol 18 pp 2-5.

Training

Children and Young People Programme Companion training is delivered over two days. The training can now be delivered online and we are able to offer this training for free for staff within Argyll and Bute, please note there are costs associated with buying manuals and journals. Please discuss with your Head Teacher and contact Psychological Service if you would like to be trained as a Seasons Companion

Some quick resources 

A Guide to Self Care and Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty

Bereavement Support in Schools

Children and Grief Factsheet

Young People and Grief Factsheet

 

 

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