clinical child psychologist

How Trauma Can Result in Inspiration Leading to Positive Change: Dr. Tanya Bryon

“Our distorted perception of young people creates a self-fulfilling prophecy: why bother to try when you are told that you are a failure? Why bother to strive when your existence is seen as a nuisance?”

–Clinical Child Psychologist Dr. Tanya Byron

Dr. Tanya Byron, born to film and television director and nurse and model Elfie Corbett, is more than your average clinical child psychologist. Photogenic and media savvy, she was professionally trained in psychology at University College London, and University of Surrey and North London Collegiate School, University of York, from which she received an honorary doctorate in 2009. She was inspired by both her parents and the tragic loss of her grandmother, who was murdered by an addict when Byron was only 15. Her Ph.D. thesis was titled “The evaluation of an outpatient treatment programme for stimulant drug misuse”.
For 18 years, she world for the British National Health Service as a clinical child psychologist in the field of drug addiction and mental disorders. That extensive experience informed the popular television shows, Little Angels and The House of Tiny Tearaways. In addition to those shows, she collaborated with Jennifer Saunders in creating the sitcom The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle  for the BBC. Her media presence has extended to radio as well, including a program about psychiatry called All in the Mind.

Clinical Child Psychologist and Youth Advocate

In addition to her work as a clinical child psychologist, she is also an educational and political activist. She often advocates for young people and has expressed outrage over the fact that only 6% of the budget of the National Health Service is reserved for young people, despite being 25% of the population. She believes that adolescents and young adults represent 50% of mental health cases. In her view, money spent on early intervention can prevent chronic conditions that require costly long-term treatment from developing.
In a 2009 article written for the Guardian, she pointed out that society seems to have a fear of children, which she calls ephebiphobia, or the fear of youth. Her advocacy of youth includes calling for a more individualized educational system rather than one that encourages what she calls a herd mentality. Overcrowded classrooms can lead to mob behavior that increases society’s fear of youth. In her view, under the current system, nearly all young people could be classified as at-risk.


One Clinical Child Psychologist’s View of the Educational System

Ironically, in the view of this clinical child psychologist, part of being at-risk is the result of overprotective parents responding to media sensationalism and wanting to protect their children from dangers such as violent crime. Such protection comes at the cost of the risk-taking that is necessary to experience life fully. In an interview, she expressed concern that parents “are removing the possibility for children to learn how to be emotionally resilient.” She is equally concerned that the system rewards high scores on tests, which has the effect of preventing teachers from creating more innovative teaching methods and students from learning valuable independent thinking skills.

Due to these concerns as a clinical child psychologist, in 2007, she headed an independent review sponsored in part by the Department for Children, Schools and Family which researched the effects of internet and video games on children’s mental health. The results, referred to as the Byron Review, were published with the title “Safer Children in a Digital World” in 2008. Her advocacy for youth includes providing an educational alternative in the form of Edge Hill University, where she is a Professor of Public Understanding of Science, as well as serving as the school’s first chancellor. A patron of Prospex, North London charity which works with young people, she also partners in a media company. In her first book, The Skeleton Cupboard: The Making of a Clinical Psychologist, published in April of this year, she recounts many of the most interesting cases she has encountered during her career.

A New Age of Enlightenment

One of the most interesting things about Ms. Byron is that, even as a clinical child psychologist, she questions current definitions of sanity and insanity in light of recent social trends. For example, in addition to questioning the effectiveness of the current educational system, she also believes that litigation and paranoia abound in Western society. Further she questions the wisdom of only rewarding “success´, for which society bestows high marks to students and money to adults, when failure is often a much better teacher. In her view, risk-taking is the key to both personal growth and positive social change. As humanity moves from the industrial to the technological age, positive change is something that many of our institutions are in need of if we are to make a successful transition into a new age of enlightenment.

clinical child psychologist

February 3,2016  |

education of parenting styles

Can an Education in Parenting Styles Actually Improve Parenting?

“The rearing of the child must become a process of liberation by methods which shall not impose ready-made ideas, but which should aid the child’s natural self-unfoldment. The purpose of such an education is not to force the child’s adaptation to accepted concepts, but to give free play to his [and her] originality, initiative, and individuality”.

–Alexander Berkman

Mothers’ Experiences with Education of Parenting Styles

Julia Grant’s 1998 book, Raising Baby by the Book: The Education of Mothers, provides an overview of the education of parenting styles throughout modern history. Rather than hearing from the experts, though, we hear from mothers who took the experts’ advice and what they experiences as a result. Through interviews with a diverse group of mothers from a wide variety of economic and ethnic backgrounds, we are able to see the actual impact of the education of parenting styles on their everyday lives.

Since there is so much conflicting advice among those dedicated to the education of parenting styles, parents have become more discriminating consumers of professional advice. Most no longer follow such advice to the letter, but adapt it to their own circumstances, or sometimes, choose to ignore it completely. However, since parenting is probably the most difficult, and most important, endeavor that anyone can undertake, there will likely never be a shortage of new literature on the education of parenting styles to choose from.

The Role of Education of Parenting Styles in Determining Social Policy

Many people believe that parenting skills should be taught in school. One article in the Guardian, described a government program called Save the Children, designed to provide free parenting classes for anyone with a child under five years of age. Researchers will be studying the results of such programs. One of the reasons for the government instituting parenting classes is the belief that improved parenting will reduce social unrest manifested in behaviors such as rioting. Such behaviors in response to difficult living conditions created by economic inequality are increasingly being attributed to poor parenting free sample pack.
According to children’s minister Sarah Teather

“We want parents to be able to seek help and advice in the earliest years of their child’s life and for this to be a normal part of family life.”

The program is being piloted in areas experiencing a high degree of economic deprivation. Octavius Black, the founder of one of the courses taught in the program, believes that parenting skills can be taught. However, he also believes that sensitivity is required when initiating such programs because “challenging someone’s parenting skills is one of the strongest challenges to their identity”. High levels of participation in such programs is only possible if providers present the programs as a way to help parents build on their strengths, rather than shaming them for their weaknesses.

The Role of Education of Parenting Styles in Abuse Prevention

According to the Brookings Institute, in the U.S., there are more than 3 million investigations of child abuse each year. From those investigations, 800,000 children are identified as abused or neglected. For more than 1,500 children each year, the abuse and neglect is severe enough to result in death. Those deaths are usually attributed to parents overwhelmed by a sense of failure.
The institute points to research that demonstrates that parenting classes can not only reduce abuse and neglect, but can also save money. The offer statistics which prove that spending a relatively small amount to provide free parenting classes can save costly therapy and incarceration in the future. In addition to improving child development in terms of academic and social achievement, good parenting also results in reducing child mental illness and teen pregnancy.

Three such parenting programs have been tested in studies and were found to improve parenting outcomes. The first program, called Parent Management Training (PMT) uses a science-based approach, utilizing everything science has learned about parenting. The second program, used with families involved with child welfare services is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). This intervention program is the only one that requires parents to show competency in a variety of effective parenting skills to successfully complete the program.

The third program, developed in Australia and employed in a large-scale trial at the University of South Carolina, is called the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program. The program was found to reduce child maltreatment and the number of out-of-home placements. It was calculated that these programs resulted in real savings of $3,427 per family, a figure which did not include potential future costs of health services directly related to abuse. The cost of the media portion of the program cost less than $1.00 per child, and the costs of training service providers to host the classes was calculated at a modest $11.74 per child. In addition to government programs, there are also a number of helpful online parenting classes.

Perhaps one of the most important components of parenting classes is the support system that parents are able to develop with other parents while attending them. Being with people facing similar challenges teaches parents that they aren’t alone.

education of parenting styles
Maternal Cares, Color repro. of watercolor by Maud Humphrey Maud_Humphrey

January 11,2016  |