WHY IT MATTERS
Adolescence is a time of significant change and development – a time when we question who we are, and how we relate to each other and the world around us.
The next generation of Australians face unique challenges. Things like – the expanding use of social media, delayed transitions to independent living and the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression ever reported by an adolescent population.
The health and wellbeing of young people not only affects their immediate quality of life, but it also shapes the future health of our broader society. Young people who are unable to make a smooth transition into adulthood can face significant difficulties and barriers, in both the short and long term.
Regardless of the size or nature of the challenge a young person might face, Reach believes that everyone should have the self-efficacy and support they need to fulfil their potential to achieve.
“Reach normalises the grief and anxiety of growing up and, in doing so, inspires young people not to be spooked by the emotion of it all, but to dream and to hope for one’s own destiny.”
John Urbano, Psychologist
This process of development and discovery can be both challenging and confronting, but the safe spaces – created by Reach – inspire and support participants to courageously connect, and to take on this journey of self-discovery.
Independent research confirms that Reach helps young people “improve self-esteem and gain a greater sense of control over their lives” (Pallant, 2005).
Our Theory of Change
Our theory of change combines a range of humanistic and psychological theories, with established and bespoke engagement techniques, and a highly-specialised facilitation process. When it’s applied in our workshops, this formula can result in positive outcomes for young people.
A hand-picked range of humanistic and psychological theories and models are combined in Reach’s work, including:
- The Hero’s Journey (and the power of storytelling and narrative);
- Psychodrama Methodology;
- Rogerian (humanistic relationship) Model;
- Existential Psychotherapy;
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy;
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming; and
- Positive Psychology (specifically models of Positive Youth Development).
Established and bespoke techniques to engage participants and support their process of change, including:
- An “Everyone is Welcome” policy applied within safe and non-judgmental spaces;
- Challenging comfort zones and expressing honestly to build connection;
- Theatrical and relevant stimuli – we engage with pop culture and reject clichés;
- Peer-to-peer role-modelling, where young people inspire and support other young people; and
- A discreet safety net of wellbeing professional to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all young participants.
The cycle of beliefs and behaviours reflects a common human experience:
- An event is experienced as ‘negative’ and may affirm a pre-existing ‘negative’ belief;
- Protective layers are created which serve to shield us from being hurt/ shamed/ vulnerable again;
- Behaviours are developed that further perpetuate the original ‘negative’ belief and experience;
- This cycle of beliefs and behaviours tends to be repeated until the pattern is interrupted and ‘positive’ beliefs are created (to replace the old ‘negative’ ones).
Reach’s specialised facilitation process attempts to interrupt this pattern. Reach Facilitators use a sequential process of listening, reflecting-back and enabling:
- Listening beyond ‘the story’ a young person is communicating, and instead hearing the underlying beliefs which may be at the heart of their experience. Listening without judgment and empathising unconditionally is critical;
- Reflecting-back to the young person their intrinsic strengths and potential; and finally,
- Enabling young people to recognise their strengths for themselves and supporting them to take action to achieve their goals.
Reach aims to support and inspire young people to experience one or more of the following outcomes:
- Recognition of unique strengths;
- Improved self-awareness and efficacy;
- Strengthened resilience;
- Enhanced emotional and social skills;
- Improved levels of self-esteem, optimism and mastery.
Urbano, J. (12 May, 2010), Within Reach: An examination of its psychological underpinnings, its potential and its Safety Net, internal document.
Pallant, J. (2005), The Well-Being in Young People Study, Unpublished Research Study, Swinburne University, VIC, Australia.