Finding peace after the EHCP process, a calm lookig scene of the future

Finding Peace After the EHCP Process: A Guide to Emotional Recovery

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The Emotional Aftermath of the EHCP Process

Successfully navigating the EHCP maze is a monumental achievement, but it’s not without its emotional scars. The relief of concluding the main part of the process, as in getting a plan published is often the end of the beginning of the process. From this point forward, the child is supposed to be equipped to access an adequate education, that was after all the goal of this, right?

The emotional weight of past challenges can cast long shadows well past the point of achieving a favourable outcome, especially if the battle to get this far was particularly challenging. Can we just draw a line under what went on before and move on?

When a battle with the SEN system, comes to an end, individuals often go through that can encompass a range of emotions and mental states, from relief to ongoing stress, and is influenced by several psychological concepts and theories. Here are a few relevant psychological sources that describe what happens after such a battle is over:

  1. Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG)
    PTG refers to positive psychological changes experienced as a result of struggling with highly challenging life circumstances. In the context of battling with the SEND system, individuals might develop new personal strengths, experience improved relationships, or gain a deeper appreciation for life. For example, a parent who has navigated these challenges may find they’ve developed greater resilience or advocacy skills.
  2. Cognitive Dissonance
    Cognitive dissonance is when you believe two opposite things at the same time and it feels uncomfortable. Imagine you always thought the school system was fair and helped every student succeed. But then, you’ve had to fight hard with the system to get the necessary support for your child with special educational needs. This struggle makes you feel conflicted because your experience doesn’t match your belief in the system’s fairness. It’s like if you believe eating chocolate every day is bad for you, but you eat it daily because it makes you feel good. You might start feeling uneasy because what you do (eating chocolate) doesn’t match what you believe (it’s bad for you). To reduce this uncomfortable feeling, you might change your belief to “Eating a small amount of chocolate daily is healthy. Have you ever tried to tell your story to a parent of a child who does not have any specific SEN, in other words, as far as everyone is aware, a neurotypical child? Their belief system of the education system may not quite match the experience you are describing, your description of the head teacher, is not quite the same as their engagement.
  3. Stress and Coping Theory
    According to Lazarus and Folkman’s Stress and Coping Theory, stress is a result of an individual’s perception that the demands of an external situation are beyond their coping abilities. After the battle is over, individuals might undergo a period of assessment and reassessment of their coping strategies and resources, experiencing relief if they perceive that they no longer have to fight against overwhelming odds, or continued stress if the outcomes are not as expected or if the battle has depleted their resources. We often hear feedback where a ‘win’, which we should always be guarded to call any outcome in this process a ‘win’, is not quite what it seems after the dust settles. At some point, the push for adequate education for the child will need to find a natural endpoint.
  4. Learned Helplessness
    Developed by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven Maier, learned helplessness occurs when an individual believes that they have no control over their situation and that whatever they do is futile. After engaging in a difficult struggle with the SEND system, some individuals might feel a sense of helplessness, especially if their efforts seemed to have little impact on the outcome. Overcoming this mindset requires recognising instances of effectiveness, even in small victories. It is in these areas, the need for parents to seek 1-to-1 therapy may be at its greatest demand.
  5. Resilience Theory
    Resilience theory focuses on the positive capacity of individuals to cope with stress and adversity. This perspective might highlight how individuals bounce back or even thrive after the stress of the battle is over. For parents and caregivers navigating the SEND system, resilience might be seen in their ability to recover from setbacks and continue advocating for their children’s needs.

Each of these psychological sources offers a lens through which to understand the complex array of emotions and mental states that can follow an intense battle with systems like SEND. Whether individuals experience growth, reassessment of beliefs, stress and coping, feelings of helplessness, or resilience, these frameworks provide insight into the psychological processes at work.

3. Therapy and Personalised Support:

Therapy can be a transformative tool for siblings, offering them a space to understand, process, and navigate their emotions.

  • One-on-One Therapy Sessions: Reach out today using the contacts on the sheet

Exploring the Potential of EHCParent 1 to 1 Therapy

Navigating the EHCP process can be a tumultuous journey, and as it concludes, many find themselves at a crossroads, seeking ways to process and move forward. One avenue that has shown promise for many is Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy (CBH) therapy. As someone who has personally traversed the EHCP landscape, I can attest to the emotional challenges it presents and the potential benefits of therapeutic interventions.

In the nurturing environment of CBH therapy sessions, we collaboratively explore the emotional aftermath of the EHCP process. We sift through the layers of stress, anxiety, and residual feelings, recognising the resilience that has been a constant companion throughout the journey. By connecting past experiences with current emotions, we aim to craft a narrative that fosters strength and clarity.

CBH therapy offers tools and techniques to help reframe perspectives. Together, we address the emotional complexities that the EHCP process may have introduced. By confronting and understanding these emotions, we can transform potential roadblocks into stepping stones for personal growth. Tailored to individual needs, CBH therapy seeks to harness the mind’s potential, promoting healing, resilience, and a rejuvenated sense of optimism.

Guiding you through this therapeutic exploration, I combine professional insights with the depth of personal experience. Having navigated similar challenges, I appreciate the intricacies of transitioning beyond the EHCP phase. With empathy and a genuine commitment to well-being, I aim to provide a supportive space where individuals can delve into their post-EHCP journey, fostering a renewed sense of purpose and identity. For those interested, there are also therapists who specialise in working with young people, offering them a tailored approach to address their unique experiences and emotions.

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