BEST Kids™ Group Therapy Program
BEST Kids™ is an evidence-based program supporting kids in Building Essential Skills Together (BEST).
- Building – over the time together, learning, practicing and building new skills
- Essential – the essential social skills of communication and relating, which are seemingly compromised in our modern, technology-centric world
- Skills – we practice developing these essential ‘skills’ of trust, empathy, problem solving and effective communication
- Together – the program takes place in a group setting where kids are amongst and supported by their peers in a strengths-based environment.
The aim of the program is to help children develop skills to be their best selves and live their best lives. It’s not about kids, bullies or their behaviour being ‘bad’. Instead it considers, ‘what does a good role model look like?’ and ‘how can we be one?’. Through the program, kids are supported to understand that they can be empathic, they can be a good friend and they can be a good role model and are taught the skills to achieve it.
The goals of the program are to help kids to:
- Build emotional awareness and learn how to identify their emotions and needs
- Explore their empathic nature and express that part of themselves
- Understand the difference between negative and positive behaviours
- Decrease negative behaviours and increase positive behaviours
- Build better interpersonal skills and improve relationships with their peers and families
- Develop skills to improve their skills to communicate their needs effectively
- Learn to be appropriately assertive, without aggression or intimidation
- Improve their confidence and learning outcomes
- Be a good role model
The 6 X 1 hour sessions include:
- Emotional Awareness
- Managing Emotions
- Effective Communication Skills
- Positive Friendships, Empathy and Sharing
- Positive Leadership
- Resolving Conflict
How the BEST Kids™ Group Program was created
The program was developed by Christine Harding as a result of her years working with teens within the juvenile justice environment. Christine found that her observations over the years working in juvenile justice, secure welfare and more recently schools, matched her research; most young clients presented with difficulties in social and communication skills. They often appeared unable to read social cues and body language, and showing difficulties in self-expression and how to effectively and appropriately have their needs met. As a result, Christine noted that young clients often became aggressive and used inappropriate ways to articulate their needs. Similarly, some clients presented as passive, depressed or anxious due to deficits in effective communication or assertive skills. Clients presenting with these issues required support to develop the skills to assist them make better choices.
Christine’s research highlighted that bullying programs within schools largely appeared inadequate in addressing these issues, lacking the necessary content for prevention, rather than cure. After spending time in the education environment, Christine realised the tremendous pressures involved in addressing bullying and associated behaviours by teachers and the in-school psychologist (if there was one), supporting potentially 500 students! A better approach was needed; hence BEST Kids™ was born.
The BEST Kids™ Group Program approach
The BEST Kids™ Group Program is a safe space for children to learn and practice essential social skills. Participants are provided with tools such as emotional awareness, understanding and communicating with others, empathy, respect, and how to manage strong emotions.
The group format and facilitation of the program means that every child is equal. Passive and aggressive children come together in a non-hierarchical setting to practice empathy and sharing. The kids are there as a part of the team and learn to problem solve together, reforming the relationships between them in a more positive way.
Group participants are encouraged to become aware of their emotions, identify triggers to strong emotions and develop more appropriate strategies to assist. The program provides a number of worksheets which children work on together in group session but importantly take home to share with parents and caregivers to provide them with further support in the future.
The program was piloted at St Kilda Primary in 2018 and 2019 with positive feedback.
The program will be both run in schools and from the practice.
BEST Kids™ FAQs
The BEST Kids Group Program runs from our practices in Hawthorn after school or Saturday mornings during school term and at regular times during school holidays. Please contact us to find out more and book your place.
If you’d like us to run this program in your child’s school during the school term, please send us a message via the link below and share this page with your contact at the school.
The group format and facilitation of the program means that every child is equal. Children come together in a non-hierarchical setting to practice empathy and sharing. From the outset, the participants are encouraged to be part of a cohesive group, developing their own group rules, learning to problem solve together, communicating with others that may be have different views or circumstances.
The B.E.S.T. Kids program has benefits for all children.
No. You only need a referral if there is a Medicare rebate and Medicare benefits are not usually available for group sessions, unless there is a specific diagnosis from your GP.
The B.E.S.T Kids program is 6 payments of $100. A total of $600.