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Background to the Pack

The Solihull Approach was first developed in Solihull in 1996 by joint working between Health Visitors and Psychotherapists. The approach was initially designed for Health Visitors to work with families with children with feeding, sleeping, toileting and behaviour difficulties. The Solihull Approach has developed further and is now used by a wide range of professionals from different agencies to work with families. The Solihull Approach Model provides professionals with a framework for thinking about children's behaviour that develops practice that can support effective and consistent approaches across agencies.

The development of the Solihull Approach grew out of practice and case discussions and the theoretical model emerged slowly over three years. An Italian psychiatrist, Scavo, M.C. (2000) writing in the WAIMH (World Association of Infant Mental Health) newsletter stated that work with infants and young children requires the use of several theories at once.

The Solihull Approach illustrates this. It integrates concepts from different areas; Containment (Psychoanalytic theory), Reciprocity (Child Development) and Behaviour Management (Behaviourism). The relationship between two of these concepts, containment and reciprocity, has been explored in a paper, Douglas, H. (2002) Containment and Reciprocity. International Journal of Infant Observation, 4 (3), 29-47.

The Solihull Approach provides a framework for thinking about and working with the relationship between the parent and child. We think that containment and reciprocity are the nuts and bolts underpinning attachment, which give a theoretical focus for practical interventions.

Containment describes the process of processing anxiety and emotions so that the ability to think is restored. One practical aspect of this is that the professional actively listens and puts the story together with the parent, before attempting to give any advice or behaviour management. Reciprocity focuses attention on the attunement between the parent and child, enabling the professional to then work with this aspect of the relationship.

The principles of behaviour management are necessary, but these are used later in the process so that they are customised together with the family and are created within that unique context, which seems to make them more effective.

It is a brief intervention model used by professionals in their individual work with families. In addition it has also been applied to developing and delivering a wide range of groups and interventions, including antenatal and postnatal, parenting, healthy eating, peer breast feeding training and longer-term work.

The packs

The Solihull Approach has several resource packs designed for professionals to use in their work with families, to deliver training or run a parenting group.

Both the Solihull Approach Resource packs The First Five Years and The School Years are written for a wide range of professionals. They contain material that explains the theory behind the Solihull Approach and how it relates to practice as well as leaflets that professionals can use with families.

The Training the Trainers manual is designed for professionals who have received Solihull Approach training and plan to cascade the Solihull Approach Training to colleagues in their local areas.

The Solihull Approach Parenting Facilitators Resource pack is available together with one-day training for professionals who would like to run a Solihull Approach Parenting Group.

The Solihull Approach team have also developed a Training the Trainers Pack Resource Pack for Parenting for professionals who have received the one day Solihull Approach Parenting Facilitators training and would like to cascade the training in their local area