Seasons for Growth Children and Young People's Program
The Seasons for Growth programs combine psychology and education with peer support, within a centred learning approach. Delivered in small groups, they use the familiar metaphor of the seasons to explore the cyclic nature of grief, and are underpinned by J William Worden's tasks of grieving. The four levels of the Children and Young People's Program contain developmentally appropriate discussions and activities, and the Adult Program guides adults through a safe, structured peer learning experience. The Seasons for Growth programs help to normalise participants' experiences of grief, and increase protective factors (including building personal resilience and social skills) while minimising some risk factors (including isolation) that influence mental health and wellbeing. They do not provide counselling or therapy.
Psychology & education working together: psychoeducation
Psychoeducation is not a type of therapy, but rather a specific form of education which helps people learn more about specific events and circumstances that may have occurred in their lives, and the potential range of ways that people respond to them. Seasons for Growth programs help people understand the experiences of change, loss and grief and how these can impact on a person's life. The programs also support the development of communication, decision making and problem solving skills.
The Seasons for Growth programs are peer based. Peer support is the social, instrumental or emotional support that those sharing life challenges or circumstances can provide to each other in reciprocal fashion. This support can be provided in formal or informal contexts.
Why peer support?
People can be healed by finding affiliation within an equal relationship with someone who has had a similar life experience Helping someone can be self-healing People can gain hope that change is possible through a process underscored by mutual sharing of their lived experience.
Person centred learning approach
Seasons for Growth programs use a person centred learning approach. This approach doesn't use specific group processes or position the facilitator (Companion) as the expert, but instead aims to create an environment where participants become aware of their own strengths and resources, and decide on their own solutions. Companions model empathy, understanding and acceptance in the group in order to empower participants to be true partners in learning.
Metaphor of the seasons
Seasons for Growth uses the imagery of the seasons as a framework to explore experiences of change, loss and grief. The contrasts between the four seasons, the changes in seasons from year to year and their cyclical nature are all part of the story of the seasons, and allow participants to learn and reflect on their experiences in a safe and familiar context.
Worden's Tasks of Grief
The four seasons are each linked to one of J William Worden's four tasks of grief (3rd edition, 2009). Worden's tasks were specifically related to bereavement. Seasons for Growth takes a broader view and brings the tasks into the context of people managing a range of change and loss experiences.
Developmentally appropriate activities
The Seasons for Growth Children and Young People's Program offers four age appropriate levels for children and young people. This ensures that participants are taking part in a tailored, developmentally appropriate sequence of activities and discussions with like-age peers.
Protective and risk factors in mental health and wellbeing
Research has shown that increasing protective factors, and minimising risk factors (or taking steps to minimise their impact) can promote mental health and wellbeing in children and adults.
Seasons for Growth programs help strengthen the building of personal resilience, coping and social skills, and increasing participants' sense of belonging; while also working to minimise risk factors including social isolation and lack of support networks.
Seasons for Growth programs are recognised as mental health promotion and prevention initiatives, and any participants requiring further support or intervention are referred by the facilitator to an appropriate source of assistance.