Cute BoyBenefits of Reflective Network Therapy

Reflective Network Therapy helps children achieve:

  • Greater receptivity to giving and receiving affection
  • Increased vocabulary and improved communication skills
  • Reduction of symptoms and mental health improvements
  • Access to their capacity for empathy and empathic expression
  • Ability to think about their own feelings, wishes, beliefs, behavior, and expressions, and those of others
  • Greater understanding of self and others
  • Improved sociability
  • Increases of appropriate engagement in interactive activities
  • Greater capacity for impulse control
  • Transformation of behavioral symptoms into dialogue and play
  • Positive behavioral changes
  • Reduction of resistance to learning
  • Ability to develop and sustain focused attention
  • Statistically significant rises in IQ.
  • 95% of IQ testable children have sustained IQ rises

Practices and techniques which reliably produce these positive outcomes include:

  • Intensive psychotherapy takes place exclusively within the learning and play activities with a psychotherapist working in the classroom, making it possible for the child patient to get therapy multiple times per week.
  • The high frequency of psychotherapy sessions with Reflective Network Therapy, the high frequency of the child’s exposure to psychoanalytic interpretations and participation in specialized reflective network techniques results in significant improvements more rapidly than with other methods.
  • Intensive interactive collaboration between the teacher and therapist team in the classroom on each child’s behalf informs and enhances the work in each professional’s domain.
  • The child experiences the interactive teamwork of the adults in the reflective network as a small world of more people who care about and focus on her or him more of the time, powerfully promoting feelings of being important and being supported in interesting ways. This is especially true when the child witnesses and participates in structured briefings multiple times each school day.
  • A mixture of developmental abilities and behavioral characteristics can be accommodated, including some children who are treated for preventive purposes, such as in response to bereavement or other presumably major traumas.
  • Rather than isolating the child for psychotherapy, RNT actively includes the child’s peers in the classroom, providing at least a few thousand opportunities for the therapist to witness and address sociability and communication issues over the course of one year of treatment.
  • Short 15-20 minute psychotherapy sessions are bracketed by briefings which are therapeutic, and their power is cumulatively amplified by the high frequency of both the briefings and the therapy sessions. Briefings, debriefings and the sharing of real experiences probably exercise mirror neurons, modeling, stimulating, and exercising empathy, thinking, and verbal as well as nonverbal meaningful communication.
  • During psychodynamic briefings and in daily 15-20 minute psychotherapy sessions, on the spot interpretations of the child’s expressions and behaviors by the therapist are possible in the child’s real life space of the classroom precisely because the method is truly interdisciplinary, conducted exclusively in the midst of the learning, play, social interaction and behavior of a preschool classroom, with teacher-therapist-parent collaboration.
  • During psychotherapy, the therapist in the classroom verbalizes for the child what the child patient is doing and his own reflections about what the child may be thinking or demonstrating with verbal or nonverbal expressions, raising the child’s awareness and promoting the child’s own mentalizing. The therapist also verbalizes her/his own reflections about the child’s feelings and behavior.
  • Interpretations, briefings and debriefings are all made in the child’s here and now of the classroom. Children’s resistances to education, refusal of affection, and inhibited or inappropriate socialization or behaviors are interpreted for the child immediately, making the work more impactful for and more meaningful to the child.
  • Reflective Network Therapy is a fully inclusive method, such that all the peers in the classroom contribute to the reflective network, and their positive and negative contributions become the material for therapeutic work with each child patient. Peers quickly accept that the child patient who is the index child of a therapy session has the say about who gets to participate; they know they will have their turn soon and that they will be gently asked to attend to another activity if they can’t accept an index child’s refusal of their participation.
  • The RNT method uses follow-up testing for an objective gauge of mental health changes and cognitive development at regular intervals. Rather than needing to rely upon anecdotal reports or previous testing and psychological evaluations, the teacher has not only the current diagnostic psychological, mental health and cognitive test results, but also the benefit of the psychotherapist’s input in the classroom, plus regular 90 minute conferences with the psychotherapist to discuss the child patients’ current status, needs and problems.

General strengths and advantages of reflective network therapy:

  • Parents get significant support and share insights, including during weekly guidance conferences with the teacher and monthly conferences with the child’s psychotherapist.
  • Siblings of severely disturbed children have been also been helped by Reflective Network Therapy. Emotionally healthy foster children and children of staff have also been welcomed into RNT classrooms.
  • RNT reduces children’s ongoing psychological damages in situations of domestic stress and helps prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • It is a proven method for seriously emotionally disturbed and/or pervasively developmentally disordered young children.
  • RNT is more cost-effective than methods commonly used; approximately one sixth of the usual costs for treatment of autism are needed when using RNT.
  • RNT helps children during and after catastrophic events. The method can be focused as psychological first aid using a derivative of Reflective Network Therapy based on the RNT manualized Personal Life History Books. The PLHB method employs psychoanalytically informed guided activity workbooks to help trauma-impacted children of any age.