Project Description

NVR- Non-Violent Resistance

NVR- Non-Violent Resistance

The Parents, Guardians and communities who care for young people whose behaviours are dominant, powerful and are destructive to themselves and others. Behaviours can be attributed to anxiety, gaming, non-school attendance or school refusal, crime, sex, drugs, or disorganised attachment patterns between adults and young people. This can be delivered in either a group (Multiple Families) or with individual families. The group is designed parents, guardians and communities caring for young people from the age 10 years.

Non-Violent resistance or NVR for short is an approach working with the parents, guardians, schools and communities caring for young people who are powerful, oppressive and destructive, and relationships are breaking down as a consequence. The author of the approach, Haim Omar (Psychologist), developed NVR from the principles of Ghandi and Martin Luther King who developed mechanisms to reduce violence and oppression through peaceful means. Throughout NVR approaches used by Ghandi and Martin Luther King can be seen. The words ‘Non-Violent Resistance’ are a tribute to these pioneers of anti-oppression. Haim Omar combined these anti-oppressive principles with systemic theory and attachment theory to develop the NVR Approach with young people and their families, schools and local communities.

NVR adopts the principle ‘It takes a community to raise a child’ and that stable relationships are pivotal in reducing destructive behaviours; therefore NVR aims to stabilise the relationship between young people and their families, schools and communities. Reconciling relationships, valuing young people, increasing adult presence, naming the problem as the problem, parents taking charge when necessary, young people becoming part of the solution, and accessing support from a family’s social network are all key aspects of the NVR approach.

NVR is growing in popularity across the UK (and the world) in working with young volatile people with some impressive results. NVR is highly effective when young people who make threats of suicide and self-harm as a way of maintaining power and control, child to parent and sibling-to-sibling violence, damaging property, crime, drug addiction, sex, school refusal, class room violence and frequent school exclusion. NVR is also proving effective when used with young people presenting with ‘gaming addictions’, and associated aggression and violence’. There is also an emerging evidence base highlighting the effectiveness of NVR for young people who are not attending school due to anxiety, in this situation NVR is enabling parents to re-connect with their children and enable parents to regain parental influence with the child-parent relationship.
Through the process of improving family, community and school relationships, NVR is proving effective in improving self-worth, mood, anxiety and confidence for young people and their families.
In London and Birmingham NVR has become a powerful and effective approach when extreme radicalisation and far right extremism is an issue. In these cities there are examples of schools, PREVENT, health and local communities working collaboratively to improve the lives of young people and communities. The Birmingham Women and Children’s’ Hospital, Tavistock and Portman and The Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are delivering NVR groups with positive results within the child and young person’s mental health services.

NVR can be used with individual families and in groups. I have used it very effectively with individual families and their educational and social network. Delivering NVR in a group format also has many benefits to families and communities; including group participants becoming their own therapists where support, advice, collaboration can be gained.

Training to deliver NVR is required with the exception of trained systemic and family psychotherapists.

I deliver NVR on 1:1 bases and in groups. The eight week programme takes the following format.

Initial phone call or face-to-face meeting with families explaining what NVR is and what is required in the context of family commitment. A therapeutic contract is created.

• Session One: Commitment to NVR, Goals and De-escalation skills
• Session Two: The Support Network & Externalising the problem
• Session Three: Increased parental presence
• Session Four: The Announcement
• Session Five: Acts of Reconciliation
• Session Six: Refusing Orders and breaking Taboos
• Session Seven: The Sit In
• Session Eight: The NVR Review meeting/ Programme end meeting.

Each Group lasts for 1.5 hours. Groups 1-7 are delivered at two weekly intervals. The final session is delivered one month after session 7.

All families are seen individually where a therapeutic agreement/contract is made prior to starting the group. Here the group is described, discussed and expectations are made clear; this includes: parent(s) will attend all of the sessions, and parent/guardians of a young person will work collaboratively and adhere to the homework tasks. In a group format all parents will also be required commit to the NVR group process and maintain confidentiality for all group participants. If adult to child abuse is identified this will be discussed confidentially with parents. This may result in NVR treatment stopping and child safeguarding process implemented to maintain the safety of all children and young people.

To evaluate the success of the NVR programme I use three methods of evaluation. Firstly SCORE 15 is used to measure family functioning at the therapeutic contract stage. This enables families to identify their priorities, what they would like to be different, and crate a base-line measure in family functioning, communication and well-being. The measure is repeated at the end of the programme to evaluate change.

The Parents Session Feedback Form is a session by session measure. This helps to identify how useful each session is, and enabling families and I to address difficulties at the earliest opportunity.

The Parents Course feedback form is used to evaluate parent’s experiences of the programme; this is used to evaluate the delivery and informs future courses. This measure is delivered at the end of the programme.


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