Our Therapies

The THRIVE Approach.

What is THRIVE?

THRIVE supports children with their emotional health, well being and social skills, all of which are needed to enable learning to take place. Children cannot always put their needs into words, but the way children behave can tell us a lot about how they are feeling. For some children there may be an obvious reason why they need extra support. This might be due to bereavement, family break down or an identified medical condition such as ADHD. For others, there may not be any obvious trigger as to why they are finding some aspects of school and/or home life difficult.

The THRIVE Approach draws on the latest research from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development, in order to help us to understand the needs being signalled by children’s behaviour. Working with parents and class teachers, our THRIVE practitioner carries out assessments of identified children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs which help us to build an Action Plan of targeted strategies and activities to help children re-engage with learning and life.

The THRIVE approach is based on growing evidence that the brain develops through personal and social interaction. The relationships that we have with significant adults is fundamental to who we grow up to be. Our brain is built through trillions of brain-cell connections made by sight, sound, smell, touch and movement. Positive experiences enhance brain connections, and sustained negative experiences can restrict them. Through simple, repeated activities over time, within a safe and caring environment, THRIVE aims to compensate for interruptions in emotional development, when they affect a child’s ability to enjoy life and learn.

A THRIVE assessment helps us to identify emotional developmental needs as early as possible, in order to support and meet those needs on an individual basis. As well as offering new ways of dealing with challenging behaviour, THRIVE also offers both teaching staff and parents useful approaches to working with and helping any child who is experiencing emotional upheaval, whether short or long term. This is not a quick-fix; it  takes time and commitment to see results. However, from research it is clear that early intervention to support children’s needs is the most effective approach to preventing issues becoming more problematic in later life.

A THRIVE Action Plan is a plan of activities tailored to support a child’s identified social and emotional learning targets. The activities are one-to-one and small group play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about themselves; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and/or  be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks.

Activities might include playing in the sand, cooking, painting, model making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games or projects focusing on the child’s own interests. Action Plans are shared with parents who are encouraged to do some of the activities at home with their child. Action Plans are reviewed regularly to monitor the progress children have made.


If you would like further information on The THRIVE Approach, please  go to:  www.thethriveapproach.co.uk

Alternatively, you can speak to our schools THRIVE practitioners, Ella Gregory or Victoria Banfield


Speech and Language Therapy

SLT is integrated throughout the curriculum and our two in-house Specialist Speech and Language therapists offer support in class, on an individualised basis and at home.

 Please see our leaflet for more information

SALT Leaflet TMS


Music Therapy

Simon, our Music therapist works with students throughout the school with all age groups on an individual and small group basis.

We all respond to music, to rhythm and melody. Music therapy builds on this and uses creative music-making to support emotional, cognitive and social development, especially in pupils with a social and communication disorder and those on the autism spectrum.

A 2004 study from the Journal of Music Therapy found that music therapy used with children and teens with ASD can:
  • improve social behaviours
  • increase focus and attention,
  • increase communication
  • reduce anxiety
  • improve body awareness and coordination.
In music therapy at The Mendip School, some pupils have shown considerable musical talent and are becoming more self confident as they develop their skills.  Others have benfitted from being able to express strong emotions through the music, often resulting in a reduction of levels of anxiety or anger.  Other children have increased their level of communication, benefitting from the fact that music is a non-verbal language.  Aside from all these benefits, the young people just enjoy playing the instruments in the specially designated music room, and have fun!


Play Therapy 

Avalon works with us at the Mendip School and is a certified Play Therapist working at the school, she qualified with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy in 2015. She works individually with students across all ages within the school. Play Therapy uses a child’s most natural form of communication and learning – play – to support their emotional, social, and cognitive needs. Play and creative therapy has been found to create new brain connections through the use of metaphor, faster than any other form of communication, and can therefore support children who have experienced difficult or traumatic events, or struggle with their emotional regulation and safe emotional expression, to learn new and better ways to cope with their feelings and experiences.
In Play Therapy at the Mendip School children have used the therapy space to build their confidence in themselves, gain more understanding of their experiences, and become more self aware of their feelings and needs. It has also supported children to begin to be able to self regulate better through their day to day situations and interactions with peers. Children who have better regulation of their emotions are more able to learn and develop their cognitive abilities. For more information on Play Therapy, https://playtherapy.org.uk 

Art Therapy

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life” Pablo Picasso

Art therapy is a hybrid therapy interwoven by the disciplines of art together with psychology and psychotherapy. This form of intervention uses a creative process to support individuals in a treatment to develop self-awareness, explore emotions, address unresolved emotional conflicts, improve social skills and raise self-esteem. Art Therapy is a medium to address emotional issues, which may be confusing and distressing, and allows someone the opportunity to externalise their inner world within a safe and confidential space.

Art therapy at the Mendip School is provided in groups or individually, depending on the clients need. It is not a recreational activity, or an art lesson, although sessions can be enjoyable.

For progress to be made, and to address unwanted feelings and difficult issues, consistency is important. Therefore it is of paramount importance clients regularly attend their designated session, in order to build relationships with their therapist.

The Creative Process

Sometimes words are simply inadequate. Utilizing creativity, and working with materials can provide an alternative mode of communication to express emotions that are sometimes difficult to acknowledge or verbalise. Engaging in the creative process can foster self-regulation, reducing stress and anxiety together with encouraging insight and awareness.

Art therapy is an inherently enjoyable experience, and a powerful instrument that has the capacity to create meaning for an individual. It can provide new perspectives helping young people to build resilience, and provide a healthy outlet to promote psychological health and wellbeing.