As a team coach at Team Academy, a school for entrepreneurship, I have the opportunity to deal with youngsters on a daily basis. I love to work with them, often after a conversation with these students I feel fully energised. Also however, sometimes I leave with a feeling of frustration, not being able to help them move forward. If I only new how to support them to take the mental barriers they come across. For sure these blockades are not new, the students bring them, when they start, to Team Academy. That made me thinking about their childhoods. Talking to people and reading books I finally ran into a book called Attachement in Psychotherapy, which I belief may contain some of the answers.

This book is written by a clinical psychotherapist, David Wallin. He is inspired by John Bowlby, Mary Main and Peter Fonagy. His line of reasoning is this: we learn mainly by our attachment to and interaction with others. Until the age of 3 we have only our reptile brain and limbic system to work with, which means we have no way to judge what we experience. We just swallow everything we experience without question. At the same time, already 42 minutes after we are born, our mirror neurons start firing. The first 2 years of our lives we learn exclusively by copying behaviour of the attachment figures around us. During this period the basic blueprint of our brain is being made, which mostly will remain the primal drive force of our behaviour the rest of our lives. As these experiences are pre-linguistic they cannot easily made conscious and therefor those mental models are really tough to change.

There it is, quite depressing. 80% of the people will transfer exactly this blueprint to their children again some 30 years later. Why could the 20% change? Looking into that makes things more hopeful. The main 4 answers are:

–        by building new secure attachment relationships in which new behaviour can be experimented with,

–        by learning to mentalize, that is being able to reflect on mental models on which behaviour is based,

–        by learning to live mindful, learning to live in the moment and to perceive behaviour in a non judgemental way.

–        by prentending & playing, it turned out that kids could learn to mentalize much quicker if play was used as a tool

The container we have build at Team Academy should allow especially that. Secure relationships within your team and joint reflection. In the past we may not have spent enough energy on mindfulness, but also that is currently changing. Clearly for a goal I have set for myself is to foster that environment. Want to know more? Lets talk about it or even better read the book: Attachment in Psychotherapy by David J. Wallin.

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