In her blog, Dr Helen Bratton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist from the Interventions for Vulnerable Youth (IVY) service explains how we support young people, their families and those who work with them using a comprehensive, trauma-informed and holistic approach.
I’m Dr Helen Bratton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Interventions for Vulnerable Youth Project (IVY). I took up post with IVY in August 2020 following a period of working with adults and young offenders in prisons. Through my experience of working with multi-disciplinary teams and complex cases involving risk of violence and psychological distress, I found many cases could benefit from a comprehensive holistic assessment. Staff needed space to reflect on their experience with complex young people and to have the information pulled together, analysed and presented back in a format which would give a shared understanding and a way forward. There were no services in a position to offer this type of input within the establishments where I worked, which is why I was attracted to working with IVY.
IVY is a nationwide service offering multi-disciplinary guidance and support to people who work with complex young people aged between 12-18 who present with high risk behaviours and psychological distress. IVY is funded by the Scottish Government, hosted by Kibble and sits out with statutory bodies such as the NHS or Social Work. As such we are afforded an opportunity to provide innovative and flexible approaches to helping young people, their families and those who work with them. IVY has a team of highly skilled psychologists and social workers with extensive expertise in working with young people who present with high risk challenging behaviours. IVY is a free to access service which provides three tiers of input including consultation, structured professional judgement risk assessment and direct psychological interventions.
Consultations provide a space for staff to reflect and discuss their cases with guidance from IVY psychologists and social workers. We aim to develop a shared, psychologically informed understanding of the challenges within each young person’s experiences as well as the risk to themselves and others. Our approach is trauma-informed and integrative, taking into consideration the young person and the systems surrounding them. IVY is able to undertake comprehensive risk assessment and formulation for high risk cases to inform risk management for the responsible organisation. In a small number of cases IVY will undertake direct psychological interventions with young people or the staff groups who work with them. Ultimately, IVY aims to offer a service to promote a psychologically informed understanding of a young person’s difficulties to improve the outcomes for the child, and to enhance and encourage understanding from a trauma-informed approach of the adversities faced by vulnerable young people.