In an increasingly demanding and stressful working environment for our teachers, the Monaghan Education Centre has been looking for new ways to address teacher wellbeing. While in the recent past the focus has been on the wellbeing of students it has been increasingly obvious that many teachers feel that their wellbeing is often neglected and forgotten. The Monaghan Education Centre has set out, to seek solutions to aiding and supporting teacher wellbeing. Thus the ‘Carpe Diem’ Programme was established in partnership with the Monaghan Education Centre and led by Shane Moran, teacher, author and counselling psychologist.
This new and unique programme was designed by Shane to provide a pro-active wellbeing programme for teachers who wish to try new initiatives around wellbeing that will both benefit their own mental health and that of their students in their care. The programme has adopted the format from within the well-established framework of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, (Linehan, 1993). It is designed primarily to introduce new skills and tools for teachers who wish to develop healthy resilience and wellbeing in their lives. Secondly, it can provide a programme for teachers that can be used with individual students or small groups of students that have behavioural and emotional challenges in their lives.
Teachers from the Monaghan area have just completed their module one programme and graduated on the 2nd of April in the teachers centre. It proved a great success as many teachers have since expressed an interest to do the programme in the autumn. The teachers that completed the first module are delighted to move to the next phase and complete module two, which will be an advanced class. This will then enable those teachers under the supervision of Shane Moran to introduce it into their own schools.
This pilot programme through the Monaghan Education Centre, is absolutely unique and has not been tried before in an educational setting anywhere in Ireland or the UK. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy developed by Marsha Linehan (1993) is a unique treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and those with a history of self-harm and suicidal attempts. DBT works to develop the required skills necessary to make life worth living.
The theoretical underpinnings of DBT incorporate several treatment principals from behaviour principles, dialectical theory, and Zen practice. Behaviour therapy is based on that principle that maladaptive behaviours are learned either by observation, operant conditioning or classical conditioning. These treatments which includes elements of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), focused on helping individuals change their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. Of primary importance it was realised that the focus on ‘change’ is not enough, there needed to be a balance between ‘acceptance and change’ and the ability for the client to hold on to both. This dialectical challenge underpins the therapy and skills modules of DBT. There are four main skills areas that need to be learned, the first, is emotional regulation, the second, is interpersonal effectiveness, the third, is distress tolerance and fourth, is mindfulness. In learning these skills, the practitioners will learn also about the concept of following and navigating the philosophy of the ‘middle path’.
Information on the Programme Facilitator
Shane Moran is a school chaplain, teacher, and counselling psychologist working in Cavan Monaghan ETB. He has over twenty-two years teaching experience and has been practicing as a counselling psychologist for over ten years. He has a small private practice in counselling in Monaghan where he works as an integrative therapist with individuals and couples.
Shane has immense experience working within schools dealing with traumatic events, he is the author of the book ‘The Clouds that Surround a School’ which is a practical aid for teachers and management when dealing with the trauma of a critical incident in school. His expertise is utilised by both CMETB and LMETB when a school experiences a traumatic event.
His final thesis which informs his work in ‘wellbeing’ was based on developing a Dialectical Behavioural Programme designed for adolescents with a variety of behavioural problems. It is a unique programme that is still used by many psychologists today in Ireland and the UK.
From this knowledge and his work with groups, he developed a unique programme that not only will address the wellbeing needs of the teacher but will provide the foundation for teachers to incorporate this programme within their own schools with students that have challenging behaviours.
The Education Centre wishes to congratulate the teachers that participated in this unique programme and look forward to this programme growing and developing for the benefit of teachers well into the future.