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A psycho-dynamic analysis of nurture and restorative practice: positive language and communication through relational approaches in school

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Rebecca Hibbin
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>The International Journal of Nurture in Education
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)54-65
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The importance of positive language and communication is often noted by researchers and theorists as being central to the success of approaches to behavioural management that have relationships at their core. However, what is practically meant by the taken-for-granted precept of positive language and communication is less well developed in the literature. This paper attempts to unpack the preconditions for positive language and communication in the context of nurture groups and restorative practice in school; to identify what it looks like in practice and how it has been evidenced in the research. Overall, a psycho-analytic stance is taken to link positive language and communication to well-developed theoretical principles, that help to unpack challenging behaviour and give practitioners a language with which to both understand and respond. In particular the notions of projection, reverie and the container-contained (Bion, 1963, 1965), and also the facilitating environment created by emotional ‘holding’ (Winnicott, 1945, 1956), have been examined in the context of practitioners’ responses to children’s often unconscious behaviours. The range of theoretical stances from both psychological and educational research have proved helpful in conceptualising the way positive language and communication can be understood in practice. It is concluded that more research is needed to further unpack this core and taken-for-granted element of helping children to manage their emotional lives in school.