Letter: A few more highways and byways to mental well-being

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IT WAS disappointing that educational therapy was not included in your Happiness Directory. It has been practised for the last 20 years, principally in England and Norway.

Many children express their extreme unhappiness by suddenly abandoning scholastic learning. Educational therapists work with children who have experienced the loss of figures of significance, by divorce, death or unexplained absences; are very depressed, or have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

There is some direct teaching, but there is an expectation of a developing awareness of unconscious behaviour using interactive educational games, stories, drawing, modelling or play acting. The therapist attempts to establish a secure base until the child begins to believe it can recover its "lost" learning and/or social skills.

Children of all ages and ability are seen, usually for one hour a week. Families are seen, at intervals of their choice, throughout. Links with schools are always made, with parental permission, and, when appropriate, social services, etc.

Muriel Barrett

Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset