Therapeutic Approach

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Psychological and Clinical Services at Spark of Genius.

Psychological Services
Many of the young people Spark of Genius looks after have experienced rejection from previous carers or placements and have great difficulty in attaching, trusting and relating appropriately to others. Spark has a commitment to stand by these young people through their difficulties and work with them and others to transform their lives.


Dr Holmes is registered with the Healthcare Professions Council ( and maintains professional links to a number of clinical psychology colleagues, both in the NHS and private sector including Mr Tommy Mackay, a specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorders in young people. She regularly trains psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and counsellors on a wide range of psychology topics and teaches doctoral level clinical psychology trainees.

Depending on the needs of each individual young person, our psychological support can include any combination of the following components:

  • Psychological assessment
  • Care plan development
  • Court and other reports
  • Team around the child
  • Support for schools
  • Direct therapeutic work
  • Behaviour management
  • Skills training for staff
  • Liaison with CAMHS
  • Clinical oversight
  • Risk assessment
  • Team consultation
  • Family work
  • Outcomes monitoring

Clinical Services
Spark of Genius recognise that approximately 80% of young people who are being looked after and accommodated are affected by substance misuse (source: Hidden Harm). In a response to this and in conjunction with Scotland’s strategies towards both illicit drug misuse and alcohol misuse, Spark of Genius have developed a service that facilitates strategies for both the recovery and harm reduction of the young people whom we support and look after.

Within the field of substance misuse there is recognition that we must move on and develop a broader more encompassing approach to substance misuse. It is in direct line with the recovery agenda within the national drugs policy, that Spark of Genius has developed this service.

The key Priorities of the service are:

  • Better prevention of drug/alcohol problems through educating our young people on drug awareness, misuse, risk and associated harms.
  • Identifying the risks faced by young people affected by parental drug/alcohol problems and working intensively with them to reduce these risks.
  • Supporting the young person on their own recovery journey
  • Work together with the young person towards the goal of them returning to their communities better equipped to lead positive, healthier lives.

Recovery Orientated Systems of Care (ROSCs) are person centred and draw upon what bests meets the need of the individual. The service will allow us to develop and deliver ROSCs that are based upon assessments, made WITH the young person, of what the needs of the young person are and how they can best be met.

Central to our service and way of being is a collaborative rather than prescriptive way of working.  We recognise that in order to support a young person on this journey we have to explore and develop the young person’s perspective on change.  It is through this exploration of the capacity for change that we will aim to evoke change and support the recovery journey of the young person.

Therapeutic Approach – Every Second Counts
Experience in the residential sector in particular has shown that simply containing vulnerable young people is relatively easy. The challenge is to provide a healing therapeutic environment which introduces a different belief system for these young people. These beliefs about themselves others and the world can transform the inner thinking of the young people and consequently impact positively on their behaviours. This transformational change is effected through staff expertise in the use of the Every Second Counts (ESC). Staff are trained in ESC which incorporates theories including Rogerian counselling, NLP Change Theory and Positive Attribution Theory. Put more simply everyday interactions at the park, in the car or in the supermarket become opportunities for dynamic change in possibilities for a young person. The creation of a therapeutic environment where young people can learn to trust themselves and others effectively promotes long term change in the lives of these disrupted and vulnerable young people.