Watch out Bristol, something furry this way comes!
Meet Limbic the dog, he is the star of a brand new series of children’s books aimed to help children in Bristol and across the country with positive mental health.
Created by Bristol based TV Producer, Therapist and now children’s author Naomi Harvey, the hope is Limbic will be a text used both in schools and homes to encourage children aged 5-8 to get a better start in being able to talk about emotions.
The ability to communicate feelings and to develop and practice skills to deal with stressful times, is vital to young children growing up in an increasingly strenuous and unstable world.
The advent of constant access to social media, potentially frightening news reports and pressures from popular media such as magazines and TV, have led to a society which is seeing an alarming increase in anxiety and depression.
More worrying still, is the impact on children as young as 4 who are reportedly showing signs of stress and mental health concerns. Reports show that 1 in 10 primary aged children are battling some form of common mental health problem.
We need more education in schools to not just raise awareness of mental health issues but to arm children with the tools they need to promote positive mental health so they can prevent needing help in the first place and certainly to stop them growing into teenagers who develop more serious mental health issues.
Naomi is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist practicing from the Practice Rooms in Clifton Village.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is an excellent tool for children as it is integrative so it draws from many aspects of therapy from CBT to Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience. The best part of solution focused therapy however, is it relies on a lot of fun, interactive and resourceful ways of changing negative behaviours and thought patterns. These lend themselves perfectly to the creative and imaginative minds of children.
The main focus of SFH is understanding how our brains work- which can be tricky for a child. So Naomi has designed a set of characters, each of whom represent a different part of the brain.
Limbic the dog of course represents the Limbic system- responsible for our emotional responses when under threat.
“The reason I chose a dog was because we can change the way our limbic system reacts by using positive rewards- this is the same as training a dog- only instead of giving our brains doggy treats we need to practice positive thoughts and behaviours that release a chemical treat such as dopamine.”
The books themselves are standalone picture books- however, they are accompanied by lesson plans for teacher and a parents workbook. The hope is both teachers and parents can use the characters to help children understand their brains and how and why they feel emotions. The idea is not to stop your inner dog reacting altogether, the idea is to get to know that dog and train it to know when it is and isn’t appropriate to react that way.
The hope in the future that this could expand into much more pocket Limbic’s that children can practice mindfulness with but right now I am simply trying to get the first book published and into schools and homes.
Naomi is self publishing and the project will be donating a percentage of every book sold to the charity Mind. If you would like to support the book as a local business or would like to enquire how to purchase a copy personally- please email Naomi at firstname.lastname@example.org