My Magical Garden is the basis of a technique that provides support and relief for children with anxiety, grief and challenging behaviour. It works in two ways; firstly, as a book on its own and secondly, as the basis for an Intervention Program and/or Guided Imagery Session
As a book on its own, it helps to identify the emotional needs of a child and offers a fun, easy and non-invasive communication tool. The book is designed to help children understand and talk about their feelings. It guides the child through a series of choices allowing them to build a magical garden which empowers them to feel in control and to navigate through challenging situations. Additionally, the book provides an informative tool for parents or carers by offering them insights on how to help the child emotionally.
Secondly My Magical Garden is a foundation for an Intervention Program, Workshop or Individual Session to be administered by a trained practitioner. During the session, the child is invited to create a safe place through the use of Imagination, Mindfulness and Guided Imagery. The children create an imaginary Magical Garden which provides an emotional safe place and once established they are provided with techniques that will help minimise anxiety, stress, pain or difficult feelings.
The three main ingredients of the technique are:
Imagination plays a number of important roles in mental health and can reduce anxiety and challenging emotions when used in a positive way. The imagination is very powerful. What a child thinks and imagines determines how they react to events in their lives. Since our brains can’t distinguish between real events and imagined ones it is a great tool to help promote relaxation and calm.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. It is about taking notice of how you are feeling. Slowing down and focusing on the present in an easy and relaxed way. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly available in schools.
It’s a relaxation technique that uses positive mental images to influence how you feel. It is a mind body intervention that involves the five senses. It can quickly calm the body and simultaneously relax the mind.
In recent decades, there has been a rise in the scientific attention into the benefits of mindfulness. The number of randomized controlled trials involving mindfulness has jumped from one in1995?1997 to 11 from 2004?2006, to 216 from 2013?2015.
A 2018 study conducted by Dr Joy Weydert into the benefits of Guided Imagery on children with Recurrent Abdominal Pain showed that a 67% reduction in pain was experienced during therapy. The trial concluded that the use of relaxation along with guided imagery is an effective and safe treatment for childhood Recurrent Abdominal Pain.
Holmes Research in 2009, suggests that the use of positive imagination in our day to day life can reduce anxiety, increase positive affect, and be a buffer against depression
My Magical Garden and its associated techniques provide benefits for the child, parents and the School. For the child, the garden reduces anxiety by providing a safe mental and emotional space. It will improve emotional wellbeing as the child will feel supported and this will increase their resilience and capacity to manage their emotions. Really importantly, it will provide the child with a means to communicate their feelings to parents and School staff, and therefore build a closer connection with their care provider.
The benefits for the parents are similar, it gives them a way to support and understand their child and creates a stronger connection with the care provider. For the school this closer connection helps to give a better understanding for the child’s fears and anxieties leading to a calmer environment.
The Magical Garden and associated techniques harness the child’s imagination in a positive and powerful way. It reduces the reliance on technology and screens to provide a distraction, but instead reconnects the child with their inner imagination, empowering them to learn how to help themselves. The book and techniques reduce the child’s sense of isolation by providing a fun communication tools to allow them to discuss their fears and concerns with their parents and the care providers. The Magical Garden provides a low cost, highly transportable and easy to learn technique to significantly reduce anxiety in a School setting.