Science and self-care via therapy and Internal Family Systems in the context of silence practices for schools

(1) * Helen Lees Mail (Independent Scholar, United Kingdom)
*corresponding author


This paper argues that whilst silence and solitude in schools are beneficial and therefore have therapeutic spirit in their health and healing potential, they are not enough. The paper argues we need to go deeper in schools into the inner lives of individuals for well-being and healing of anomalies for “happiness,” but it is imperative this drive involves consent. I suggest current urgencies never before felt around climate change exigencies require the significant, permanent transformation for the resolution of childhood and other traumas (common to all) inherent in therapy. This is new for education in the way I mean and I deal with concerns about the dangers of “therapeutic rise” in schools. The argument here responds to a climate emergency: we no longer live to be happy, but instead need happiness to survive our planet and all that unresolved traumas causes in the actions of humans against Others of all kinds. I argue the soft, “passive” benefits of silence and solitude for schools have received academic attention which has enabled them to move from fluffy, hippy-touchy-feely into the realm of evidence based practices, involving also a body of theory to support their just, ethical and appropriate use for child and staff in schools. These or this area of schooling intervention presents a case study for how the currently unscientific arm that is therapy in schools can be rendered scientific: within the science of education as discipline and according to the terms of that discipline as science. I present a model of therapy known as Internal Family Systems (IFS), which is currently developing its scientific basis, supported by academics and practitioner-professionals impressed by the outcomes towards well-being (in ways mentioned above required – along the lines of do no harm to self nor other) that this model affords. I suggest therapy in schools could occur well and with consent using this model given its democratic requirements of “parts” agreeing to the model in action and “parts” consent for the model to work being fundamental. A side issue of “spiritual bypassing” is explored as justifying therapy first, rather than silence and solitude as what I call “soft therapy”, seen as optional. I call for “vital” therapy specifically via IFS and its parts-Self modelling, which involves active talk rather than passive involvement, to be developed as science in and for education.


silence; solitude; schooling; climate change; Self; self-care; therapy; trauma; health; healing; equality, democracy, Internal Family Systems



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