Changing Cultures:

Studio 3’s Systemic Approach

Studio 3 was founded as an organisation to support people in crisis over 20 years ago, our approach has developed into a focus on ‘culture change’ and the development of wellbeing.  Our approaches challenge people and cultures.

Here are seven key  components of our approaches to supporting people (more information here).

1) We provide a ‘systems’ approach to all of our work.

2) We support organisations to develop a clear and coherent approach to reducing restrictive practices.

3) We aim to develop a reflective approach to learning.

4) Our staff focus on implementation of positive practices on the ground not just in the classroom.

5) We passionately support the human rights of individuals. All. Of our work is driven by these values.

6) We are driven by evidence based approaches and as such our training and other models of supports adapt to the latest research.

7)  Studio 3 training in physical interventions focusses on teaching as few physical interventions as possible.

Dr Wendy Lawson

Autism and Atlass

We provide generic training in developing an understanding of autism spectrum disorders and challenging behaviour.


Specifically the Atlass programme for Autism was developed by staff at Studio 3, to provide a wellbeing based approach to supporting people who may have behaviours of concern.  The approach encourages people to be positive and focus on building resilience, answering the key question ‘how can I reduce stress in this person and their environment?’


Dr Andrew McDonnell developed the low arousal technique in 1994.  This approach is now a world wide care standard suitable for Children and Adults.

Our Values in Practice

Some case studies of Studio 3 work in action – for a full range of example cases see ‘our clients‘ in the ‘about us’ section.


Studio 3 Europe

What is Studio 3 ?

Studio 3 was founded by Andrew McDonnell in 1992.  The aim was to provide both training and clinical consultancy services.

Who do we support?

We provide a range of supports for children and young people, older adults, intellectual disabilities, autism, acquired brain injury. Our services are not just UK based. We are an organisation with a worldwide focus, in Europe we have programs in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Republic of Ireland and Sweden. Worldwide we have developing programs in Australia, Canada, Israel and South Africa. We also support not for profit collaborations in Greece and Malta.

What do we do?

We are specialists in supporting individuals with a range of behaviours of concern.  These include, the  management of physical aggression, Self Injurious Behaviours (SIB), trauma and abuse, both with children and adults, self harm and autism.

Our Vision

We promote cultures that focus on wellbeing. We help to create a safe and restriction free world where people can live fulfilled and meaningful lives.  Reducing  restrictions is not just about training, it is also about changing cultures of organisations.  So what does this mean in practice; see OUR VISION.

Studio 3 is not just for training, we are actively campaigning.

Our philosophy is unreservedly non aversive in nature. We operate within a person centred model of support. Our practitioners focus on developing wellbeing approaches for a whole range of issues.

In the next 5 years we aim to develop specialised  programmes in a number of fields, including: adult mental health, children with ADHD. Currently, we have developed an international programme in the field of autism see Atlass.

Clinical Support Services

We consult with many services across Europe. Our work  is specialised and covers children and young people, intellectual disabilities and autism.  The overall ethos to our approach is humanistic in nature.  We work with issues ranging from stress management to self harm and physical aggression.

Training, Coaching and Training the Trainers

We use a stress management framework.  We adopt a low arousal model not just in terms of de-escalation but, in terms of how we apply physical interventions.  We make our training realistic.  We recognise that for our model to be sustainable, we need to train trainers for organisations

Lessons learnt from Winterbourne following Panorama TV documentary

The abuse of service users by staff at Winterbourne View has been a reminder that such practices can occur in any organisation and indeed any country.  Andrew McDonnell the Director of Studio 3 was involved with original documentary …

African project proves the benefits of the Studio 3 approach.

Dr. Nashareen Morris on Studio 3 …

 The adoption of the low arousal approach as taught in the Studio 3 systems curriculum at our facility has improved the lives of thee adults with ID and special mental health needs that still remain in our hospital ..

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