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The Reflective Journey: Available now!

Updated: May 16, 2019

A practitioner’s handbook to the low arousal approach, written by Studio 3 CEO Professor Andrew McDonnell, is now available to pre-order from our website.

Professor Andrew McDonnell’s new practitioner guide really is a reflective journey. A strong theme throughout all of the chapters is that we must look at our own behaviour first in order to manage highly stressful situations. We spoke to him about what to expect from the upcoming publication, and the meaning behind the book’s title.

INTERVIEWER: Tell us a little bit about why you wanted to write this book.

ANDY: The book is actually something I’ve wanted to write for years. I’ve written an academic book on the low arousal approach and actually a lot of my colleagues - Bo Hejlskov Elvén, Linda Woodcock, Andrea Page – they’ve all written excellent practitioner books on low arousal and I kind of felt a bit left out. My hope is that this book will be there for frontline workers. It’s really focused on parents, staff in schools – anyone who supports a distressed individual. It also applies to a whole range of different areas, not just people on the autism spectrum. It’s really about how we apply low arousal in practice.

INTERVIEWER: Who is the book for?

ANDY: I think it’s for quite a wide audience. I mean, certainly, professionals will be able to read it. I don’t believe in this concept of saying a book has been ‘dumbed down’ because I think it’s really insulting, but it is written to have a broad audience, including family members who may not have a professional background in behaviour management. Professionals should be able to pick it up and say, hopefully, ‘There are some quite useful things in here I can do around crises management, and also look at how I can apply these things in my work’. Certainly, family members should find it useful, for example people with siblings who are distressed in some kind of way, who experience these kind of high arousal cycles. I’d also look at it for some of our trainers, in their own organisations and in-house, as a kind of practice guide for them. They often ask us questions such as, since low arousal was developed as a concept, where is it now? What I have told people over the years is that low arousal is as much more about reflective practice, i.e. US, than it is about them, the people we are supporting or working with.

INTERVIEWER: What is the meaning behind the title of the book?

ANDY: The idea behind the term ‘reflective journey’ is that it should be a book that people can dip in and out of. They can do self-assessment reflective exercises, and it should make them think a little bit more about how they can become an even better practitioner. For some people, they may need to be thinking that maybe there are some skills they need to develop further.

The Reflective Journey: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Low Arousal Approach is now available to pre-order on our website! Deliveries expected to start in June.


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