Key Ingredients to the work…

The team have been reflecting on the ‘key ingredients’ that helped to make our work with excluded and marginalised young people successful. 

One thing that stood out to us was ‘thinking together’.

What is thinking together?

Thinking together is tool used in Adolescent Mentalization-Based Integrative Treatment (AMBIT), and has been adopted by all MAC-UK projects. It is a structured process by which one team member helps another to mentalize and make sense of a problem or difficulty during a time of stress, or when they’re not quite sure what to do next. It goes like this:

1. Marking the Task – We mark the conversation out as a ‘Thinking Together’ discussion, (e.g. “Can I ‘think together’ with you for a minute”) and define the task, or the desired outcomes for the conversation.
2. Stating the Case – Then we try to state the ‘bare bones’ that need to be communicated. Just enough information to complete the task!
3. Mentalizing the Affect – We describe “what this is like for me, here, now… what might be going on for X and Y…”. We always mentalise the worker first, which will help them to mentalise others better.
4. Return to Purpose – Finally we bring the discussion back to the decisions that need making here and now. This way we make sure the conversation has been helpful.

Check out the AMBIT ‘tiddlyspace’ page for lots more helpful information on thinking together:

A team culture of ‘thinking together’

We use this structured approach to sharing dilemmas and helping each other think in our work at MAC-UK on a regular basis. Often it only takes a few minutes, and has really helped us to feel connected and supported by each other.

As we got talking, we realised that we do not just use ‘thinking together’ as a tool, but also as a way of working. In a recent discussion we felt this was demonstrated by a culture in which drawing on colleagues for support, taking time to think, and ‘not always having the answer’ was normalised. Take a look at the presentation below to hear more from the IDP team members directly…