The Happy Torch

A lovely example of using the analogy of a Torch beam for our conscious awareness to help a 5 year old feel happier at school. By Harriet Simpson, Speech and Language Therapist at the Language Tree.

“In my work as a Speech and Language Therapist, I work with many young children who have significant difficulties expressing their thoughts and their feelings. This can often lead to social isolation, and feelings of sadness.  Prior to starting my NLP studies, I could often feel ill-equipped to support these children’s emotional well-being.

I am currently working with a little 5 year old boy with significant sound production difficulties which makes it virtually impossible for the boy to communicate with adults and children in school.   He was becoming increasingly disengaged at school, and was becoming very distressed coming into school.  Staff, although trying to help the little boy, would ask him what was making him sad, which further focused his attention on all the parts of school that he was struggling with.

I talked to the teachers about the idea of the torch beam – how where we choose to shine our torch will affect how we feel. The teachers began to understand that, by asking about what was making him feel sad, this was focusing all his attention on the sad and the negative.  So we sent the little boy and the teaching assistant on a ‘happy walk’ around the classroom and the school.  He took his torch pictures with him, so that he could shine his torch on all the things he liked, and that made him happy at school.

The teaching assistant took pictures of the activities, people and places that made the little boy happy. The pictures were printed off so that the boy could use the book in two ways – firstly to look through if he was feeling sad, and secondly so that he could point to the picture of the place, person or activity to easily communicate to the adults what would make him feel happy.

This simple communication book has enabled the little boy to feel much more positive about school, and it has given him a way to communicate to adults what he’d like to do when he’s feeling down to make him feel happier. We still have a long way to go, but the little boy’s school experience is just a little bit easier thanks to his happy torch.”

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