The Thrive Approach is grounded in the current scientific developments in neuroscience. The field of neuroscience has undergone rapid advances in recent years, prompted by significant innovations in brain imaging. These have yielded important insights about how the brain and nervous system function and develop. In particular, scientists have discovered that the neural pathways of the brain and wider nervous system are relatively unformed at birth, undergoing much of their development during the first three years of life in response to relational experiences with primary care-givers. A key development during this period is the establishment of the body’s stress-response system. This lays the foundation for our social and emotional development throughout life, affecting our capacity to relate, love, learn and manage stress in healthy ways. However, research has also revealed the inherent ‘plasticity’ of the brain – its capacity to forge new neural connections in response to experience. The fact that the brain retains this property to a greater or lesser degree throughout life means that where brain development has been less than optimal, it remains possible to intervene at a later stage to fill the gaps.
In the Thrive Approach we build on these insights to offer a way of working with children and young people that supports the optimal development of their brains and nervous systems. Furthermore, where the nature of children’s early experiences mean that they have not developed a good enough stress-response system and therefore find it difficult to relate or learn, we offer a structured way to provide the missing relational experiences in order to rewire their neural circuitry for more effective functioning.