The relational approach - an overview

Inaura's relational approach is a unique way to look at behaviour and understand what promotes satisfying and sustainable relationships even under adverse conditions. Whilst behaviour management (which is taught during initial teacher training and through a plethora professional development courses) by it's very nature, seeks to change the behaviour of another, the relational approach seeks to enable others to change their own behaviour.

Through learning how to use the relational approach, the practitioner can identify ways to create a context within which the other person without coercion, and of their own free will, decides willingly to do the very thing that the practiioner wishes them to do, whilst also building stronger relationships through trust and understanding. There are four key aspects to this way of working: using non-coercive techniques, applying restorative approaches, building relationships of change, and enabling personal empowerment.

We successfully use a relational approach throughout Inaura School. This means we:

  • see all behaviour (whether 'good' or 'bad') as functional, communicative and meaningful;
  • seek to identify the immediate and hidden needs being expressed through behaviours and respond to them quickly and creatively;
  • address the underlying emotional agenda;
  • explicitly invite the young people in our care to see themselves as voluntarily participating in a shared endeavour;
  • promote personal responsibility, with high levels of accountability and support.

This approach needs a profound and holistic human perspective, because each relationship is unique. Nurturing a relationship with someone who has poor interpersonal skills requires an energy and a creativity which only come with authenticity, presence and humility.

The relational approach can be applied to children and young people with attachment difficulties or developmental disorders, or those who have been abused, neglected, traumatised or badly parented. Inaura's relational approach has been tried and tested over many years in the context of work with the most disaffected young people such as runaways, youth offenders, those with multiple school exclusions, diagnoses of disorder, extreme poverty and children in care. 

It is amazingly successful. It is also a pleasure to adopt the approach, relieving the practitioner of much that is tedious and dispiriting in conventional 'behaviour management'. The approach works because the practitioner aligns themselves with human motivational dynamics which have proved adaptive in the evolution of social relationships.  

We believe that this approach is what makes Inaura unique amongst other schools working with young people who would otherwise be disengaged with the learning process

Inaura is also able to provide training in the Relational Approach to individuals and schools.