What is Protective Behaviours?

Protective Behaviours (PBs) provides a framework for personal safety, self-esteem, resilience and confidence building. It is an internal process where each person applies the ideas to their own unique experience including the following:

Our Protective Behaviours courses follow two key themes which will be covered throughout each of our courses and workshops.

Theme 1:        We all have the right to feel safe all the time

We carefully look at the connection between rights and responsibilities. We also take the concepts of blame and punishment out of commonly held ideas associated with responsibilities. Instead, we focus on the ‘ability to respond’ contained within the meaning of the word. The difference between having a responsibility for ourselves and to others is also examined. We explore feeling safe, the recognition of Early Warning Signs (EWS) and how feelings of safety are on a continuum. 

Theme 2:        We can talk with someone about anything even if it’s awful or small

This theme focuses on the ideas and effects of ‘talking’ and what might happen if we don’t. We encourage everyone to develop their own personal networks of support, those people they could turn to if in need. Desired qualities of network people are identified and we examine how we would know if someone has these qualities.

Unwritten Rules and Beliefs

Beliefs and Unwritten rules both have a powerful influence on our choices of behaviour. Whilst beliefs and unwritten rules can be positive and help to guide our interactions, they can also be extremely confusing.

As a few examples, children are told to do as adults tell them, men should not show their feelings and women should behave in a ladylike manner. These rules aren’t written down, often contradict each other and don’t fit with our personal experiences.

During training we look at their function, how they develop, their effects, whether they are helpful or not and how to change them if necessary.

Feelings, Thoughts and Behaviour

Our training courses look at the interaction between our feelings, thoughts and behaviour. We see that feelings are feelings and there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Some people may mask one feeling with another or use behaviour as a way of avoiding or covering feelings.

We look at how behaviour is a choice with an effect, usually affecting others as well as ourselves. Sometimes we do not know what our choices are, or they may be limited by factors we cannot change.

There are seven key strategies which are used to implement these themes and elements:

  • Theme Reinforcement – reinforcing the two themes including verbally and visually 
  • Network Review – constantly checking to ensure our networks are available and still fit our needs
  • One Step Removed – using a ‘third person’ approach for problem solving, to seek assistance or to check out someone’s ideas before making a disclosure. This might include role-play, videos or asking for help for another person.
  • Protective Interruption – any action we take to interrupt or halt any potential or actual unsafe situation, for instance, saying ‘no’ when someone is encouraging us to do something we feel is wrong.
  • Persistence – persisting in seeking help until we feel safe again and our EWS have gone. This includes seeking further help if our EWS return.
  • Risking on Purpose – deliberately choosing to take a risk when the outcome may be what we want or need, for example, going for a job interview or asking for help. It also includes remembering our responsibilities towards others’ safety.
  • The Language of Safety – re-framing our language into an empowering, non-victimising and non-violent format which is consistent with the PBs process.

Click here to find out about our Protective Behaviours training, workshops and courses.

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This course has been life changing for the parent I am working with and I’ve noticed her grow over the weeks.

Family support worker
Protective Behaviours Workshop

The most significant piece of learning was the work around The Language of Safety – tuning in, re-phrasing and becoming more aware. The course has raised my awareness of all areas of Protective Behaviours, how this will fit with our culture/ethos in school and alongside Restorative Practice approach.

Deputy Headteacher
Protective Behaviours Workshop attendee

The most significant thing I learned is to understand situations and I have the right to feel safe like the rest of my family/friends. I thought it was a well delivered course by 2 brilliant tutors who were calm, clear and supportive. Absolutely brilliant course and it’s made me aware that you can never stop learning about different strategies.

My Feelings Matter workshop attendee
My Feelings Matter workshop

I can talk better with my mum about my feelings. I told her I even enjoy the workshops because I feel safe to say what I want about my feelings. I like Matilda and mum’s getting me one for Christmas.

Child who attended Morris workshop
Morris workshop

The facilitators were wonderful, clear and to the point, amazing. I will use it every day to help children overcome their barriers to learning.

Primary Outreach Worker, Education Support Centre
Facilitator Training Course attendee

The most significant thing I have learned is that I’m not failing as a dad and that most people probably face parenting issues. I’ve now got skills to help me help my children.

Dad, Managing Strong Feelings Workshop
Managing Strong Feelings Workshop

I found the group very good, very supportive and much needed. It’s been helpful knowing you can share without judgement. I’m listening more and we are communicating better at home and my children are benefitting from me being calmer.

Communication workshop attendee
Communication workshop

My children have benefitted from me attending because it’s helped create a happier home by me being more understanding and reacting differently.

Families Feeling Safe Programme attendee
Families Feeling Safe Programme