Developing The Decider Skills
Michelle Ayres and Carol Vivyan, are Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists, with a background in mental health nursing, from Guernsey, Channel Islands.
They developed The Decider Skills based on their own clinical experience in mental health. Following an initial pilot study, client experiences and feedback were included to develop this structured, evidence based skills programme. The aim was to reduce impulsivity whilst increasing resilience, coping and confidence, by learning 32 evidence based skills. Participants presented that the lack of early skills training in how to recognise and manage their own emotions and mental health, meant that they had formed unhelpful habits in their thinking, feeling and behaviour, which maintained their mental health problems.
They chose the name “The Decider” as it became apparent that learning the skills was empowering the service users to “decide” for themselves how to react in difficult circumstances.
The Decider Skills are different
Traditionally, mental health has received reactive treatment. This needs to change. We need to be proactive in our approach.
"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."
Clients reported that their experience of mental health services was often problem-focused, revisiting past trauma and not future-focused. They asked for skills to manage their own emotions and mental health so that they could live a more skilful, less impulsive life.
The skills are designed to enable participants to make changes to help manage
distress, regulate emotion, increase mindfulness and effective communication.
The skills are delivered in an effective, fun, and creative style that makes them
easy to learn and teach.
A passion to teach proactive mental health
Children are taught fire drill from an early age. Fire drill is embedded and reinforced throughout our lives. We are equipped with the skill to react effectively in the event of a fire. The Decider Skills are for our internal fire of emotion. We believe that good foundations are made by learning The Decider Skills early in life, resulting in better mental health outcomes.
We are inspired by Frederick Douglass who said: "It is easier to build strong children than it is to fix broken adults." Just like fire drill, we believe that The Decider Skills could be embedded and reinforced throughout our lives.
The greatest gift we can give children, young people and adults is the skills to manage their own emotions and mental health. Vivyan & Ayres 2017
Our dream is that every child will have the chance to learn Decider Life Skills so that they can manage their own emotions and mental health and improve their future mental health outcomes. This will impact not just our children, but our society as a whole.
Michelle and Carol won The British Journal of Nursing 2015 Mental Health Nurse of the Year Award for The Decider