HOPE – Healthy Positive Experiences

HOPE – Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences

In the Arizona legislature a study committee (click to read the bill that formed this committee) was formed in 2017 that just submitted a report to the governor (submitted on March 1st, 2018). The purpose of the report was to establish the “Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Committee” which will conduct a thorough study of all matters relating to adverse childhood experiences, including prevention, treatment, long term effects on individuals and effects on the health and well-being of citizens in this state.

I have previously written 2 blogs about ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and would like to balance this out by coming at it from the opposite perspective. One framework that has been developed emphasizing positive experiences is HOPE. The basics of HOPE are fourfold:

The Basics of HOPE

  1. Developing nurturing, supportive relationships that have:
    1. Secure attachments
    2. A physically and mentally healthy parent
    3. Trusting relationships with peers and other adults
  2. Living, developing, playing, and learning in safe, stable, protective environments that have:
    1. A safe and stable home
    2. Adequate nutrition and sleep
    3. High-quality learning opportunities
    4. Access to high-quality medical and dental care
  3. Opportunities for constructive social engagement experiencing:
    1. fun activities with others
    2. success and accomplishment
    3. awareness of one’s cultural customs and traditions
    4. a sense of belonging and personal value.
  4. Learning social and emotional competencies in respect to:
    1. Behavioral, emotional and cognitive self-regulation
    2. Positive character traits
    3. Executive function skills
    4. Functional, productive responses to challenges

The HOPE framework has established efforts to optimize healthy development of children. Two of the most interesting ones to me were:

  1. Developing brains need caregivers who interact with them in warm, affectionate ways. This type of care aids in the development of secure attachment between children and adults. This care also helps buffer children from stressors and adverse childhood experiences.
  2. Children also need adults outside of their family who care about them; encourage them; and help them see that they matter. These types of relationships are associated with a number of healthy outcomes such as:
    1. Positive mood
    2. Self-regulation
    3. Increase likelihood that the child will thrive as an adult.

The Purpose of HOPE

The HOPE framework seeks to elevate the importance of maximizing positive experiences for children exposed to experiences or conditions that create toxic shock.  If you would like to read an article from the Academic Pediatrics Journal describing more about the HOPE framework, click on the link to take you there. If you would like to read more about how Family Christian Counseling Center works with children and trauma click on the link.

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