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Hyman, S. (2012). The School as a Holding Environment. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 11(3):205-216.

(2012). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 11(3):205-216

The School as a Holding Environment

Stephen Hyman

This paper discusses practical ways that school psychologists can influence schools to be effective holding environments for students and faculty members. A holding environment is one that fosters the natural maturation and development of the full potential of each child. In such an environment security is bolstered and learning is optimized.

The concept of a holding environment emerged from and has been expanded upon by psychodynamically oriented writers and clinicians. Donald Winnicott's work on holding and Peter Fonagy's writings on mentalization are central to the themes presented. An emphasis is placed on translating these concepts into mentalization-based classroom interventions that can foster children to be more aware of the emotions of others while they also develop greater self-awareness and self-regulation skills. Case material and examples of mentalization inspired interventions are given. When a holding mindset is introduced into the school community by the school psychologist, there is an opportunity for faculty members, administrators, parents, and students to internalize this form of emotional attunement and for the school to develop a holding attitude.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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