Newsflash: Unravel Impact Report 2020-2021

Hello from Unravel!

In this news flash we would like to share with you some of the positive feedback we received, together with some of the findings from the Annual Impact Report, based on our work in the 2020-2021 school year. The report was compiled by an independent data analyst who we commissioned to conduct the report.

The main aims of the impact report were to collate and assess the impact of the Emotional and Behavioural Psychology Intervention sessions on the well-being of our clients, and to demonstrate the positive effect of Unravel’s Adaptive Parenting Sessions (parents of the children and young people we work with).

Across the 2020-2021 academic year, we have worked with over 447 children and young people, one adult, and 33 parents. It is important to note that some of the work we completed in the 2021 academic year was during the lockdown which was imposed due to COVID-19. This meant that our staff had to adapt their ways of working, and provide support in a virtual format, for example over video call or the telephone.

Analyses were conducted on both quantitative and qualitative data (which were collected by our psychologists) to assess the impact of both the intervention and the parenting sessions. Quantitative analyses demonstrated that the Emotional and Behavioural Psychology Intervention sessions have had a direct, positive impact on clients’ well-being; a finding which is based on the comments from parents/ guardians and clients. Three strong themes emerged from qualitative data: experience of positive emotions and self-confidence, importance of emotional expression and support, and coping and tools for life (with an additional sub-theme of engagement with life). It is clear from the analyses that the work of Unravel is valuable and impactful for both clients and parents, and has holistic, positive effects on clients’ lives.

The following information is the exert from the Unravel Annual Impact Report 2020-2021:

Theme One: Experience of positive emotions and self-confidence

An overwhelmingly large number of clients wrote that their work with Unravel had increased positive feelings and confidence. Some mentioned confidence generally, and others noted specific areas of their lives where they felt more confident, such as improved body-confidence and confidence in class. A selection of quotes from clients which demonstrate this theme are listed below:

  • I’m happier, more relaxed and I can live. I feel more free
  • Happier and better about myself
  • Happier, better, wanted
  • Happy, full of laughter, excited
  • Relaxed, optimistic
  • Unravel helped me improve my happiness by helping me achieve a more positive mindset and outlook on things
  • I’m just happy in general
  • It’s made me more positive about life, lockdown and family
  • It’s okay to be yourself
  • Improve my confidence in lessons
  • Socially worthy
  • It’s okay to look differently
  • Helped me gain some confidence in myself
  • Feel more relaxed and worrying less
  • Helped me learn to love myself
  • Helped me become more confident
  • Calm, my emotions are controllable, not as bad as it was

Feedback from parents resonated with that from clients, with parents noticing positive emotional changes in their children:

  • She is much more positive
  • She’s happier

Theme Two: Importance of emotional expression and support

A second theme that arose from the qualitative data is the importance of emotional expression and support. Many clients gave feedback which demonstrated that they had appreciated being able to express their emotions to someone and having someone there to support them. It was evident in the data that clients trusted their Unravel psychologist and felt that they were able to open up to them. The following quotes are examples of feedback from both from clients and from parents which evidence this theme:

  • How to cope with all my emotions knowing not to keep it in, to speak to someone
  • Someone is listening to me
  • Like I had somewhere to go if I need anything
  • A safe place for my daughter to explore what she is feeling
  • Gave her someone to talk to confidentially who trusted and can relate to
  • My child has someone reliable to talk to
  • Helping [name] open up about her feelings
  • Knowing [name] has had someone to talk to about his feelings during this sensitive time
  • To no[t] be so enclosed about my emotions
  • Learning to talk more
  • Helpful to be heard
  • Ta[l]king to someone else

It is particularly promising that some students wrote about being less ‘’enclosed about my emotions’’ generally rather than specifically about opening up in session (and a parent noted that their child is ‘’willing to discuss how she is feeling’’), suggesting that this is hopefully a skill that they will continue to practice once their work with Unravel has ended.

Theme Three: Fostering coping skills and tools for change

The third theme that arose from the qualitative feedback given by clients and their parents on their experience of working with an Unravel psychologist was ‘fostering coping skills and tools for change’. Coping encompasses clients’ increased abilities to disclose their emotions to others, which has been discussed already. However, it was clear in the qualitative data that clients have also learned other tools through their work with their Unravel psychologist which they are finding helpful for coping.

  • I’m able to rant about my problems and calm down using some of the techniques I’ve learned
  • Finding distraction techniques if I feel sad
  • I know it’s just thoughts and not reality
  • Coping techniques & grounding help me when I’m not in the right frame of mind
  • Spotting anger triggers & breathing techniques
  • Release my anger with the grounding technique
  • It has really helped my child to manage their anxiety and participate positively in life
  • You’ve given me my daughter back and given her the tools to deal with the world around her

It is the repeated mention of coping skills throughout the qualitative data which demonstrates that the work that clients completed with their Unravel psychologist had effects which reached beyond the effects of merely having someone to talk to and catharsis. Clients have been able to ‘become their own therapists’ (Glasman, Finlay & Brock, 2004) and use skills learned effectively outside of sessions. The acquisition and use of coping skills and therapeutic tools is important, because use of such skills is associated with reduced symptoms of psychopathology (Jacob, Christopher & Neuhaus, 2011) and continuation of skill use following end of treatment promotes wellness and reduces relapse risk (Kennard, Hughes & Foxwell, 2016).

It is evident that the work that clients had completed with Unravel have given them ‘tools for change’ which have translated into greater engagement with life, which is to be discussed here as a sub-theme. Below are quotes from clients and parents which demonstrate this sub-theme:

  • Helps me come into school
  • Feel like going to classes more
  • Having fun with my friends
  • I’m learning, interested
  • It has really helped my child to… participate positively in life

These quotes demonstrate the holistic effect of the work of Unravel on clients’ lives, in that it affects their wellbeing, school engagement, motivation, and social lives. Increased engagement with school was particularly evident and is important, aside from its obvious impact on clients’ education, because falling behind educationally exacerbates distress (Metalsky, Joiner, Hardin & Abramson, 1993; Cooper, Gin, Barnes & Brownall, 2020; McGillicuddy and Devine, 2020).

Summary of findings

Summary of quantitative analyses

Quantitative analyses demonstrated that clients’ well-being improved significantly across the course of the intervention. Correlation analyses indicated how comfortable clients felt in sessions, how helpful they felt the content of the sessions was and the extent to which they perceived an improvement in their well-being after attending a session It also indicated the extent to which they felt they had gained tools to help them cope better and were predictive of the extent to which clients felt sessions had helped them to make positive changes to their well-being. Impressively, 100% of parents who completed the parental evaluation questionnaire gave the highest possible score in response to a question regarding whether they had found support from their Unravel psychologist helpful.

Summary of qualitative findings

Qualitative analyses demonstrated that the effects of clients’ work with Unravel was holistic, with benefits across multiple spheres of life including confidence, engagement with life, increased positive emotion and bolstered ability to manage symptoms and cope. There were very few suggestions for improvement from either clients or parents, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the Unravel model and that their use of Unravel has been a positive experience for them. This was certainly reflected in both qualitative and quantitative data.

Both qualitative and quantitative feedback on the Adaptive Parenting Sessions suggest that parents find the sessions useful and are highly satisfied with the service that they have received.

We are extremely proud and inspired to have received such positive feedback and such in depth evaluation of our services.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to share any feedback!