The purpose of project ‘Feeling BETTER’ is to build emotional resilience for children and adolescents with a goal for prevention and intervention in wellness and illness. The intervention involves learning about brain and environment and working towards a positive change. There are two parts to this framework.
Part one is a work-in-progress. The science of functionally organized brain circuits is simplified to explain how different domains operate during the child development, in the context of individual child’s struggles. The various domains are-
Cognitive: encompassing working memory, impulse control, attention, and judgment/decision-making/adaptability (executive function).
Emotional: consisting of motivation to rewards and regulating emotions in the context of negative stimuli.
Social: comprising of the ability to understand different perspectives of people, ability to develop affiliations, use of language and communication skills.
Regulatory: physiological functions of sleep-wake pattern and arousal.
The pragmatic and “real life” based interventions are designed and implemented to suit each individual’s need.
Part two encompasses enriching the child’s family environment. Parents’ own values, culture, skills, attitude and knowledge are enlisted in parenting as coaches for their children. Interpersonal relationships are strengthened through perspective building towards positive change. In summary, this family based program aspires toward feeling BETTER: using Brain and Environmental Training Towards Emotional Resilience.
Mani Pavuluri is MD PhD, Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Berger-Colbeth Chair in Child Psychiatry, and the Founding Director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program and the Pediatric Brain Research And InterventioN (BRAIN) Center.
Dr. Pavuluri is trained as a Psychiatrist and Child Psychiatrist at Otago University Medical School in New Zealand, Royal Children’s Hospital at Melbourne University in Australia and the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. She additionally completed American training in Child Fellowship at Rush University, Chicago.