Tish co-founded Jamie’s Farm with her son Jamie in 2009, where she now works as Lead Therapist. She began her career as a mainstream teacher, specialising in supporting children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, before becoming a psychotherapist working with adolescents and their families. The book documents Tish’s 30 years’ experience of working with truly remarkable teens who have faced huge challenges in their lives.
Tish and her son Jamie, aged 5, mucking out the hay from the barn on the site which later became their home in Warleigh
Below, Tish explains her inspiration behind the book and how she hopes it will empower and support anyone living or working with young people.
“Children yearn to be understood and loved. I wrote this book to share the learning and the journey of working closely alongside several thousand teenagers. In these difficult and uncertain times, living with a pandemic, children are absorbing the global anxieties surrounding us. For the most part they do not have the skills, programming or audience to process their unsettled feelings. I feel that the lives of teenagers are more complex than ever before and hope that the book helps unravel some of the perplexing behaviours and reactions that we as adults meet.
I have taken many of my lessons ‘from the horse’s mouth’ – young people who shared their honesty, their experiences and their inner realities – as well as from getting it wrong myself. I have found mistakes are often my greatest teacher. I have tried to limit any psychobabble and instead distilling the benefits of theory and research clearly.
How is it growing up with social media and cultural pressures? What is going on in the adolescent brain? What can I do to help us connect?
In the book I explore several different topics. We discover how scientist have begun to show how the adolescent brain is at a peak stage of development, often resulting in adults feeling mystified at changes and challenges teenagers’ manifest. We learn about how teenagers are psychologically caught between worlds; wanting to become independent, yet still ruled by more primitive feelings of anxiety, insecurity and need for peer approval. In another chapter we explore young people’s defence mechanisms and how flight, fight or freeze is the natural response to feeling threatened. Lastly, we discuss communication where I provide a road map of what works or hinders building positive relationships.
I hope that in reading this book, you will feel curious, hopeful, enthused, and want to develop your relationships with young people, enjoying their vitality, and the challenges they set. Young people are not bad, or mad, they are just living through a period of tumultuous change.”