Sunday, 6 April 2008

Freudian slip…

…or something more rational?

Readers of the sports pages of the Formby Times may have seen announcement of a forthcoming testimonial game in aid of the Conductive Education centre Stick’n’Step.

Stick’n’Step, the article explains, provides ‘cognitive therapy for children with Cerebral Palsy’

Canny marketing ploy by Stick’n’Step, or slip of the pen by harassed local reporter Kate Dilworth rushing to catch her deadline? Probably not the former: Stick’n’Step is not one of the small but growing numbers of centres who chose to market their services with little or no mention of Conductive Education. Probably just the latter.

Heuristic, none the less, I guess what she may have had at the back of her mind was ‘cognitive behaviour therapy’ (or rational emotive behaviour therapy). It reflects thinking of the stoic philosopher Epictetus: 'It's not things that upset us, it's our view of things.'

Or maybe she had in mind cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), almost the same thing and nowadays very mainstream in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. This does not dwell on the past, but aims to find solutions to how to change your current thoughts and behaviours so that you can function better in the future. CBT can indeed cover the psychological components of chronic physical conditions.

It matters not which. Despite all the mistaken talk about Conductive Education and ‘therapy’, I have never seen the pariah Conductive Education linked with that highly respectable ‘talking therapy’, CBT. This is a pity, as both substantively and rhetorically there might be much to gain from such association.

Or just perhaps, the reporter was responding to a distant echo of Conductive Education as a cognitive education, as trumpeted in the past by Jo Lebeer, Reuven Feuerstein and myself. Unlikely though.


Kate Dilworth, Legends turn out for Formby charity game, Formby Times, 3 April 2008

For cognitive therapy, and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) see Google (approaching a couple of million entries if you include American spelling and the variations ‘behavior’, ‘behavioral’ and ‘behavioural’!)

For Cognitive Education, you will find rather fewer, a mere fourteen thousand!

But the latter do include some forty-odd linking cognitive education with Conductive Education.

By ‘rhetorically’ above I mean that it can be a useful ploy to link Conductive Education, about which many people know nothing (and may be suspicious or even hostile) with something that they do think that they understand.

My own formulation for a truly inclusive notion of Conductive Education – and a truly conductive notion of inclusion – is that, whatever else, CE has to be established be a cognitive education, see for example:

Andrew Sutton, Conductive Education as exemplar of the emerging paradigm of dynamic inclusion, with new emphases for educational research, Paper Presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Ljubljana, Slovenia 17-20 September 1998

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