What is DNA-V?

21st January 2022

What is DNA-V and how do we use it with young people to have Better Conversations and enhance their ability to thrive in their lives?

We first got excited about DNA-V when we attended training with founder Clinical Psychologist, Dr Louise Hayes. At Reboot West, the team got behind the ideas and started to look at ways they could build this into their day to day work with young people. After initially attempting to create some worksheets that we could use as a team, the idea for the Toolkit was born. We were really lucky to have Dr Louise Hayes and Dr Joseph Ciarrocchi collaborate with us on this. Now, we want to share our success with DNA-V with anyone who’ll listen. We’ve found it to be such a powerful tool when working with young people that it now underpins all of our practice.

We are not psychologists or therapists. For us, this is the point of the training we now offer. Whereas DNA-V works in a clinical session, it also works just as well in non-clinical sessions. It is becoming increasingly common within education, the criminal justice system and youth work settings.

So what does DNA-V stand for?

We all know DNA as in genetics – DNA-V was a deliberate acronym that describes both the components of what it is and its association with genetic DNA in that it is something every human has. In our training course, we explore these individual aspects of the model in more detail. For now, here’s a quick synopsis:

D is for Discover – the part of us that is constantly doing new things, experiencing new things, discovering new things.

N is for the Noticer – the part of our conscious brain that is able to notice and reflect upon what we are thinking and feeling.

A is for the Advisor – the part of our brain that is always chattering away. The voice (or voices) in our mind if you like.

V is for Values – everyone is motivated by the things that are the most important to them, in this moment, that moment, or any other moment.

How do young people engage with this model?

Well, mostly through us in our one to one work with individuals. That’s why we want to teach you what we have learnt and give you practical examples of what we’ve found can be really transformative.  There are lots of tools available that Louise has developed, and that we have now made easily accessible in a pack of cards – the Toolkit.

If you can get a young person to recognise their advisor – by using ‘name your brain’ for example – that is massive! You then have a shared language with which to help young people notice, challenge, reframe and disempower unhelpful thinking. The young people you work with will be able to talk to you perhaps about what their ‘advisor’ is saying and can recognise that their advisor is not them. If you just do ‘advisor work’ then that can create powerful change all by itself.  However, the beauty of the model is that it has a synergy that makes it easy to build in the different aspects, move around, and use Values as a motivational force.

Is there anything else, as youth-work practitioners, you’d like people to know about DNA-V?

Yes, it works! Also, it’s really useful as a practitioner if you’re ever feeling in a stuck place with a young person. There is a ton of material and practical ideas to give any session a kickstart or unstick any uncomfortable relationship dynamic. Be creative. Be experiential. Have fun with the young person and enter into the work with curiosity and the desire to try and fail and try something else and try again. It’s an opportunity, as a professional, to be a human with the young person, and show them that they are like any human with unique DNA and a Values system that is important to them. Helping them to get to know and work with theirs is helping them to change and thrive.

1625 are offering training in Better Conversations with DNA-V: Helping young people to thrive. For more information, and to book tickets click here


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