Naturing Young Minds Limited

PAUL BLACKMAN – FOUNDER OF Nurturing Young Minds Ltd:


There has never been a more important time in our history to use the resource “Gem of the First Water” written and developed by Ron Philips. Ron has developed the Therapeutic Story Telling approach as way to reach young people and it fits beautifully with the work of leading edge researcher Dr Mary Helen Immordino-Yang from the University of Southern California. Recognised as a world leader in Educational Research, she offers two simple profound concepts. Firstly, emotions are such powerful motivators of learning because they activate the brain mechanism that originally evolved to manage our basic survival and secondly, that meaningful thinking and learning are inherently emotional because we only think deeply about things we care about.

Mary Helen’s TED talk explains how stories such as “Gem of the First Waters” can effect permanent positive change. Stories which engage our emotions activate the parts of the brain at the very core of our being, namely our brain stem and our gut, giving credence to the phrase ‘following our gut instincts’. My most recent experience in using this approach working as an RTLB last year confirmed this. The students loved the story telling experience, couldn’t wait to hear the next chapter and it motivated them to make changes in their own lives.


Last year, I had the privilege of observing first hand, Ron’s work and saw the rapt attention on the faces of the students he was working with. Clearly, his work for Counties Manukau mental health has proven to be effective with the thousands of groups who have been exposed to it over the past 21 years.

The time is ripe to use this resource to help break the cycle of domestic violence. Having used this resource for many years as a Guidance Counsellor and RTLB I have found it be effective with children lacking impulse control and inclined to violent outbursts. The Gem Journey formalizes and brings to the work place a proven programme supported by the latest research in neural plasticity.