Avi remembered everything. He could see it in his mind’s eye, the rolling lawns of the garden, the weeping willow near the top where he would hide and wait to pounce on his friends or his brother and sister. ‘Cowboys and Indians’ was his favorite. He would often take the part of an Indian brave. A warrior. He would paint his face to strike fear into his enemy. Beyond the garden there was a golf course which kept the house private.

Avi loved the way the mind worked. He found memory fascinating. Seeking to remember everything, he trained himself. He practiced. Testing himself, and was never so jubilant as when he succeeded.

He was due to sit his exams this summer. The preparation had been hard, but he was ready. He had already picked out his preferred university choices. His untutored eyes seeing them as bastions of freedom and learning.

Avi didn’t like school much. It was boring. His teachers were boring. He had questions aplenty that were interesting to him, but they never had the time, or put him off with some lame excuse, saying they needed to stick to the curriculum so that the entire class could move forward at the same pace. Excuses. Lies actually. Any dunderhead knew the impossibility of a group of 40 students to learn or follow a curriculum all at the same pace. Everyone is individual and learns at their own pace. Some are faster than others. Others learned in different ways altogether. It was futile, and frankly irresponsibly stupid, to expect or entertain the possibility that all could move forward as one. Poppycock.

Avi spent much of his time alone. Often at the library or on the internet always looking for new things to learn. Taking the prescribed curriculum as far as it would go. Questions flooded his brain, demanding answers. Art was another bone of contention for him. Forced to choose a stream of study, either Science or Art. An impossible choice for such an inquiring mind. So, when the time came, he chose Art. Knowing it would annoy his teachers the most, as they felt he was more promising as a science student. So disappointed was he that they had forced this choice upon him that his interest in study waned. Oh, not completely, but enough so that the school never again saw the best that he could produce. They had lost him. Brilliant though he was, Avi didn’t see that the one who would suffer the most by this conflict would, sadly, be himself.

As adolescence took hold, he fell into drinking and, like many a young man, exploration of the world. Everything was there for the taking. You only live once, as the saying goes. He didn’t come out of boarding school with much. So, they sent him to crammers. Hoping he would push himself and gain at least some qualifications. His heart was no longer committed to study as his younger self had embraced it. He saw the process as one of jumping through hoops to achieve the required pieces of paper to equip you for life in the world. It did not serve Avi well to discover this crushing reality when he would have to sacrifice time to a flawed process. Where they measure success by the attaining of certificates. Like most lads in their late teens, he had something far more pressing to research. Something that actually fired him with some enthusiasm - Girls, parties, drink and ah yes, drugs as in joints - Cool Man. It never took hold as he realized that ‘weed’ couldn’t be as harmless as everybody said. He always experienced a disconnect the following day. Like his mind worked at one speed and the rest of him at another. So despite it doing fun things for his sex life, he stopped drugs altogether.

Deciding he should do something positive in life, he became a Nurse. A career path that he enjoyed. Looking after others. Helping to save lives brought fulfillment. Also, many treasured memories. It rekindled his love of learning.

Avi took courses in counseling and psychotherapy, eventually studying for his Masters. He would teach himself. Anything that caught his interest. He found his freedom. He moved away from what they wanted to teach. Embracing a world of what he wanted to learn. Avi explored it all. He was hungry for knowledge. Anything he could use to help others. He worked in India, Great Britain, Australia, and Europe. In India, he met a guru who taught him how to meditate. Finally, he developed his own method of helping people. A fresh approach to working with adults, children and young people. People who find themselves in hospital. There were so many reasons, abuse, bullying, drug experimentation gone wrong, physical handicap, autism, trauma and so much more.

Avi’s approach would seem strange in a medical setting. Worse in a psychiatric hospital. It would need major change from the ground up and the top down. But it would be worth it. It meant working with a person. Not a label. Taking a fresh look at what was hurting and why? A joint effort to create the best conditions for healing. It required an atmosphere of mutual respect, empathy, and understanding. There would be a need to listen deeply to people and for them to feel heard. They would be activities for fun, play, meditation, and sport.

The aim is to help someone discover new ways of coping. To encourage that person in their use. Avi’s work was so successful others asked what he was doing. And could he show them how he worked?

Avi tried. He sat down with them and explained his approach. Their response was disappointing. On reflection, he realized he was not ready either. He hadn’t prepared. How could he help them understand? How a simple blending of ageless wisdom and medical knowledge could work so well. A fresh approach that he now must give shape and form. Once it was easier to follow, he could teach others. He determined to work harder. To develop his approach. And help them understand. His method, which he called the Connect Approach, was born.