The TEAM approach to building resilience

Research evidence shows Team of Life helps reduce social withdrawal and increase pro-social behaviour

Since the pandemic mental health problems have increased in the UK. A recent survey undertaken by NHS Digital found that 1 in 6 children in July 2020 had a probable mental health problem, which is an increase of 50% compared to 2017. Social isolation is strongly linked to mental health problems. Research, led by University of Liverpool in partnership with Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has shown the Team of Life helps children to recognise the support around them, reduces social withdrawal and increases positive sociable behaviour.
Watch Intro Video

Dr Vicky Eames, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Developer of the Team of Life Children's Programme and co-author of the Team of Life Kit with David Denborough

Telling stories in ways that make us stronger

A cross-cultural narrative methodology using sporting metaphors

Given the strong associations between social inequality, race and ethnicity and mental health, more programmes are needed that move beyond an internal and individual focus and take into account people’s social and cultural context. Originating in work with former child soldiers in Uganda (Denborough, 2008), the Team of Life is one such approach that is currently being rolled out within schools and community settings within the UK including survivors of Grenfell Tower.
First Team of Life group in Uganda

Our Mission

How we are honouring the heritage of Team of Life and those who have paved the way for our Team of Life work

The Team of Life began in Southern Africa in work the Dulwich Centre Foundation was doing with former child soldiers and this programme was also developed as part of work within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the UK. A percentage of proceeds therefore go to support ongoing work by the Dulwich Centre with communities in Africa and a further percentage of proceeds go to the NHS. The remaining income will continue to support our mission to get Team of Life rolled out across the UK and beyond in order to reduce social isolation and build resilience among children and young people.

Sharing our story with a Goal Map

Goal maps are the way we celebrate stories of hope and achievement in Team of life, describing who from our team helped to score a goal in life. Take a look at our goal map story for launching this training! It's been a long journey to get where we are today and we want to show our appreciation to all those who have helped us along the way.

  • Team of Life Skills Training Workshop - 1 day face to face or 2 half day online live and interactive workshop with Dr Vicky Eames & Mariangels Ferrer. Contact us to commission this training for your team or sign up now and we will update you when our next training has been scheduled.

  • Team of Life Children's Programme - online access via the Team of Life Hub to full step by step facilitator's guidance to this unique 10 session programme aimed at children aged 7-13.

  • Team of Life Kit - downloadable resources, everything you need to deliver the Team of Life Children's Programme including session plans, printable handouts and optional PowerPoint support.

  • Team of Life Facilitator Forum - online community accessed via the Team of Life Hub, enabling you to connect with us as well as share practice experience with fellow facilitators.

  • Team Coaching - up to 3 x 45 minute online group sessions with Dr Vicky Eames, providing an opportunity to build on the skills learned in training and consolidate your Team of Life practice.

Training Outcomes

  • Understand more about Narrative Therapy and the Team of Life Approach

  • Develop skills for narrative conversations that can be used with children, families and adults

  • Be a certified facilitator and run our Team of Life Children’s Programme within your setting

  • Build resilience and reduce social isolation among children and young people

  • Deliver a cross-cultural approach that can be adapted to a range of client groups including BAME and those disadvantaged due to socio-economic status

  • Ideas for using Team of Life for team building among colleagues and staff groups

Scheduled Training

Face to face or live and interactive online options

  • Team of Life Training

    New dates coming soon!

  • Team Coaching Session

    New dates coming soon!

Team Training

If you would like to commission Team of Life training for your team please contact us to discuss your bespoke requirements

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Thank You


Co-founder Riverbank Psychology

Victoria Eames

Dr Vicky Eames has worked as a clinical psychologist within both NHS adult and child & adolescent mental health services. She is an honorary research fellow at the University of Liverpool. Having worked within the mental health field in the NHS and independently for more than 25 years she is passionate about exploring ways of responding to trauma and developing resilience within community settings. Inspired by the work of David Denborough, Vicky trialled the Team of Life Collective Narrative Practice approach in schools and mental health services on the Wirral, leading to the development of the Team of Life Children's Programme programme and the Team of Life Kit.

Co-founder of Riverbank Psychology

Mariangels Ferrer

Having qualified as a psychologist in Spain in 1993, Mariangels has lived and worked in the UK for over 20 years including ten years in NHS inpatient and community paediatric settings. In addition to her qualification as a clinical psychologist, she has completed master's degrees in both Systemic Family Therapy and Narrative Therapy and Community Work. Mariangels offers training and supervision of practitioners in narrative and systemic practice across the UK as part of the teaching faculty of the Institute of Narrative Therapy. She delivers groups in schools in Trafford utilising the 'Tree of Life' and is engaging Genetic Counsellors from different parts of the UK with Narrative ideas through supervision, group intervention and training.

What children say about Team of Life


"I am a lot more confident speaking in class out loud and in front of the whole class and everything like that"

Awareness of Support

"it reminds you of who’s there for you, and who can look after you when you’re down"

Support seeking

"if I wanna do something I like try and like ask my parents if they like wanna help me or something"

Building relationships

"Knowing that people who were there I can go to, or people who need my help, or who want to work together with me to help someone else or to tell a teacher, I can give them the confidence for them to help me, so we all help each other"

Pro-social behaviour

"I think just being kinder to people and … if someone’s sitting there upset then I’ll go over and talk to them"

Setting and achieving goals

"Team of Life helped me achieve it . . . it’ll help me because now I know that I can achieve my goals I think I might set a few more"


  • 1. Are there any specific qualifications required to become a certified facilitator?

    No specific qualifications are required to attend the training and become a facilitator. If you wish to be able to train others to deliver our programme there are additional training requirements, please contact us for further information.

  • 2. Are there any ongoing costs to becoming certified?

    Access to the Team of Life Online Hub is valid for one year. Following this a small additional administration fee (currently £25) is charged in order to have continued access to the Hub including updated resources. The Team of Life Kit is downloadable and the resources can be printed for use with young people. There is no additional charge for this. The Facilitator Licence is valid for 3 years. Top up training will be required to renew this.

  • 3. How is training delivered?

    Training is delivered online via Zoom in an interactive format. Training attendees are provided with access to handouts prior to the training.

  • 4. Can I copy or share the Team of Life resources with colleagues?

    No, this would be a copyright infringement. The resources are for individual use by the practitioner. If you would like to purchase an organisational license please contact us.

  • 5. Can I commission training for my team?

    Yes! We highly recommend commissioning training as a team as you get added team building benefits due to the experiential nature of the training. Why not take time as a team to think about your shared values? Contact us for more information.

  • 6. What age is the Team of Life Children’s Programme aimed at?

    The children’s programme is aimed at children aged 7-13, although this is really an approximate age based upon the likely appeal of the design work. Older young people can also take part. Involving older teenagers as part of a peer mentor programme can be very effective as they can act as role models for younger children.

  • 7. Is Team of Life just for children?

    No, Team of Life is for everyone. You can use the approach with families, individuals, adults and staff groups to help build resilience and teams.

  • 8. Do you have to like sport to take part?

    No, Team of Life doesn’t involve any sporting ability. It uses sporting metaphors which are easy to grasp and familiar to people of all ages. Space is provided to share knowledge and experience of sport good and bad.

  • 9. Is Team of Life aimed at boys?

    No, our research has shown that girls enjoy and benefit from Team of Life just as much.


Here's what other practitioners have said about our Team of Life training

Team of Life Facilitator Training

Dr Laura Tozer, Clinical Psychologist, Bedfordshire Mental Health Support Team

“The Team of Life training provided by Riverbank Psychology was incredibly helpful to our team. The experiential learning enabled the team to fully embrace the Team of Life approach and we all hugely enjoyed the training whilst learning a great deal. The training provided the opportunity for the team to learn about each other, consider who is in our own ‘team of life’ and reflect on our values. The creative approach Vicky and Mariangels took to deliver the training ensured the team learnt not only how to deliver Team of Life but also understood the narrative principles that underpins the approach. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who is looking to run Team of Life.”

Team of Life Children's Programme

Claire Owens, Director, Next Chapter CIC (Formerly Family Support and Well-Being Co-ordinator, The Mosslands School)

“The Team of Life provides a common language that most students understand. This promotes a safe and inclusive environment, which breaks down any barriers to participation and communication… I consistently witness students experiencing an appreciation and understanding of the value of support networks and how this has a positive impact on their lives. This seems to be a key moment in the programme, which allows students to identify positive and supportive people in their life and reduce the sense of feeling isolated and alone. I have been particularly struck by the importance of stories, which comes from a narrative approach and how this can be used for children to tell their story, with a deeper understanding of how their experiences shape their attitude towards the future, finding key positive learning experiences from difficult circumstances. I have found that this not only enhances resilience, but also increases understanding and empathy of themselves and the world around them.”

Team of Life Facilitator Training

Martin Connell, Project Manager, The Respect Project, Newry, Northern Ireland

“The team of life training was very beneficial to the leaders involved in our Project. Not only did it raise awareness of the methodology behind team of life but it gave us as leaders the opportunity to participate in the activities that the young people would do in the programme. This gave us an insight into how to deliver the activities and why such activities were used. The training also was good fun and helped us as an organisation find out more about each other by participating in the activities. We look forward to using this approach with the young people we work with.”

Team of Life

Leigh Hill, Student Support Services Officer, Wodonga, North-East Victoria

Team of Life“I have been using the Team of Life with a group of eight primary school students, girls and boys, aged between 10 and 12 years old. Each of the students have been identified as having problems with anxiety, low self-esteem and low social skills. The program is half way through and is going really well. It is giving the students confidence in knowing that they are not alone. They have greater self-confidence in knowing that they have achieved so much in their past, the program has made them aware of past achievements. The ‘Team of Life’ has also given the students the opportunity to reflect on who is most important to them and why.”
Watch Intro Video

Children's testimonials

Our first pilot group with children from The Mosslands School