Sunday, 9 December 2018


From mid January CUSTTAD CENTRAL will be hosted on a different site
This will allow us to remove 'blogspot' from the URL 
Until then a revised version of the useful comments entitled HOW TO MAKE GOOD CUSTTAD: a recipe for Head Teachers can be accessed on 

Sunday, 4 November 2018


This site is presently undergoing a revision with the intention of making the available information more accessible - and presenting it more coherently

To aid the revision the dates on some of the posts already on here will be changed as a means of moving them to different positions 

Permission to use the photograph was granted during a recent phone call to the boy's home on Haida Gwaii 
Chosen for the opening post: a photograph of one of the first and one of the many children who set CUSTTAD on the path to becoming what it now is 

Monday, 23 April 2018


Several sites have been set up during the course of CUSTTAD's development and CUSTTAD CENTRAL is one of the latest 

The intention is to make it a starting point for anyone interested in knowing what the work is about and where it came from by providing some of the links that are presently available 
In doing so a certain amount of repetition will be unavoidable 

The first CUSTTAD site to be set up was - and still is - at 

The site which probably best illustrates much of the background to the work can be accessed at 
To keep costs down we chose to use the owned but no longer used site for The Walkaway Club at  Both links will take you to the same destination i.e.The Making of Custtad 

On the site at you will find information about: 
Potters Pink paint 
How to Make Good Custtad: a recipe for Head Teachers
Two Information Pamphlets
The Custtad Name and Image
The Custtad Facility in a Clinic - with two photographs and
The Walkaway Club

The links to the two books about the approach - both are available to read on line and as printed versions - are as follows:

BALANCING THE REQUEST TO BE GOOD: an account of a visit to the outskirts of child psychotherapy 

MAKING CUSTTAD: a means of helping children take control of their concerns
It can be read as a Kindle Book at a cost of £3.18 at 

Or purchased as a printed copy for £5.20 (excluding vat and postage) using the following link 

Thursday, 19 April 2018


The Royston Custtad facility was the first one to be located in a mainstream Primary School And it would not have been there without the interest and strong support of Liz Davidson the Head Teacher 

Liz became aware of the work before she became a Head Teacher and was keen to set up a facility if she were ever appointed to be one - which did hope happen

Custtad would not have developed as it has done without her Her influence on the work cannot be overestimated There is so much that could be said about how the approach was implemented within the school and a full account should probably be written because in our estimation- hers and mine - it proved to be an extremely effective resource

It also provided a first class example of what a Custtad room might look like and what materials and furniture were required It was to this room that Anne Rooney of South Lanrkshire came before making the decision to use the approach in that Authority

The images below provide some idea of the layout and the materials which we used in there Also, on the landing outside the door there was a framed photograph of the image which was also used on the book Balancing i.e a penguin balanced on an orange It is a detail from a sand tray made by a girl in the Child Guidance Unit 

The room in Royston became the main training base until this role was taken on by Burgh Primary School, Rutherglen 

Everything from Royston was transferred to the newly established facility in Burgh which now functions as an on site self staffed resource, as part of the network of CUSTTAD facilties in South Lanarkshire and as the training base  

There is more about the move in the post on this site entitled FROM ROYSTON TO BURGH





Wednesday, 18 April 2018


The decision to move the training base from ROYSTON PRIMARY SCHOOL Glasgow to BURGH PRIMARY SCHOOL in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire came about as a result of several factors A very influential one was the news that the main Custtad worker and a stalwart advocate of the approach was moving to another school

There was also the growing conviction that if Custtad belonged anywhere it was in South Lanarkshire for it was there that the work had received the kind support it required to continue its development And its potential to make a significant and effective contribution to their early intervention program was now being acknowledged. 

We also felt that within that Authority the integrity of the approach was most likely to be maintained  Liz Davidson had retired and the new Head Teacher had indicated that his priorities which were at odds with the basic concepts of Custtad 

The photograph below (presented with much nostagia) is of the emptied facility at Royston It was taken from inside the room looking towards the door 

The photograph below is of the room at Burgh on one of the days after everything from Royston had been transported there And, as is obvious, before the room had been arranged as an acceptable Custtad facility 
At this stage it has also not been painted the required Potters Pink 

Thursday, 12 April 2018


TRAINEES are advised to regularly check the posts on site at CUSTTAD CENTRAL It can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time and is being used mainly to provide news and information of a general kind 

However it is also used occasionally to post information for anyone intending or interested in taking part in the CUSTTAD TRAINING 

A site has been set up for Trainees only and this is entitled ON THE CUSTTAD TRAIN at 
Those workers who have been selected to take part in the Training require an invitation to access the site and for this they required to obtain a google email address The link to do this is

Once a google email address has been obtained it should be sent to An invitation to sign in and have access to the site will then be provided

Wednesday, 11 April 2018


We do not expect everyone who does the training to be as steeped in CUSTTAD as we are but we do expect them to know as much as possible about where the approach came from and what circumstances led to it being considered necessary

Based on our training experience, those who subsequently became the most effective Custtad workers had a thorough knowledge and understanding of both its long held aims and its continuing aspirations.

Anyone who might view Custtad as a possible easy fix for children who are experiencing profound and complex difficulties is likely to be disappointed It is an approach which requires to be employed with much sensitivity, care and attention.

And we believe that those with a genuine commitment to the approach (one which is based on a full appreciation of what Custtad is about) are the workers most likely to provide children with the kind of response they most need. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018



The consistency of the sand is an essential and fundamental requirement of a well functioning CUSTTAD room. The sand should be damp enough to be able to be moved, moulded and shaped by the child. If it is not then the whole experience of making a scene in the sand tray is diminished - and even spoiled completely.

There is nothing special about a pen that is incapable of leaving clear well defined marks on a Talk and Draw sheet. A well prepared CUSTTAD Trainee or worker who discovers that the pen in a CUSTTAD room they are using for training (or for meeting with a child as a worker) is not adequate will do something about it.

Returning for a further session to the same room with the expectation that the pen will have been replaced in the interim by someone else is not an acceptable option.

This is a profoundly important element in the CUSTTAD approach and if it is presented to the child without complete confidence the child is unlikely to fully grasp how the room functions - and the experience for both the child and the worker is likely to become muddled.

A Trainee should be able to present the script without a moments hesitation. It should have been practised not only in any training session but gone over repeatedly e.g. when having a shower, making a meal and walking the dog. It requires as much attention as you give to learning to drive a car - and presenting the script well is the equivalent of taking your car out on a motor way for the first time. You do not go there until you are completely confident about what you are doing.

We have received several submissions which leave us in doubt about how well the room and the procedures have been presented to a child.

And closely associated with an inadequate presentation of the script is what to do about it. And there should be absolutely no mention or suggestion of the child NOT UNDERSTANDING. The child is hearing about how the room works for the first time. The trainee is supposed to know how it works and be very well prepared for the session.

If a worker senses that their first presentation is in any way muddled and the child seems uncertain about how to proceed at Talk and Draw and Making a Tray (or both) there is only one remedy. The Trainee takes full responsibility for any possible confusion and immediately (if it is obvious they have made a right mess of it) or at the beginning of the next session states clearly that they want to explain again how the room works - as it may be they did not do it very well the first time.

Saturday, 28 October 2017


The following comments have also been posted on the CUSTTAD TRAINING site 

The words which we use in the CUSTTAD approach have been carefully chosen and honed through much experience

If they begin to be used without due care and attention during the training stage - and if their relevance to the procedures is not understood and fully grasped - they are NOT LIKELY TO BE ADHERED TO during the challenges of being with a child in CUSTTAD FACILITY 

As a consequence the child may not be provided with the maximum opportunity to understand what is on offer

CUSTTAD TRAINEES have been known to make a confused presentation to a child as they begin their four practice sessions We have usually suggested that if this happens they admit it to the child either later in that session or at the next one and make the presentation again

In such circumstances children are usually amazingly tolerant and patient with the CUSTTAD Trainee

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Children who are in need of assistance with their concerns require it from grown ups who can 'be there' for them ONE HUNDRED PERCENT - and with NO BUTS 

CUSTTAD may not always achieve it but it has been devised to get as close as possible to providing as much as possible of what children need

The CUSTTAD TRAINING has also been devised to produce workers who are well prepared to 'be there' for children - with as few buts as possible 

We think that the training is demanding of a trainees time, energy and commitment There are several assignments which take a lot of effort and dedication At interview and on the various CUSTTAD sites information can be seen which cautions prospective trainees about attempting to take on other courses and commitments while doing the course 

If you are taking part, about to take part or are considering taking part in the training these comments are posted as a CAUTION

Those of us who have developed CUSTTAD do not have much tolerance for anyone who does not intend to take on this approach with as much care and attention as the training requires: i.e. with the same kind of care and attention which children will receive from you - if you have given the training your best shot