Project Details ~ continued

                                     BA C K G R O U N D

I am a qualified Focusing Practitioner who has previously gained a Millennium Award to run a project at Glasgow University, in 2002,  sharing Listening skills with students.

I have recently completed a specialist training in Holland to work sensitively and creatively with Children using these Listening skills enhanced with Art making to help support a child’s creative expression of their own inner thinking / feeling process.

These skills are effective at reducing stress  and anxiety throughout the day.

They can nurture Emotional Intelligence, practical Decision Making and strengthen a childs own Inner Connection with themselves, providing a new resource to help cope more effectively with any existing difficulty, condition or situation, in and out of school.


What is this skill ? 


   In short: the skill is simply, being friendly to yourself ~your whole self.

Nurturing an attitude of curiosity and wonder, which children have naturally, while allowing that curiosity to seep into HOW we learn to think for ourselves can help us develop a strong creative thinking muscle and be seriously playful, even with complex or difficult issues which we may have only viewed, up to now, in a negative light.

It may sound obvious ~ but though we may be encouraged to do this, we are seldom taught HOW to do it for ourselves throughout our lives and in relationship with others.

The skill is centred round helping a child keep gentle friendly company with whatever they sense is going on inside themselves. Art making enhances this process: Symbols, imagery, movement, sound and 3-D form making can all help a child to experience something new and profoundly practical.

An important internal distance between them and something they may have been previously caught up in, such as an anxiety, a sadness, some distress or strong emotion


How does it work ?


This is all about QUALITY ~  If we direct our attention inwards and concentrate attention on some vague physical sensation that is somehow connected to our life, then we look for QUALITY words to help gently keep company with ourselves and ~ IT

Words like: tight, jumpy, cloudy, dark, heavy, light, sparkly, bright, bubbly, swirling .

These are just a few QUALITY words to help us begin to describe or Get a Handle  on what is going on inside us ~ in terms of the physical sensations. As Gene Gendlin said: "these are NOT just gurgles in your stomach", because maybe you ate too much lunch.

This is your sense of ~the way your body carries information ~your Felt Sense.

Making a new vocabulary of quality words to describe our inside world, immediately creates a slight distance from the thoughts, feelings and emotions we would normally experience. Our Felt Senses underpin all these ~ yet are found underneath them.

It also makes a kind of I ~ IT  relationship . . . . between us and any bodily Felt Senses which is very helpful, especially if ther may be something that we are usually overwhelmed by or end up trying to avoid or deny altogether.

   This distance makes it easier for us to be with ourselves in a friendly way.



How will this help

Self Managing a Long Term Condition ?


This skill is centred in an expanded awareness of the physical body, from the inside and the practice of cultivating a friendly attitude to ourselves ~ whatever we find.

For examplewhatever our condition ~ we may carry some anxiety about how this condition affects us in everyday life situations. If we can playfully keep company with ourselves ~ by being with this anxiety and not being for it or against it  ~ while expressing something of it through art making, then a little Clear Space can be created and, crucially, experienced physically as a release of tension.

It makes it easier to deal with whatever we need to deal with if we carry a little less anxiety.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg as to how this skill, one gained, can creatively assist the longterm process of good quality self management.



How will Adults Benefit ?


Children take quickly to this way of expressing their inner experience as they do not have our thick layers of resistance. As adults, we can often feel an anxiety about turning our attention inside AT ALL, never mind expressing anything about it to someone else.

I will clearly model HOW to practice these skills without revealing ANY personal content ~ in fact I will encourage people, for the first sessions ~ to check out that very edge within themselves and, if they are happy to do so ~ NOT tell me anything they do not need to, about their personal history or indeed their own or their childs' Long Term Condition.

Sometimes when we are faced with someone willing to just Listen to us ~ there can be a pull towards telling our story, and maybe even more than we would wish. I know this well.

I will offer exercises at this edge and practice sharing just as much story as we really want.

The intention is to offer guidance and training to Parents in this way of Listening, so that by the time the project is nearing an end any child can continue to be supported in the same way by the adults around them and those adults will also have this skill for themselves.

If you want to read the whole shebang

the PROJECT PLAN can be downloaded from the links page.