Clearing a Space ~ with Art

P R O J E C T    D E T A I L S 

                                 What is Offered ?


Each child would be offered 1Hr of attention, once a fortnight for 9 ~12 months

 Timing will be flexible within reason ~ Daytime, Evenings or Weekends.

A natural expansion of what the VTO already offers to children in their own homes, public libraries and schools: 1-to-1attention to assist children with their schoolwork.

This Project offers EXTRA I-to-1 attention, Creative Listening and Art making.

This would be offered, normally in the child’s own home, with no cost to any family.

The aim is: to help Children Self-Manage a Long Term Condition, which they may be experiencing themselves or which someone in their family may be coping with.

I recognise it can be an added stressor to a child to find themselves supporting one or more of their parents, brothers or sisters  ~  this project aims to help those children too.

In keeping with the boundaries of confidentiality and privacy in this form of Listening: I will not be asking lots of questions ~ or need to know any personal details, unless there is an obvious need to share something important concerning the specific needs of themselves of their child in relation to their Long Term Condition. . . in short:  

If any adult or child wants to talk about their condition, I will be happy to listen, though

    I will also happily work with anyone who does not want or need to talk.

It is important to remember that I am not a counsellor and this skill is centred around attending to what forms before words are there, in the body ~ and using art making to help express what we already know ~ and also what there are no words for . . .  yet.

                                    Silence is totally fine

             in Focusing it is NOT necessary to ' spill your beans '. 


How will Children Benefit ?


The most immediate benefit will be to receive consistent attention from someone trained to listen without judgement, advice, comment or criticism. Instead, my training has been to NOTICE how a child naturally leads their own unique process of exploration and discovery and wait for the moments when something opens up.

It is here that simply the company of an adult Mirroring the child's process, without adding anything else in, can allow them to move forward at their own pace to take the next creative steps in whatever direction is most right for them.

Each child will be given a resource pack including:  Art materials for them to use as they wish, a personal journal and a small container to keep safe anything created.

The intention is that children will end up with a new skill for life which they can apply equally to anything they choose  ~  whether that is a piece of work, a creative project, a personal issue or, specifically, self managing their own Long Term Condition.


                 Practising these skills can help children to:


·         make their own contact with a physical, bodily sense of specific problems, situations or creative project they may have, enhancing their imaginative thinking / feeling process.


·         Discover and Explore, for themselves, the richness and meaning of their inner experiences and their thoughts, feelings and emotions. 


·         become more at ease, making contact with strong feelings and emotions like sadness, grief, anxiety or anger ~ without denying them, or being completely overwhelmed by them either.


·         Grow in confidence to express their wishes and feelings, ever more appropriately, while accepting we do not always get what we want.


·         Improve their ability to concentrate attention on whatever they are doing, whether at home, at school or while they are playing. 


·         Appreciate their own capacity to Listen to other children and empathise with them, even during moments of conflict.



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 will this help ~ 

Self Manage 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.