Claire – background
I used to be a teacher, I loved it and yet was frustrated by the level of emotional pain the children were in… and what I was able to do within that role to help them. I used to be a youth worker… I loved it and yet I knew it wasn’t a lifelong calling. I used to help run retreats for adults helping them discover how the things they were believing about themselves, affected their feelings and their behaviours every day. I loved it and developed it with university students and yet I knew it was for a season.
And then I retrained. For the last 10 years I have been a play therapist. The journey of how it came about may be an article in itself one day. But that is what I have been doing in schools around the Midlands – both freelance and employed. Working with a Specialist Support Service for schools and other settings means I have worked with children from as young as 4, those in key stage 1, key stage 2, Pupil Referral Units and secondary schools (or ‘Academies’ I should say!). As far as my 1:1 client work, which currently has me close to completing 1000 play therapy sessions, the waiting list is never empty.
I also spend time visiting different schools. On their request for help, I spend time finding out about a particular child’s behaviour, and then more so their background, their family situation and their life experiences, as much as they are known to the school staff. Behaviour on it’s own, can be so misleading, and I believe it is always an indicator of emotions too. I spend time with that child and get a sense of them. I guess my many years of being around children, combined with my therapy training, lots of experience with children with attachment difficulties, ASD, ADHD etc, combined with first hand experience of the impact of a traumatic experience… I am able to offer the staff more understanding of what the world may be like from that child’s perspective and how they can respond to help them more.
So where does the ‘health’ bit fit in? Well, it is a natural element for someone who is passionate about empowering people on their journey to emotional healing. Emotions affect our body. Stress affects our cells. Food habits can lead to addiction, self-belief messages and self-talk and how we are doing physically always affects how we function and how we feel. It is all related. I have learnt a lot myself about this area over the past 6 years and, as is my way, I love passing it on. The power of proper nutrition at cellular level, is, I believe, miraculous. If I want to promote a message of health, then it is not mind or body… it is both.
Writing, speaking, connecting, inspiring, networking, listening, playing, training, supporting and educating are all parts of what I do. They are all expressions of me. I am one of those people whose work time is a ‘fit’ with my passions and purpose in the world.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then
go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Dr. Howard Thurman
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What People Say…
“It was so good to have an opportunity to talk honestly and confidentially and be given such effective support. Thank you.”Inclusion Manager
“I’ve been carrying tension around in my body for years – now it’s calmer and I feel a weight is off my shoulders.”TRE Client
An excellent session – schools would be much better places if staff were offered more opportunities like theseTeacher