I believe that creativity comes through people, not part of
them that they keep but when the circumstances are created, of calm positive
regard, it flows.
The act of creating something, whether a willow lantern or cake affirms the belief that things can change and we can change. We have the power to become the creator in the process even when it feels that life is being done to us in a way which makes us feel helpless.
It was when I was doing my Spanish degree in Manchester 2002 that I became interested in the way language could empower or disempower. I wrote the thesis: ‘El Hablador’ based on the work of Vargas Llosa. The mother tongue could be colonised into Spanish and the storyteller can change the truth. Yet the narrative of the mother tongue and the self-articulation can lead to the actualization of the self. Languages and dialects are important, it is the raw expression of who we are.
As a child, I was a selective mute and later had a chronic stammer, in order to overcome this, I found talking Spanish helped as well as going back to the moment I lost my ability to communicate. This work hasn’t stopped since I began speaking again in my mother tongue but has led to more unravelling of what it means to tell ones own story.
To be the author. This is what saved me.
Much of this narrative was also inspired by the therapeutic work of Carl Rogers and his theory that with ‘unconditional positive regard’ and ‘holding space’ the therapeutic process and the process of self-actualisation would unravel for the person. Who am I? What has happened? Who am I now?
I trained in Person Centred Counselling in 2004 to support the work I was doing at the time as a young carers support worker. Through the two- year course, I was drawn to use creative medium such as toys, paint and clay. I was able to bring about some family-healing across generations in my own family which brought about profound changes for me by using this technique and accessing a local professional. I truly believe in the therapeutic process. Be it a 6 week intensive counselling or a self-directed creative project. I believe we get out of it what we need to at the time.
I collaborated with Photographer Paul Cliff in 2006 to create an inclusion project, leading to an exhibition at Urbis entitled: I wish for my world, asking children across Manchester what it is they wish for. The project was so powerful it was extended across Manchester and to the war torn landscape of Kosovo to represent childhood within the context of global citizenship.
I believe in stories. I trained with Therapeutic Story Writing a few years ago and worked with groups of children who had experienced domestic violence and abuse across a period of 10 weeks. This work helped them to identify themselves within their stories and who their subpersonalities where. Without painful unravelling of counselling, therapeutic story writing enables the trauma to be ‘processed’ in a safe and accessible place, creating characters which can be lifelong sources of support. I always talk to the character or offer support to the character not the child, as the safety of displacement protects the child and allows the creative process to explore difficult situations from a safe distance.
I believe that we are all creative and there is no hierarchy. I started flamenco dancing after being told I would never walk again. The dance became a story of recovery, empowerment and self-authorship again. I organize small gatherings where people feel relaxed to dance and become the creative beings we all are.
When I studied for my Post Graduate in Supporting Vulnerable Learners; it was the mindset that we can have a mindset that the disability or special need can overcome us or we can empower ourselves with the knowledge that sets us free.
Many children I have worked with as a SENCO may have emotional regulation difficulties or autism spectrum conditions. I trained in Children’s Yoga and work both 1:1 and in small groups incorporating storytelling into the sessions to develop imagination, body awareness and the ability to self-regulate.
I have since added Clinical Aromatherapy Massage and Angelic Reiki to my practice and create blends to support pain relief, relaxation and specific blends for children with special needs.
I believe that the theme running through my work is the quest to assimilate what has been to understand the self, and become all of what it is possible to be. Experiences do not take away from our joy but add depths and textures to who we are.