On the value of writing with traumatised young people – with Marion Baraitser

Baraitser_Reading-and-Exp_978-1-84905-384-6_colourjpg-printMarion Baraitser demonstrates the power of writing with traumatised children and young people. Marion’s book ‘Reading and Expressive Writing with Traumatised Children, Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Unpack My Heart With Words’ is available now from the JKP website.

On the value of writing with traumatised young people:
When disturbed young people have read aloud together a strong text, talked about it with a practiced facilitator in a roomful of trusted community members, discussing characters and subjects that concern their own lives, and then written about it, it can transform their idea of themselves and of their future lives. They are better able to externalize self-hood so they can exist in the world, feeling that their internal being has connected to the outside world through books, in some profound way, a form of ‘being-in-development’, a process of growing and changing the many selves they can uncover by this process. The facilitator brings energy, optimism, warmth and responsiveness, even inspiration, or at least motivation or affirmation, to each session.
Here is Amina on the value of writing in helping her to heal:
Writing is helping me to put down memories, different perspectives, to try to find the line… Talking doesn’t do this. When I write I am having a relationship with my journal. Writing is like having a conversation with yourself. I tend to be more honest… pick up on things that lie deeper. I love myself, in writing… I am lucky to be here… I am lucky to be alive… You must keep going and finding yourself, at the same time staying true to yourself… even though you cannot forget where you started from.

Boy

How reading great books together can change lives:
The Nigerian writer Ben Okri, who holds childhood memories of civil war in Nigeria, of his schooling in Lagos 400 miles from his family and of how, on reaching England, he lived rough, by his wits, homeless and miserable. He went to London because of Dickens and Shakespeare, but he also loved African writers like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. ‘Literature doesn’t have a country. Shakespeare is an African writer… Dickens’ characters are Nigerians.’ (Okri, 1992) As the young people read aloud in the company of a facilitator and a like-minded group, they become the writer, they are taken out of themselves, and if the writer is worth his salt, that encompasses a whole new set of dimensions that can change the way they regard life and their place in it.

Marion’s book ‘Reading and Expressive Writing with Traumatised Children, Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Unpack My Heart With Words’ is available now from the JKP website.

 

 

 

The Self-Portrait Dance – extract from Anna Halprin

Learn about the self-portrait dance – An interpretation of oneself through drawings of the individual components of the body. Merging them together allows you to see the image you have of yourself brought about by your subconscious. When combined with dance, the mind and body can connect and begin to raise questions about this image.
For more on the life and works of Anna Halprin, see Gabriele Wittmann’s book ‘Anna Halprin – Dance – Process – Form’  

THE SELF-PORTRAIT DANCE

The perceptual journey through the body, accompanied by Movement Ritual and psychokinetic visualisation, can be followed through images, texts and episodic dance. Visualisations of different areas of the body – the head, spine, ribcage, shoulder girdle, abdomen and pelvis, arms and hands, legs and feet – finally come together in the drawing of a life-size self-portrait in which the separate images fit together in one large whole. Daria Halprin says: ‘Thinking of the body as a family made up of separate yet interrelated members, we know that each part has an impact on the whole and that each part can help us understand the whole. When a family is in conflict, it is important to listen to each member separately as well as listening to how they communicate with one another so that we can really hear and understand.’36 As if in a mirror, the person who did the drawing sees and encounters herself in the image she has created, and embarks on the journey of deciphering the messages concealed in it. She approaches the image not as one who knows, but as one asking questions. Anna Halprin drew a self-portrait and transposed the image into dance when she was coming to terms with her cancer diagnosis, of which she writes:

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‘This process of connecting with our internal imagery involved “dancing” the images that welled up from the unconscious as another way of connecting the mind and the body. In learning this imagistic language, it became clear I was receiving messages from an intelligence within the body, an intelligence deeper and more unpredictable than anything I could understand through rational thought.’ Various pathways open up as one approaches one’s self-portrait. The person who drew it lets the entire image, or aspects of it, speak to them and tries to hear, see and feel its messages (see Figure 18). The selfportrait is asked questions: Where are you from? Where are you going?

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Answers come out of the silent dialogue, from the ‘soul’ of the image.38 In creative writing, texts and dialogues emerge between different forms and figures inthe image. They open up the gaze and the senses to the hidden, mysterious, unknown and seemingly alien, and blend together in a life story of the self-portrait. Processes of developing a concluding performance are walked through, following the model of RSVP Cycles (described below). The emotional process of discovery follows the thread of the Five-Part Process on the way to integrating the experiences gained.

For more on the life and works of Anna Halprin, see Gabriele Wittmann’s book ‘Anna Halprin – Dance – Process – Form’  

Summer Holiday activites for younger children with Autism and other learning difficulties (Day 5).

This one probably requires a trip to the local arts store but will provide hours of possibilities and fun once it’s mixed together.

GLOWING WATER

In just a few steps we can turn basic tap water into buckets of fluorescent fun.glowing_water_by_plmethvin-d37fq3m

Here’s all you need

  • Water
  • A container
  • NON-TOXIC fluorescent paint
  • Backlight bulb

GO!
1. Add a few tablespoons of fluorescent paint in any color into very warm or hot water:

2. stir until completely mixed

3. add as much water as you’d like to increase the volume, stopping before the glow is too diluted.

 

You’ve got the base for glow-in-the-dark water balloons.

And that’s IT! Now get glowing!

 

Taken from The Asperkid’s Game Plan by Jennifer Cook O’Toole

Drawing your family as animals – activity from How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors and Connecting with Nature

In this extract, you can try several different activities based on drawing family members metaphorically. For the younger children, this may be a case of drawing the family as people and this should still be encouraged despite not being within the guidelines of the activity! Older children may enjoy the chance to be creative by taking characteristics of the family members and representing them in animals and types of water.

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read the extract…

For more great activities to keep children stimulated and active, see Bonnie Thomas’ How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors and Connecting with Nature.

Summer Holiday activites for younger children with Autism and other learning difficulties (Day 1).

childdrawing

We realise the importance of keeping children occupied over the summer holidays and with that in mind will be featuring a different activity that you can do with your kids every day this week. These will be interesting, low-cost activities for parents with younger children – first up today is a drawing exercise that can involve the whole family (including the family pet).

 

MIRROR DRAWING

Primary learning focus

  • Auditory perception, visual-motor integration

Materials needed

  • Paper and markers or crayons
  • File folder or other object to use as a visual barrier

Description

In this game, the child attempts to draw a picture that looks the same as the adult’s picture, given only auditory clues. The adult and child each have paper and drawing materials. Place the file folder or other barrier in between the child and the adult, so they cannot see each other’s paper. The adult then draws one item at a time, giving a verbal direction for the child to do the same thing. For example, the adult might say “Draw a large square in the center of the paper, with a small circle inside the square. Next make a smiley face in the top left hand corner of the paper.” After several directions, remove the barrier and compare the two pictures, discussing how they are different or similar. Let the child take turns being the one to give directions to the adult.

Variations

  • Use lined paper and give directions to copy sequences to encourage memory skills (for example, “Let’s draw circles to make this pattern: red, blue, green, red, blue, green”)
  • While shapes and colors are easier to describe, this game is also fun when you make it more creative. For example, give directions for drawing the family pet, but add silly directions, like making a green tongue, or wearing dog mittens.
  • Draw while lying on your belly, or at a vertical surface to strengthen upper body skills.

 

As featured in Simple Low-Cost Games and Activities for Sensorimotor Learning by Lisa A. Kurtz

Reconnecting, establishing safety, empowerment with humour – extract from ‘Unpack my Heart with Words’ By Marion Baraitser

In this extract, Marion Baraitser provides activities for both younger and older children in order to explore their feelings of safety and the importance of humour.
‘Reading and expressive writing with traumatised children, young refugees and asylum seekers – Unpack my heart with words’ is available now from the JKP website. 

Baraitser_Reading-and-Exp_978-1-84905-384-6_colourjpg-printYoung adults’ group

Reconnecting, establishing safety, empowerment with humour

1. Read aloud together Sholem Aleichem’s story On Account of a
Hat (1953). It is about a young man from the shtetl returning
home on a train anxious not to be late for his wife’s celebratory
dinner, who finds to his horror that he has by mistake picked
up the hat of the important official sitting next to him on thestation. Everyone treats him with a deference entirely false to
him. He is forced to return to the station, replace the hat and
arrive home late for dinner, to an enraged wife.

2. Ask the group to talk about their own humorous incidences of
frustration within their everyday lives that involve their need for
finding a safe place.

3. Write about stories they know about how to face dangerous
and frustrating situations realistically, and how to find workable
solutions that give a measure of empowerment.

4. Read these aloud and share.

5. Enact them.

Young children’s group

1. As a warm-up, pass an endearing stuffed animal around the
group, with each child saying how they are feeling and what
they would like to talk about.

2. Create a safe place in the room and ask them to create a pose,
then tap each person to ask them to show and tell the group
what their space looks like, what it contains and what they are
doing there.

3. Ask each person to make sculptures, using ‘characters’ that
threaten them. Then ask them to step away and make changes,
telling their feelings to the group. Or they may create a wax
museum containing characters from their past that reflect their
feelings and situations about a theme such as anger or hate and
the others can walk through it.

4. Enact these ‘characters’. The rest of the group should question them.
Write stories about them.[AQ]

I was on my mettle – after a lifetime spent with literature, I needed to sift and sort the books I knew that were of great truth and impact, to find appropriate texts that applied to, or transformed, traumatised young people’s problems in a way they could absorb and use them effectively. This meant trawling through not only English literature, but also world literature in translation.

‘Reading and expressive writing with traumatised children, young refugees and asylum seekers – Unpack my heart with words’ is available now from the JKP website. 

Request a free copy of the new Art Therapy catalogue

Art therapy cat coverSign up to request your free copy of our latest brochure of new and bestselling books on Art Therapy.

This includes information on our new and bestselling titles such as ‘Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies’ by Laury Rappaport and ‘Using Art Therapy with Diverse Populations’ by Paula Howie. This range includes practical books for professionals, manuals on how to incorporate creative approaches into practice as well as guides for individuals who are themselves affected.                                                                         

To receive a free copy of the catalogue, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll get one out to you right away. You may also request multiple copies to share with friends, family, colleagues and clients–simply note how many copies you would like (up to 20) in the ‘any additional comments’ box on the sign-up form.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to get more information about our outstanding new titles such as ‘Presence and Process in Expressive Arts Work’ by Herbert Eberhart. The catalogue also features information on bestselling titles such as ‘A Guide to Research Ethics for Art Therapists & Health Practitioners’ by Camilla Farrant and ‘The Expressive Arts Activity Book: A Resource for Professionals’ by Suzanne Darley.

Click this link to see a listing of new and recent titles from Jessica Kingsley Publishers’ Art Therapy list.

To request a copy of the JKP complete catalogue of books on Art Therapy, please click here to fill out our sign-up sheet. Please be sure to click any additional areas of interest as well. You should receive a copy of the catalogue within two weeks.

Mindful art-making with adolescents

anger imageIn this extract taken from Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies, edited by Laury Rappaport, Pat B. Allen introduces the way in which mindfulness is incorporated into the Open Studio Process, and describes the challenges and rewards of using this process with a group of adolescent boys. She explains her own reaction when the boys were invited to provide their own music for the art-making portion of a session, and how she found she could rely on the creative process as a positive form of support.

Read the extract here