17th April 2021 (online)
We spent a wonderful training day with counselling and psychotherapy students from both masters and undergraduate programmes at the University of Salford and Edge Hill University. We also had lecturers from both universities attending both in a support and participation capacity, alongwith invited mental health practitioners.
Today was the first of two training days, in which we focused on learning about the model and contributing to the activities for the key ingredients. The model is currently being used by a number of Masters and PhD students who are adapting it for different client populations. For University of Salford students, there is also planning underway to deliver the model with clients of the Counselling Clinic, once relevant training has been completed.
Our group whiteboard picture when we first started the day ‘Who are you? how are you feeling now?’
Our group whiteboard picture after we had done our workshop ‘How do you feel now?’
In the afternoon we explored the key ingredients in more detail and had some wonderful creative activities from the groups including:
‘Encouraging active engagement’ an exercise where we stood up, took time to relax our body, touched and held our upper body at different points where we felt we needed to relax. We then did some breathing exercises and on our out breath we hummed. Together with forty of us in the group, it worked beautifully as we all hummed at different frequencies.
‘Learning new skills’ we were invited up unmute ourselves and sang together a well known song ‘Swing low sweet chariot’ led by one of the group who had a wonderful voice.
‘Developing relationships’ this started with someone in a group making a gesture, movement or sound. The group mirrored this and then someone else from the group changed the gesture/sound, again this would be mirrored and so this pattern would continue throughout the group
‘Expressing emotions’ was explored with storytelling. The group started with ‘Once upon a time….’ each person added something to the story and so it went around the group with people adding stories, metaphor, reflections, humour and playfullness.
‘Processing at a deeper level’ involved a free association activity. The group were invited to make any sounds or words they wanted to at any volume level or frequency. Gesture was also used by some of the group which for unknown reasons resulted in the group mirroring the arm movements of the lucky cat behind Scott in his office. Miaow
For the ‘Gaining understanding’ activity, the ‘Tree of Life’ or as someone suggested the ‘Tree of Self’, was the focus. People were invited to stand up and imagine themselves as this tree, rooting ourselves, feeling the movement and thinking about how this tree can express our emotions. the exploration of our ‘roots’ can be further developed, for example the roots of our distress, or our ancestral or heritage roots.
‘Experimenting with different ways of being’ explored thinking about ‘who’ or ‘how’ we want to be with a word and gesture. One person started, they would share their word e.g. brave, kind etc and then the group would mirror the associated gesture, they would then nominate the next person to share their word and gesture, again the group would mirror and so the next person would be invited and so on.
Here are some images of us mirroring these gestures
The last ingredient was ‘Integrating useful material’ and for this we reflected on the day. Using art materials to hand, we closed our eyes and thought back to the beginning of the day. Noticing where our attention was in our body, we then mad marks on paper. We did this again thinking about our pathway of the day, and finally we thought about the here and now at the end of the day. At all times thinking of our body and making marks.
And finally to close the day, last but by no means least, a poem created. by the poet in our group who used only the words from the chat box to compose a poem. The first part were our ‘how do you feel’ check in words and comments from the very beginning of the day. The second part uses the ‘how do you feel now’ checking out words and comments from after the workshop. We hope you enjoy this and send our gratitude to those who joined and supported us.
BRIGHT PRESENT CURIOUS TIMING
Others forward a bit today learn appreciative with new
but have this different bit sharing with the milkman.
Positive, excited, but technological that feeling —
I am connecting, open, standalone and positive.
Looking I from therapist to calm, nice to curious,
how the tired limitations present.
Energised, bring me open wish STUFF anticipation:
learn and dance life about my forward students.
Eager past thankful: it’s buzzing, relaxed apart,
today feeling nervous, intrigued, overwhelmed.
Person in this morning colleagues grateful to see an artist
energies included, learning what being fun looking to LOVE.
Will THIS course be creative and is or but creative?
Never too inspired fatigued love; stifled, excited, curious.
So mind Mam don’t be nervous! Lovely to meet fresh thinking.
Eat inspired connection streamers —
the best food unfurling.
my energy in spirit connected.
Restorative, safe, whole connection: flow,
trust the inner awareness vibrant with touch.
Free flowing rebirth moved, creative; peace
gives to the heart of compassion full freedom.
Movement, self-play: free wisdom nurture
to connected flow of uncurling.
We look forward to future connections with all involved and would like to express our thanks for all the support, in particular our wonderful breakout facilitators, volunteer scribes and everyone who led an activity for the group.