The AoC counsellors and creative art therapists have worked with a variety of aged children. The therapists have a caring supportive nature and help the children to unlock their emotional and behavioural worries; drama therapy especially.
School complete individual referrals, then each child has an initial assessment followed by 6 weeks of therapy. Feedback is given from AOC (sometimes weekly), midway and at the end of the 6 week block; this gives the school the opportunity to support the child with the next steps. This could be nurture, further therapy or no further support is required. Parents have also met with the AOC about the impact of therapy, its outcome and future support.
School would recommend the AOC as it benefits all children living with emotional and behavioural worries. The feedback support they offer is so beneficial to the child as it gives guidance and future advice to support their development. What would be ideal is that all children have the opportunity to experience AOC and the many ways they can support future development and positive life choices.”
Dr. Sue Jennings
I began Dramatherapy sessions in March 2015. The first meeting was essentially a meet and greet with Christian Dixon, who informed me what our sessions would entail and the structure of each individual session. Initially I was filled were fear at the prospect of receiving therapy and I admittedly doubted the effectiveness of Dramatherapy itself, but I was comforted by Christian’s friendly and outgoing nature, and was reassured that with his help I would be able to overcome any issues that I may have had.
At the time, I was struggling with body image insecurities, and was engaging heavily in Bulimia and starvation. I also had a large amount of repressed anger and frustration from issues such as bullying that I had encountered whilst growing up. At the time I weighed nine stone, which was underweight for someone my height. With Christian’s help, I desired to overcome my unhealthy and physically damaging eating habits, and address the situations and people who had led me to this point.
We ran a number of different exercises and covered a wide range of topics throughout the sessions. For example body maps, the distortion of the brain, and the effects of bulimia on the body and mind. It was initially frightening to learn about such matters, but ultimately essential to my recovery.
Christian was sensitive and caring throughout the process and it was evident that at all times he had my best interests at heart. Another effective method that was used in the early stages of therapy was the implementation of timelines and goals. Through setting out achievable goals and healthy habits to adopt, such as diet plans, I was able to undertake each issue separately, ensuring that I was not overwhelmed and therefore more likely to fail. Through such timelines I was able to rediscover certain passions that had unfortunately become lost, such as photography and reading.
A further method of recovery that Christian and I carried out was a breath control exercise. As we discovered that many issues that I faced revolved around my inability to deal with stressful situations. As a result of this I had resorted to breathing from my chest rather than from my diaphragm. To combat this we engaged in various breathing exercises which I believed greatly benefited my recovery and I know implement these regularly throughout my day.
As we neared the end of our sessions together, we began to implement some practical work in order to cement the theoretical lessons that I had been learning. Together Christian and I ran through various situations and simulations, revolving around issues that I particularly struggled, combing physical movement and a verbal response. This was perhaps my favourite part of my therapy sessions, as I found that I was able to implement what I had learned from my sessions in a physical manner, ensuring that such behaviour might become habitual.
My penultimate session with Christian centred on the theme of Endings. As we discovered I often struggled to cope with Endings, particularly in past relationships, however tackling these issues with Christian resulted in a very freeing atmosphere, allowing me address certain unresolved issues. Furthermore we engaged in a letter writing exercise, whereby I was asked to write a letter to my previous self, in an attempt to ‘say goodbye’ to past habits and destructive thoughts. Through doing this I was able to physically and emotionally leave certain issues in the past, ensuring that they will not affect me further in the future.
Ultimately I consider the sessions that I spent with Christian to be invaluable, as with his help I was able to overcome the destructive behaviour I had adopted as a result of past issues, and instead adopt positive habits and thought patterns which will aid my development in the future.
Initially, I came to The Arts of Change as a student Dramatherapist. It was my first year and although I had made the decision to embark upon the training as a therapist, the role of the client was new to me. I had no idea what to expect and had no way of anticipating the journey ahead. From the first conversation I had with Christian Dixon (Dramatherapist), I felt comfortable and at ease. In seconds I went from nervous and apprehensive to excited and curious.
My journey has consisted of 42 sessions between September 2014 and June 2015. During this time I have surprised myself with the work that I have done. Using a range of materials from paints, to text, to chairs and coat stands; I have unintentionally and delightedly awakened my curiosity about myself. I understand that I am not black and white. I am not this or that. I am “me”, and this idea of “me” is constantly morphing and developing. My experience with The Arts of Change has enabled me to realise this. It has taught me the importance of being kind and loving to myself. I would like to share a brief extract from a letter that I wrote to myself towards the end of the process to demonstrate this:
“I am a butterfly in a cage. Except I am not trapped. I am closed in for now, but I am aware that I am about to be freed to bloom and blossom into the world with colour! I never tell myself this, but I think I ought to know: I love me.”
I can’t thank Christian enough for standing by my side as I embarked upon the beginning of a life-long journey. This chapter will be undoubtedly unforgettable. Support, optimism and hope are just a small selection of the gifts I will be taking away with me from what has been a truly magical encounter!
Christian, has shown that he has a good understanding of individuality and person centred care by demonstrating the right of choice which is a very important aspect of care planning.