We had the pleasure of speaking to Katy, the Drawing and Talking Therapy Lead at our Mill School Bury. The school offers a calm and nurturing environment for autistic children and those with additional associated needs.
Can you tell us more about this therapeutic approach and how it benefits the children?
Katy Dooley told us:
“Drawing and Talking is a gentle and safe therapeutic approach that provides individuals, both children and adults, with an effective way to process emotional pain or trauma they may be experiencing. It's a method that acknowledges that people can be impacted emotionally by a wide range of events, struggles, or traumas, and sometimes they find it difficult to make sense of these emotions and how they affect their overall happiness and ability to navigate the world.
In Drawing and Talking therapy sessions, confidentiality is a top priority. The sessions are strictly between the individual seeking support and the practitioner. At the end of each session, any drawings or pictures created by the individual are placed in a folder, which is then kept securely until the next session. It's essential for individuals to feel safe and secure in sharing their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgment or exposure.
At the end of the 12-week program, when the individual is feeling better and has progressed, the folder is handed back to them to keep as they wish. This allows them to have ownership of their progress and the therapeutic journey they've undertaken.
Drawing and Talking is not meant to be a diagnostic tool to 'find out' what is wrong with someone or why they behave a certain way. It's not about behaviour modification or fixing a specific problem. Instead, it's a method to help individuals process and cope with their emotional experiences.
Drawing and Talking is a valuable tool, but it should not be seen as a replacement for other specialist services like CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), psychotherapy, art therapy, or play therapy. It can serve as an interim measure while individuals wait to access these services or as a complement to them once they've been referred.
Drawing and Talking therapy sessions are conducted over 12 weeks, with one session per week, each lasting 30 minutes. It's important to maintain consistency in terms of the day, time, and location of these sessions to create a safe and predictable environment. Additionally, these sessions are student-led, meaning it's crucial for the student to feel in control of their experience. It's important not to push an unwilling student into attending, as trust-building is an integral part of the process.”
Thank you, Katy, for sharing these insights into the Drawing and Talking therapy program at Mill School Bury. It's evident that this approach provides a valuable and supportive resource for individuals in need of emotional processing and healing.
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